5 kid-friendly arts and culture events in San Diego this spring

‘Octavia E. Butler: Seeding Futures’

The New Children’s Museum (NCM) recently opened a special installation about the work and imagined futures of legendary speculative fiction writer Octavia E. Butler. The exhibit fills an entire room in the museum with interactive art and play spaces. Including a climb-in tree, a mini library and other items inspired by Butler’s own childhood.

Butler-informed murals by artist Mithsuca Berry adorn the exhibit and museum lobby.

Dr. Ayana Jamieson, advising curator of the exhibit, said in a recent interview with KPBS that because of NCM’s practice of letting young people interact with contemporary art in meaningful ways, the museum is uniquely positioned to present an exhibit about Butler.

“It’s a wholly unique place that is really fertile ground for the kinds of imagination that we need in order to all thrive together as a community in the future,” Jamieson said.

Details: (Event link). Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Monday. New Children’s Museum, 200 W. Island Ave., downtown. $0-$24.

Courtesy of The New Childrens Museum

Sonia De Los Santos is shown with her band in an undated photo.

Sonia De Los Santos: ‘Música’

The New Children’s Museum will host a special concert from bilingual Mexican folk singer Sonia De Los Santos, performing from some of her family albums. De Los Santos sings in English and Spanish, and draws on a variety of musical styles, including cumbia, son jarocho, folk and more. Her music tells stories of stuff kids will understand and relate to: animals, friendship and having big dreams.

The event isn’t just for sitting back and listening. An outdoor maraca making activity kicks things off at 5 p.m., then at 5:30 p.m., ticket holders can explore the museum (don’t miss the new Octavia Butler exhibit!) or even join in on a singing workshop — and it’ll all be wrapped up by bedtime.

Details: (Event link). 5-7:30 p.m. (concert starts at 6:30 p.m.) on Friday, March 29, 2024. The New Children’s Museum, 200 W. Island Ave., downtown. $0-$22.

Performers from Corpus are pictured in the 2022 production of "La Bulle" at La Jolla Playhouse's WOW Festival.

Performers from Corpus are pictured in the 2022 production of “La Bulle” at La Jolla Playhouse’s WOW Festival.

Without Walls ‘WOW’ Festival | La Jolla Playhouse

This free, open-air, immersive, interactive and highly imaginative festival of theater and performance is perfect for kids. If you want to show young people that art can be absolutely spellbinding and captivating, WOW Festival will likely have something for you. The outdoor, drop-in/out environment is also a great buffer for uncertain kids and caregivers alike: if your youngster gets bored or overwhelmed, there’ll be plenty of other stuff nearby to visit as a break, or open space to get the wiggles out.

The festival has organized their family-friendly offerings into a special calendar here.

Details: WOW Festival. April 4-7. UC San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla. Free.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare! AXIS Event, 2022. Photo by Beto Soto.

Beto Soto


The Old Globe

Children are shown waving to a giant Shakespeare puppet in the Old Globe’s “Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare!” AXIS event in 2022.

AXIS: ‘Happy Birthday Mr. Shakespeare’

The Old Globe’s AXIS program offers a series of free, family-friendly performances and participatory activities to the community throughout the year. And given that the theater is named after Shakespeare’s professional home, The Globe Theatre in London, it tracks that they celebrate the Bard’s birthday every year.

In previous years, they’ve had puppets, live music, sword fighting workshops, dance performances and, of course, some Shakespearean scene performances, all held in the outdoor Copley Plaza.

Details: (Event link). 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, 2024. The Old Globe’s Copley Plaza, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park. Free.

City Ballet: ‘Coppélia and the Toymaker’

This kid-friendly event is a perfect introduction to ballet for children of all ages, featuring a full-length “story ballet” about a lonely toymaker who creates a toy to be his daughter. There’s mystery, jealousy and all sorts of secret identity hi-jinx. Plus, City Ballet will kick things off before the show with crafts for kids and a chance to meet and take pictures with some of the professional ballet dancers in costume.

Details: (Event link). 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19, 2024. Joan B. Kroc Theatre, 6611 University Ave., Rolando. $25.

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