We’ve rounded-up meaningful ways to celebrate the activism, leadership and service of Martin Luther King, Jr. at kid-friendly events and activities all over the city. Your kids will learn about the passionate civil rights leader and the causes he championed in multiple ways that will help inspire their own mission to make the world a better, fairer place. Read on for where to let freedom ring.

photo: RV1864 via Flickr

1. One of the biggest celebrations of its kind, catch the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade as it marches down Harbor Dr. on Mon., Jan. 20th at 2 p.m. The parade promises dazzling floats, high school bands, exciting drill teams and more.

2. Learn about world culture and to celebrate and cherish diversity at Chicano Park in South Bay, the Museum of Man in Balboa Park, or the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum in Escondido. Check out these awesome spots (and lots more) as you discover different cultures around San Diego.

photo: Helen Woodward Animal Center

3. Talk to the animals! Helen Woodward’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Critter Camp gives kids the chance to meet a variety of animals while learning why each critter deserves compassion. Through hands-on interactions, crafts and activities, your kiddo will discover how he/she can help create a more humane world.

4. Did you know Martin Luther King Jr. was a vegetarian? Have a meat-free meal in his honor at one of our favorite vegan or vegetarian restaurants around town.

5. Join in the festivities at WorldBeat Cultural Center’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration. They’re celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr with a family festival. With live music, dancing, vegan food, an outdoor cultural arts & craft vendors marketplace, and more. Live performances will include reggae revival artist Hempress Sativa, Caribbean artist Rob Symeonn, San Diego’s Maka Roots and with a Mexican influence SGT Remo. Celebration also features multi-cultural performances and blessings. Including Native American Blessing, Danza Azteca, West African Dance, Afro-Cuban Percussion and Dance. There are also, Middle Eastern Belly Dance, Hip Hop Performance By Junkyard Dance Crew and more!

photo: jpellgen via Flickr

6. Martin Luther King Jr. was an environmentalist before the movement to save the planet even began. He famously said,“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” Follow in King’s footsteps and make waves for change at Ocean Commotion Family Day at The Nat. Join The Nat to discover what lies along San Diego’s coastline. They’ll have specimens, activities and crafts to help celebrate and protect local tide pools and the great blue Pacific Ocean.

7. Pretend City in Irvine is helping even the youngest among us celebrate Martin Luther King Day. Every kiddo is unique and they should know that no matter how different their friend may look from them, everyone should be treated fairly. On this special day at Pretend City, have an open discussion with your little ones about equality. During Smart Art time, kids can write out their dream on an artistic cloud and attach it to mobile to share it as a community. During Cultural Connection at 11:30 a.m., kids can create a self-portrait and discuss that although we have different appearances, we all share the same special nature on the inside. At 3 p.m. during Loud & Proud, kids can join storytime to learn more about Dr. King and practice using nice words to one another to carry on his legacy. 

––Beth Shea

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