Authors, dinosaurs, and pumpkins — oh my! This weekend is full of fun things for kids! Here are our top picks.

baltimore family events this weekend

KidLitCon 2015 Author Signing
Over two dozen celebrated authors and illustrators of children’s and teen books will be on hand to sign their books and meet young readers. Join Tracey Baptiste, Carrie Mesrobian, Mary Downing Hahn, the creators of popular graphic novels Giants Beware! and Last of the Sandwalkers and many more! FREE! Friday, 3 PM – 5 PM, at Hyatt Place. MORE

St. James Academy Children’s Dinner Theatre: Piccolo’s Trunk
Looking for a family night out that’s affordable, delicious, and entertaining? St. James Academy’s Children’s Dinner Theatre series aims to provide quality local entertainment for children and parents. A casual dinner is served in Macdonald Hall at 5:30 PM followed by the evening’s performance at 6:15 PM in the Susan Tucker Moore Theatre. Dinner is $6 per person and the show is $6 per guest. Children under 2 are free and $48 max cost per family. This Friday, see Piccolo’s Trunk with Mark Jaster. Read our preview. MORE

Junie B.’s Essential Survival Guide to School
In this all-new musical adventure based on Barbara Park’s popular book series, Junie B. shares her book on everything you need to know on surviving and thriving from bus rules to band-aids, carpools to cookies. Part of the BGE Family Series at Harford Community College. Friday at 7 PM. MORE

Be a Chef for a Day
Chefs Matt and Sphen will turn downtown Baltimore into an open-air kitchen — for kids! Make pasta, turn a bunch of vegetables into a wonderful sauce, make pizza or a super cake, and learn from real chefs their secrets-in-the-kitchen. Advanced registration required. Be a Chef for a Day is the first National Children’s Culinary Arts Festival dedicated to the children. From newborn through 8th grade: everybody will cook, experience food, make pasta, know more about healthy eating- – and, most important, have fun! Saturday and Sunday, Center Plaza. Registration for individual sessions required in advance. $12/session. MORE

Wild About Penguins at the Maryland Zoo
Did you know that the Zoo’s penguins are from South Africa and actually enjoy warm weather? From conservation efforts to daily husbandry practices, learn all about the Maryland Zoo’s amazing penguin colony. We have it on the best authority that penguin gazing is good for your health! Saturday, 10 AM – 4 PM. Free with paid admission. MORE

Music Box Series: Dinosaurs
Experience a unique musical perspective on the “terrible lizards” of the past through interactive music and play at the Meyerhoff with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Delight in fun of singing, dancing and celebrating dinosaurs with some great Brass Quintet music. Hosted by Khaleshia Thorpe-Price. Performances at 10 AM and 11:30 AM on Saturday. 30 minutes prior to each concert the lobby fills with a range of musical, creative and fun activities for babies and families. Created for babies ages 6 months through 3 years old. Tickets are $10. MORE

Pumpkinfest at Irvine Nature Center
PumpkinFest is a fun event for families and communities to celebrate the delights of autumn. Each October, hundreds of families gather at Irvine Nature Center to enjoy a wholesome day of music, food and fun. Hayrides, alpacas, jugglers, face painting and more! Learn more on the PumpkinFest page. $15 per child. All activities are included. Free for adults and children under 2 years old. Strongly suggested to register in advance. Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM. RAIN DATE: Sunday, October 11 MORE

Family Art Day at Towson University
FREE and open to the public! Experience the joy of thinking like an artist through drop-in interactive art activities, performances, interactive gallery experiences, and story time, all inspired by current exhibitions. Visitors of all ages welcome! In partnership with the TU Community Art Center, NAEA Towson Student Chapter, Asian Arts & Culture Center, Department of Art + Design, Art History, and Art Education Galleries. Saturday, 11 AM – 3 PM. MORE

Art AGstravangza and Chalk Art Festival
The Baltimore County Arts Guild, in partnership with the Maryland Agricultural Resource Center (MARC), partners for an extraordinary Fall art and chalk festival on October 10, 2015. Food trucks, chalk art competition (anyone can enter!), live music, dancing, beer and wine and more! Saturday, 11 AM – 5PM. MORE

