photo: Jurassic Quest

This weekend’s events are truly epic. From riding life-sized dinosaurs at Jurassic Quest to having a ton of ocean-themed fun at Birch Aquarium’s Whale Fest, the thrills on tap are SUPER-sized! Also, don’t forget to score a seat to watch the Super Bowl with the fam on Sunday at one of these hot spots.

Del Mar

Jurassic Quest
Jurassic Quest is a dino-tastic experience not to be missed. There will be huge new 24 ft. Carnotaurus & T-Rex rides–– the largest ridable dinosaurs in North America! There will also be new walking dinosaur rides, interactive baby dinosaurs, bounce houses and bungee pulls, green screen photography and science stations, crafts and dino cinema and over 80 total dinosaurs, including a life-size T-Rex, Triceratops, Giganotosaurus, Velociraptors, Stegosaurus & more moving, breathing and even walking dinosaurs! Kids will also enjoy fossil digs and new paleontology & fossil stations! There’s a dino petting zoo (for toddlers) and dino scooters for kids age 3 and younger. Strollers are welcome and be sure to bring your cameras! There will be a ton of great moments to capture. Don’t forget to bring socks. Socks are required for the inflatables. Note: Times vary by date. Fri. 3-8 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Fri.- Sun. Event details.

La Jolla

Whale Fest at Birch Aquarium
Join Birch Aquarium for Whale Fest, a week-long celebration of whales! Winter is the peak time to see migrating Gray Whales in Southern California, so come celebrate these marvelous marine mammals and their fin-tastic cousins with a festival of whales! Every day of Whale Fest kids can become a whale expert, discover local whale species, learn how to spot migrating whales, get hands-on with whale biofacts and learn about whale watching. On weekends kids can also meet Scripps Oceanography scientists who study whales and create cute whale crafts. Whale Fest runs Feb. 2-10 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. All activities are included with admission. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

NFL Game Day Party
Join Searsucker Del Mar for the Pigskin Showdown! Watch the Big Game outdoors at the covered back bar and lounge, or post up inside to catch the action. They’ve got every game day snack you could imagine, plus a whole bourbon roasted pig with all the fixin’s. Choose sides with specialty team-themed craft cocktails, or stay neutral with $15 Bud Lite buckets. Plus, plenty of games and contests to keep you busy if you’re not into the commercials, with incredible giveaways throughout the day! A wee-ones menu will be available for the kiddo’s, so bring the whole family! Sun. Event details.

Mission Valley

Lunar New Year Tet Festival at Qualcomm
Presented by the Little Saigon San Diego Foundation, the Lunar New Year Tet Festival will feature lion dances throughout the day, carnival rides, lots and lots of Asian food, martial arts, a pageant contest, an Asian cultural village, a doggie costume contest, and much more. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Little Italy

Little Italy Mercato
Come stroll through the Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market every Saturday from 8 a.m.- 2 p.m., where over 200 tents line W. Date St. from Kettner Blvd. to Front St. The options are endless—you can enjoy an incredible selection of farm fresh produce, pastured eggs and poultry, meat, fish, flowers, local artisan food and more! Find food purveyors with sauces and relish, oysters, coffee beans, spices and more, and plants including orchids, fresh flowers, and bedding plants. Dine on crepes, paninis, green smoothies, lemonade and local chefs’ specialties best enjoyed with our live music. Visitors come from all over the world to indulge in our farmers’ market, whether it’s to get a taste of the just-caught sea urchin or to simply soak in the beautiful atmosphere.  Mangia Bene! Market is open rain or shine. Sat. Event details.


A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
Where does the bassoon come from? Is a French horn really French? In this introduction to the orchestra, kids can explore how humans have created instruments to tell a story and how technology has shaped how we create sound. They’ll use both their imagination and problem-solving skills to dive into the basics of an orchestra. Tickets for this Family concert are $10 for kids ages 3-13, and $25 for everyone else. Kids and babies two-years old and younger who are accompanied by a parent will be allowed into the concert hall for free. They must be held by an adult and may not occupy a seat. (Kids ages three years and older must have a ticket and be able to sit in a seat.) Sun. Event details.


5K Spirit Warrior Run/Walk
Join the 10th annual Mitchell Thorp Foundation 5K Run/Walk at Poinsettia Park in Carlsbad. There will be separate walking and running courses, chip timed race, runners/walkers start at same time, kids activities, great prizes for top 3 runners and participant medals. In addition, there will be free food, face painting, a fire truck, vendor expo, musical performances and a spectacular aerial entry to Thorp Field by former Navy Seals. All proceeds benefit the Mitchell Thorp Foundation, which helps families with children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions with financial, emotional and resource support. Sat. Event details.

––Beth Shea