photo: City of Poway

Jumpstart your 4th of July festivities this weekend at the Independence Parade in Oceanside or at the Del Beach Bash complete with fireworks and s’mores! Or take in the Birch Aquarium’s brand new exhibit or experience a summer concert by the sea! Read on for the details!


Farm Animal Fridays
Come learn about and meet a new animal on the last Friday of every month! You’ll get an opportunity to get up close and personal with cool creatures. This Friday’s animal: pigs! Meet and learn about pigs with a live presentation, special craft and more. Free with museum admission which is $8/person. Fri. Event details.

Balboa Park

Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Mr. Popper, a house painter of modest means, lives with family in a small town. He is a restless dreamer who spends his time reading of famous explorers in faraway places. See how his life changes when a package from Antarctica turns out to be a live, dancing penguin! Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Nighttime Zoo
Enjoy a rocking good time throughout the Zoo all summer long at Nighttime Zoo! Take advantage of extended Zoo hours to join in all the fun of Nighttime Zoo’s special activities, evening festivities and live entertainment—including African-themed entertainment and toe-tapping musical stylings from Zoo favorites, the Rock and Roar band and the Chameleons brass band. Families will also discover surprising encounters, stilt walkers, exceptional trampoline performances, acrobatic feats and much more. New this year, starting June 30, is “Call of the Night”—a thrilling 12-minute symphony of live music, lasers, moving lights, rhythmic acrobats, fog and bubbles that will astound spectators and brighten Hua Mei Plaza like never before. The zany Dr. Zoolittle and Zoo characters will be back with their hilarious “Dr. Zoolittle and Friends Explore Africa” show at Koalafornia Boardwalk, and the amazing animal ambassadors are ready to educate and entertain during the “Wild About Animals” show at Wegeforth Bowl. The always-popular Zoolahoops will wow the crowd in Centennial Plaza, while Stomp and Romp will get families grooving to the beat at the Front Street Stage. Guests will also get a chance to meet and greet spectacular handcrafted puppets, before being amazed by their electrifying 20-minute procession along Front Street at the end of the night: “Jambo!” In this nightly extravaganza, the puppets and their skilled puppeteers—led by the Chameleons band—will thrill audiences in a must-see spectacle for the whole family. Special activities start at 4 p.m. daily. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

La Jolla

Oddities: Hidden Heroes of the Scripps Collections
It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, it’s a … Giant Tube Worm? Head to Birch Aquarium at Scripps to visit Oddities: Hidden Heroes of the Scripps Collections, a comic book-inspired exhibit that highlights the astonishing adaptations (aka super powers) of ocean species. Oddities is created in partnership with the team from the Scripps Oceanographic Collections, where millions of specimens allow scientists to understand some of the amazing adaptations marine creatures have developed to survive. From super vision and invisibility to protective armor and the ability to create electricity to zap prey, real marine creatures do amazing things every day that stretch even the wildest imagination. The interactive exhibit will include examples of some of the most unique creatures from all depths and highlight how they have inspired everything from cinema and pop culture to medicine and engineering. Guests will learn what it takes to collect scientific samples and have the opportunity to test out some of these unique adaptations through creature cosplay. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Family Swim Night
Floaties offers an opportunity for families to come in and use their facility for a fun family night out! Please note: Floaties will not have instructors in the water, but there will be staff on hand to assist with anything you may need. Call 877-277-7946 to reserve a spot. Sat. Event details.


Independence Parade in Oceanside
Celebrate Independence Day before the July 4th crowds at this annual parade and event. This year’s theme is “Hometown Heroes!” You’ll see floats, bands, cool cars and more in this festive, patriotic parade. Sat. Event details.


Del Beach Bash
Get a jumpstart on 4th of July festivities at this beach party on July 1st, complete with a live music by The Mighty Untouchables, fire pits with s’mores and fireworks at 8:45 p.m. Note: The Del Beach Bash on 7/1 is complimentary for overnight hotel guests. For day visitors, tickets to the event may be purchased for $25 per person. Sun. Event details.


Summer Concerts by the Sea
What better place to enjoy great summer music than on the beach, with your toes in the sand? This summer, Encinitas Parks and Recreation brings more fun to their beach concert experience. Each concert date will feature fun games, contests and free stuff! All you need to do is show up! Summer Concerts are held right on the sand at beautiful Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. Sun. Event details.

––Beth Shea