62nd Annual Festival on the Hill
Bolton Hill Nursery sponsors the 62nd Annual Festival on the Hill. There’s an extensive children’s area with a bounce house, face painting, glitter tattoos, carnival games, bubbles, a fire truck and many more activities. Baltimore’s famous Mambo Combo will be performing in the afternoon. There will be beer, wine, hot dogs, hamburgers, sausages, gourmet foods and desserts, oysters and more! Saturday, 11 AM – 5 PM. MORE

14th Annual Pigtown Festival
The 14th Annual Pigtown Festival is coming back to Washington Boulevard on Saturday, October 10! The festival will be held from noon to 7 pm on the 700 – 900 blocks of Washington Boulevard. Featuring Kelly Bell Band, Jah Works, Nelly’s Echo, and a Brand New Family Experience with Playworks Kids Zone and famous LIVE PIG RACES! Saturday, 12 noon – 7 PM. MORE

The 11th Annual BARCStoberfest
On Saturday, October 10th, 2015 from 11am to 3pm, (Rain date is October 11th) Baltimore’s Patterson Park will be full of activity as the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) hosts its ELEVENTH annual pet festival – BARCStoberfest! Over 3,000 people and their pets will be on-site to enjoy great food, entertainment and animal activities ranging from our renowned pet costume contests judged by local celebrities to micro-chipping. MORE

Maryland Pumpkin Festival
While thousands come to experience Summer Farm’s annual offerings (such as the corn maze, hay slides, farm animals, hay rides, pumpkin patch, pig races and jumping pillow), the addition of the Maryland Pumpkin Festival weekend adds so much more! Celebrate all things pumpkin! Included during the Maryland Pumpkin Festival will be an appearance by Mr. Brown the Clown, pumpkin hunts, egg hunts, pumpkin sculpturing demonstration, face painting and more! They’ll also have live bluegrass music each day on the Silo Stage. Friday and Saturday. $6.95-$11.95. MORE

Drop In Art Activities: Up the Nile
Travel up the Nile and explore Egyptian art and artifacts at the Walters this month. Decode hieroglyphs, learn about Egypt’s famed blue-green ceramics, and check out mummies and masks! Every weekend join The Walters and create artful projects related to the collection and special exhibitions. Check out our monthly themes and visit often to participate in a different project each weekend. No registration required—drop in, make, and take a fantastic work of art home with you! Saturday and Sunday, 10 AM – 3 PM. MORE

Nature Connections: Fossils and Dinosaurs
It’s all about fossils and dinosaurs at the Natural History Society of Maryland! Spend an afternoon exploring ancient fossils and the stories of dinosaurs. Expert paleontologists will be on hand with fossil displays and presentations. Bring the family – hands-on children’s activities and crafts also included. Dig for your own fossil souvenir! Help us name our mascot Tyrannosaurus rex! Sunday, 1 PM – 4 PM. MORE

…looking ahead to next week!

Everyone’s a Kid Day at The Maryland Zoo
There’s nothing like a trip to the Zoo to make people of every age feel like a kid! On Tuesday, October 13th, they are celebrating the wonder and excitement of feeling like a kid with another Everyone’s A Kid Day. A day where all Zoo tickets are the price of child admission. That’s $5 off adult admission. It’s a great deal, (no kidding!). MORE

Reading Partners Information Session at Play Cafe
Hey moms and dads! Are you interested in joining the movement and helping the City of Baltimore’s young struggling readers? If so, bring your little ones and join Reading Partners at Play Café on Wednesday, October 14 from 10-11:30 am for an informal informational session. This will be a great opportunity to learn how being a reading partner tutor can help your own children as Reading Partners staff and volunteers discuss teaching tips for parents. MORE

Go, Dog, GO! Opens at Pumpkin Theatre
This classic children’s book comes to life on stage! Watch this group of highly motivated dogs as they drive their cars to various locations in their pursuit of work and play! They snorkle. They howl at the moon. They ride a ferris wheel. They sing and dance and climb trees! This rollicking free-for-all of a musical is sure to entertain kids of all ages. Shows at 1 PM and 3 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Opens on October 17th. MORE


Image courtesy of the Irvine Nature Center website