Best Bets for Family Fun in Baltimore - October 18-20, 2013

Lots of fun things planned for pint-sizers in Baltimore this weekend. French festivals, Harvest-themed events, Shakesfeare Open House, OktoBEARfest and more. There are tons of kid-friendly events in Baltimore this weekend. Here are our top picks for family fun:

Shabbat Family Hour
Join other downtown families to welcome Shabbat together at Downtown Baltimore JCC! Their popular Jewish Discovery area will be out for exploration as well as drinks, appetizers, and challah. End the night with the Shabbat blessings. Friday, 6 PM – 8 PM. MORE INFO

Fall Fling Play Date
We’re kicking off our fall season of play dates around Baltimore with a Fall Fling at Gilman School! Join us for pumpkin decorating, fall crafts and activities designed by Gilman and Roland Park Country School, face painting, snacks for the kiddos, and hot java for the parents. Perfect family adventure and opportunity to see the facilities at Gilman School! The event is FREE thanks to our co-host, but we need to know how many pumpkins to buy! RSVP by October 15, 2013 to make sure there is one for your kiddo to decorate. The first 50 families to arrive at the play date will nab a (cool) swag bag filled with goodies from our partners. Must RSVP in advance. MORE INFO

6th Annual Harbor Harvest Event
Join Waterfront Partnership for the 6th Annual Harbor Harvest Event at West Shore Park on Saturday, October 19th from 10am – 2pm. Activities include the IKEA Urban Pumpkin Patch, Petting Zoo, Hay Maze, Face Painting, Pumpkin Decorating, Pony Rides, Live Music by the Rob Byer Band, Food Trucks and more! The rain date will be Sunday, October 20th. Free Activities Include: Petting Zoo, Hay Maze, Live Music by the Rob Byer Band & Family-Friendly Games & Activities. Be sure to purchase a $5 Kids Pass in advance to give your child the full experience! MORE INFO

Mommy and Me Spa Day for Breast Cancer Patients and their Daughters
SparTea-The “PINK DOOR” Spa is a full service day spa for Girls, located on Falls Road in Baltimore. SparTea features mini-mani’s & -pedi’s, jewelry beading, yoga session, facials, massages & more! Blink Pink is seeking Women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and their daughters between the ages of 4 and 10, for a Mommy & Me SparTea Saturday October 19, 2013 from 11:30-4:30pm by Appointment! If this is you, or applies to anyone you know, please contact Blink Pink at (443)379-4117. MORE INFO

5th Annual Cockeysville Fall Festival
Live music, games, raffles, great food, local vendors, and plenty of family fun all await you at the Fifth Annual Cockeysville Fall Festival. This outdoor festival takes place on October 19 from 10:00am – 5:00pm at the Cranbrook Shopping Center on Cranbrook road in Cockeysville. Come enjoy what Cockeysville has to offer, and help support a noble cause. Since its inception in 2009, The Cockeysville Fall Festival serves the community by donating all proceeds to local charities. This year’s festival is benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Baltimore which provides a home away from home for seriously ill children and their families, and helps to fund programs in the local area that directly improve the well being of children. The Fifth Annual Cockeysville Fall Festival is going to be our biggest festival to date and we welcome you to come and take part in this fun, local, family-friendly event. MORE INFO

Introduction to Geocaching at Willow Grove Nature Center and Farm
This program will introduce families to Geocaching – a high-tech hide and seek game that will get the family outdoors and on the trails searching for Caches. Join us for an overview of the sport and the Geocaching.com website. Then head out to find a Geocache in the Park. We have to warn you, this budget-minded, get-the-kids-outdoors, get-some-exercise, educational activity can become addictive. Bring a smart phone or GPS unit if you have one; loaners available. Saturday from 10 AM – 12PM. MORE INFO

2nd Annual Shakesfeare Open House
Games! Prizes! Arts! Crafts! Facepainting! Plus, it’s all FREE! In addition to crafts, games, and costume contests, the Baltimore Shakespeare Company will provide demonstrations that are Shakespeare related such as a Shakespearian insult contest and stage combat workshops. Heavily audience interactive. In addition, this event will allow the children (grades 1-12) who participate in our performance workshops to present plays for their community. Finally, we hope to unveil the beginnings of a beautification project in conjunction with St. Mary’s Community Center. We will be creating an art walk inspired by Shakespeare. The art will be presented on oversized banners and hung on the chain link fence surrounding St. Mary’s Cemetery. In addition to beautifying our community, this project, which will feature art from local professionals and also actors and students participating in our programs, will serve as a reminder that theatre inspires outside the stage and that collaboration in arts disciplines should be encouraged! Saturday from 11 AM – 4 PM. MORE INFO

Seton Hill French Fair
It’s time for Seton Hill’s free, fun, funky French themed fair that celebrates Seton Hill as Baltimore’s old French Quarter. Join us for dance, music, art on the fence, a Flea market, good French-style food and drink, our signature French maid race, games and activities such as Petanque, Hula hooping, sack races, face painting, kids build the Eiffel tower, and a Toddlers tour de France and Grand Prix. Sponsorship for this year fair comes with thanks from MECU neighborhood grants and Freefall. Saturday from 12 PM – 5 PM. MORE INFO

