March 20 officially marks the start of spring, but signs of the season will be apparent even before the Vernal Equinox.
At Descanso Gardens (1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada Flintridge; www.descansogardens.com) the annual Cherry Blossom Festival takes place the first two weekends of March. Besides enjoying the beautiful blossoming trees, for an admission fee of $9 adults, $6 students and $4 ages 4-12, visitors can enjoy origami workshops, live performances and cherry tree discovery stations. A limited number of cherry trees will even be on sale March 4-5.
L.A. Nature Fest (March 18-19) at the Natural History Museum (900 Exposition Blvd., L.A.; www.nhm.org) celebrates nature’s revival after a winter of slumber. Located in the NHM’s Nature Garden, the festival offers an interesting, informative look at our city’s “wild side.” From 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. each day, families can learn about birds, bees, snakes and mountain lions. There will be a puppet show, insect painting and craft activities for kids to enjoy, while parents can check out a coffee-roasting demonstration. Admission is $12 adults, $9 students and $5 ages 3-12.
As butterflies begin their life cycle, children can experience this wonder of nature with the help of Kidspace Children’s Museum (480 N. Arroyo Blvd. Pasadena; www.kidspacemuseum.org). From March 11-April 23, Kidspace’s annual Caterpillar Adoption Days let children take home a Painted Lady caterpillar and watch it evolve into a butterfly. Caterpillar adoption kits cost $4.50 and include food and a care guide. Visit Kidspace to pick one up from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Kidspace admission is $13 for ages 1 and up.
Kites also add color to the skies as the weather warms, and the free annual Festival of the Kite will make the sky above Redondo Pier (100 Fishermans Wharf, Redondo Beach; www.redondopier.com) explode with color from noon-5 p.m. March 12. Bring a kite and let it fly. Maybe you can win a prize! The day will also include live music, dance, martial arts demonstrations and a Hot Dog on a Stick Eating Contest.