Whether you’re into nature, art, fitness or music, this week is filled with thrilling activities for all ages and interests. Even the youngest O.C. natives can enjoy this week, with events like the Flowerchild Family Arts & Music Festival, the new Tiny Naturalists program and the Festival of Children at South Coast Plaza. Another musical choice is the Long Beach Folk Revival Festival. Don’t forget to also check out some stellar gemstone carvings, get your yoga on and celebrate the joy of reading this week.

Monday, September 11

(Credit: Environmental Nature Center)

Tiny Naturalists
Environmental Nature Center
1601 East 16th Street
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 645-8489

Monday marks the start of the Environmental Nature Center’s new program, aimed at parents and babies between the ages of three and nine months. Tiny Naturalists is a six-session series, taking place each Monday through October 16. The unstructured classes will be led by Mindy Schwartz, the center’s outreach coordinator, and will explore the ENC’s grounds while acting as a type of “Parent and Me” class. Each week, participants will hike to a different habitat on the property, spread out a big blanket and enjoy the shade under the trees. Complete with plenty of tummy time and mingling, it’s a great way to get to know other parents, socialize your little ones and enjoy story time plus a song out in nature.

Tuesday, September 12

(Credit: Agate Rhyton © 2010 Harold and Erica Van Pelt)

Gemstone Carvings: The Masterworks of Harold Van Pelt
Bowers Museum
2002 North Main Street
Santa Ana, CA 92706
(714) 567-3600

Currently showing at Bowers Museum is an exhibit dedicated to Harold Van Pelt, a gemstone photographer that also crafts stunning artwork out of similar gems. The exhibition, which has been running since April, features a variety of pieces that display his mastery of the medium. Over the last 35 years, Van Pelt has created many different carvings—first displayed at Bowers in 2010. As the artist makes his return to Santa Ana, expect to find incredible transparent quartz carvings that look just like glass as well as some crafted out of rock crystal. Van Pelt also works with agate gemstones, which contain an amazing array of colors.

Wednesday, September 13

(Credit: SOCO)

Wellness Wednesday
3303 Hyland Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(949) 760-9150

Get ready to feel better than ever at SOCO’s Wellness Wednesday. Held on the second Wednesday of the month for the rest of the year, this fun event gives guests a chance to mingle, work on their fitness and more. The free event starts at 5 p.m. with an hour-long yoga session taking place at 6 p.m. Led by Fortune and Flow, the ladies will follow the yoga class with a tarot card reading. As part of Wellness Wednesday, We Olive Wine Bar and The Cheese Shop will both offer tastings, and Farm & Culture Co. will be hosting educational talks along with kombucha tastings. Those that participate will also be given a voucher for a complimentary cocktail at Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop.

Thursday, September 14

(Credit: Newport Beach Public Library)

International Literacy Day Program
Newport Beach Public Library
1000 Avocado Avenue
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 717-3800

Meet in the central library’s Friends Room at 10 a.m. on Thursday for a special program by Newport/Mesa ProLiteracy in honor of International Literacy Day. The two-hour event will celebrate a variety of literacy-based community achievements and efforts by volunteers and tutors from the local Literacy Program. It will also honor a few immigrants who have relied on literary services in order to overcome language barriers, become citizens and contribute to American society. Many of the program’s learners will also provide homemade dishes representative of their home countries. Before you leave, pick up a few library books to take home to further celebrate the importance of learning and literacy.

Friday, September 15

(Credit: Festival of Children Foundation)

Festival of Children
South Coast Plaza
3333 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(877) 492-5437

The Festival of Children, put on by Sandy Segerstrom Daniels’ Festival of Children Foundation, returns to South Coast Plaza for the month of September. The festival celebrates local youth by offering more than 70 different children’s charities space within the shopping complex to spread awareness and connect with members of the local community. There are also a variety of family-friendly activities and kid-centric entertainment. On Friday mornings, Coffee, Tea, Mommy & Me will take place at 11 a.m., offering information about vehicle, water and home safety as well as nutrition—complete with drinks, snacks and crafts. On Saturdays, LEGO will host mini build activities while Sundays offer various dance performances of Polynesian, ballet and Irish styles among others. Weekends will also offer arts and crafts for kids from noon to 4 p.m. Don’t forget to also check out the festival’s new carousel horse art exhibit, which features stunning decorated horses from amateur and professional artists, including marine life artist Wyland.

Saturday, September 16

(Credit: Long Beach Folk Revival Festival)

Long Beach Folk Revival Festival
Rainbow Lagoon Park
400 Shoreline Village Drive
Long Beach, CA 90802

For one day only, folk music and culture is being revived in Long Beach. Lucero will headline the main stage, with support from acts like Matthew Logan Vasquez, Valley Queen, Jaime Wyatt and Leather Tramp while the Lagoon and Sanctus Sound stages will feature an array of other bands. The family stage will offer some additional entertainment, including an open bluegrass jam and square dancing. This alternate stage will also be the home of a variety of competitions, including a kid’s watermelon eating contest, a pie eating contest, a banjo contest and a beard and moustache contest with categories like Double Dapper, Beer Soakin’ Moustache and Papa Beard. When you’re not watching the entertainment, stop by the craft bazaar, filled with handmade items, vintage clothing, jewelry and more.

Sunday, September 17

(Credit: Rachel Gist)

Flowerchild Family Arts & Music Festival
Orange County Great Park
6950 Marine Way
Irvine, CA 92618

One entrance ticket will get you access to an array of fun activities, entertainment and vendors at the Flowerchild Family Arts & Music Festival. Dress your children up in their best boho outfits for a costume contest, make sparkly arts & crafts, color at the Munchkin coloring tent or take pictures with a princess, a mermaid or a fairy in a photobooth. There will also be play areas for kids to learn how to do gymnastics or build things as well as family yoga classes. The Mommy & Daddy #TreatYourself area offers everything from treats to mini makeovers and massages for parents. Kids can also get their faces painted nearby. Don’t forget to check out the live entertainment during your visit, for the $10 ticket gets you access to music by singer-songwriter Christa Mae, performances by princesses and fairies, and a special Music & Movement Stage presented by Luna Grill.

Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She blogs at Pure Wander and freelances for a variety of publications including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.


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