Miniatures through Time: Maryland Miniatures
Maryland Miniatures Unlimited and the Historical Society of Baltimore County invite you to join us for a miniature exhibition and a day of fun and history. The show, “Miniatures Through Time”, will feature intricate creations and historic miniatures, model trains, dollhouses and children’s activities. Suggested donation is $8.00 for adults and children over six. Children under six are free. All door proceeds will benefit the Historical Society of Baltimore County. The building is ADA accessible. The exhibit will take place on October 19th, 2013 11:00am-4:00 pm and October 20th, 2013 11:00 am -3:00pm at The Historical Society of Baltimore County. MORE INFO

OktoBEARfest at the Maryland Zoo
Get out your lederhosen, polish up your Polka steps and make your way to The Maryland Zoo’s OktoBEARfest. This Fall beer festival will be held on Saturday, October 19, 2013 in conjunction with Baltimore Beer Week. The event runs from 12:00 pm until 4:00 pm at the Zoo’s Waterfowl Lake Pavilion area and will feature a host of seasonal ales, Oktoberfest inspired foods and live music. Beer brands to be poured include, but are not limited to: DuClaw, Flying Dog, Harpoon, Hofbrau, Yards, Hop City, Sly Fox, Boulevard, Brewers Art, Blue Moon, Leinenkugel, Sprecher Hard Root Beer and Terrapin. (List is subject to change.) Performing two sets live at Waterfowl Lake during OktoBEARfest is John Stevens’ Doubleshot, an energetic Polka band from Eastern Pennsylvania. Tickets range from $12-$50 and each includes unlimited sampling, a commemorative event glass (for those 21 and over), admission to the Zoo, and access to food and artisan vendors. MORE INFO

Story Time and Art: The Color of Us by Karen Katz
Hear a story about seven year old Lena who learns about the different shades of skin colors in her neighborhood before painting a portrait of herself. Walk through the galleries, view Amy Sherald’s whimsical paintings of African Americans and paint your own portraits. Museum admission required. Reginald F. Lewis Museum, 1 PM on Saturday. MORE INFO

All Hallows Harpers Eve
On Saturday, October 19, 6-9pm, at Church of the Holy Comforter (130 West Seminary Avenue, Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21093) the local chapter of the American Harp Society will be hosting a benefit concert and silent auction to raise money for their upcoming year of projects. They are also teaming with TWIGS, which provides music instruction to Baltimore City Public school students through Baltimore School for the Arts. A portion of the proceeds from the evening will go towards the purchase of a harp for this fantastic program. Not only will the cost of your ticket go toward supporting these highly worthwhile programs, you will also enjoy a fabulous Halloween-themed evening filled with a short concert from the Charm City Harp Ensemble, wine, hors d’oeuvres, and treats and goodies for the kids. There will be a silent auction, and a short performance by some of the students from TWIGS. Concert includes selections from Harry Potter and A Nightmare Before Christmas, and more! MORE INFO

FREE Admission to The BMI
Visitors may tour the museum on their own, borrow iPod tours for free, or tour the museum with a docent on Sunday from 10 AM – 4 PM. The BMI’s exhibits replicate and tell the store of regional industrial history with exhibits that include a replicated cannery, garment loft, print shop, corner store and bakery, machine and blacksmith shop, and pharmacy, plus a transportation exhibit, and information exploring the many “first” created in Maryland. Children can use their hands as they explore the BMI through Touch boxes located in museum galleries. Hands-on activities and crafts will be available for children and families on both days. In addition, BMI is partnering with Baltimore Review on a free poetry workshop. During this two hour program, participants will explore and be inspired by the museum and write a poem, which will be shared with the group. Attendance limited to 20 people. MORE INFO

Harvest Hootenany at the Chesapeake Children’s Museum
There’ll be fiddle playing, hay rides, scarecrow stuffing, pumpkin painting, local produce and other wares to buy, and live farm animals to see and touch. Critters from Running Springs Farms will be here again and new this year, a demonstration of invasive species nibbling by the Eco-Goats. All ages. Sunday from 12 PM – 4 PM. Free with paid admission. MORE INFO

Fossil Frenzy
Fossils provide clues for understanding the history of life, past climates, and ancient landscapes. They can also pique children’s interest in science. Head to Fossil Frenzy on Sunday at the Maryland Naturalist Center! They will have many of our fossils out on display, including extensive marine fossils from Calvert Cliffs. There will also be family activities and a silent auction of fossils. We are still finalizing some details, so stay tuned for event updates. Sunday at 1 PM. MORE INFO

ShirLaLa Kids Rock Concert
Shira Kline, aka ShirLaLa, is an award winning New York based performer and music educator. She travels across the country and internationally with her kid-friendly rock band, delivering a dynamic, interactive program of joy, spirit, story, and song. Besides being on faculty at the prestigious Hava Nashira, URJ Jewish Music Institute, specializing in Religious and Early Childhood Teacher Training, Kline has received praise for her newest project, “Earth Worm Disco,” which celebrates eco-music and the care of planet earth. For all the little rock ‘n rollers out there who love to sing and dance, Shirlala will be your inspiration! Sunday at 3 PM. MORE INFO