Top September events for families
By Liz Petroff
By the time September rolls around, the kiddos are usually in a good routine at school, and cooler weather and (enjoyable) outdoor activities are in sight. Labor Day weekend gives families a nice escape to explore a county fair or festival. It’s also a month to honor our nation’s veterans and first responders at the 9/11 Heroes Run or to see a team of superheroes defend the universe onstage. Food fights (with no cleanup), teddy bears and cheese pizza also have a fun place on our Family Time events calendar! Here’s what we’re excited about:
9/11 Heroes Run (Sept. 2). 5K run to honor, remember and thank local veterans and first responders in a fun, family friendly environment for all ages. The 9/11 Heroes events take place all over the world organized by local community volunteers.
“Get Animated!” at the Arizona Science Center (Through Sept. 16). The science center has extended its featured exhibit that lets kids and adults learn about the pioneers of animation and see how the process works — from old-fashioned painted cels to today’s high-tech CGI. Try hands-on drawing and stop-motion animation stations, build a castle like Shrek’s and take photos with the Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine, on Bart Simpson’s couch or in a car from Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
Experience India at the MIM (Sept. 2-3). The Musical Instrument Museum puts the spotlight on East Indian music and culture. Watch music and dance performance and participate in hands-on activities, including temporary henna body art. See film screenings and hear curator talks throughout the galleries.
National Cheese Pizza Day (Sept. 5). No pizza toppings necessary today. Surprise the family with a pizza dinner, and don’t skimp on the cheese!
Marvel Universe Live: Age of Heroes (Sept. 8-10). Families are being called to help defend the universe from evil. Join more than 25 marvel characters, including Spider-Man, the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy as they race to recover an ancient artifact from villains Loki and Green Goblin.
Children’s Learning and Play Festival (Sept. 9). This event returns for its second year. Parents can listen to speakers and authors and children can explore the interactive play area where they can meet characters including PBS’s SuperWhy.
National Teddy Bear Day (Sept. 9). Celebrate furry fun in Historic downtown Glendale. Enjoy make-and-take crafts, shopping deals, special treats and free Ollie the Trolley rides. The Glendale Visitor Center, Bears & More and Gracie’s Marketplace will be selling safety approved bears to distribute to local Trauma Teddy programs, first responders and emergency rooms.
National Grandparents Day (Sept. 10). Both the Children’s Museum of Phoenix and the i.d.e.a. Museum in Mesa celebrate grandparents with free admission for grandparents! So bring the grandkids for a day of fun and interactive play.
Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market (Sept. 15-17). Celebrate everything chippy, rusty, vintage, repurposed and handmade. Nearly 200 vendors from around the country participate in this three-day event.
Messy Fest (Sept. 16). The City of Queen Creek hosts Messy Fest, the outdoor adventure that includes a mud course, food fights and a mashed potato tug-of-war. Don’t worry, there is a giant car wash rinse zone, too.
National Stepfamily Day (Sept. 16) Jesterz Comedy Club, a family-friendly venue, is helping celebrate with discounts for stepfamilies at its 7 and 9 p.m. comedy shows.
Ballet Under the Stars (Sept. 21-30). Each fall, Ballet Arizona gives the community the gift of free outdoor performances. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy classical and contemporary dance.
Museum Day Live! (Sept. 23). Smithsonian magazine sponsors this day of free admission at participating local museums and cultural institutions nationwide. There are 20 participating museums in Arizona, including Cave Creek Museum, Pueblo Grande Museum, Desert Botanical Garden, Halle Heart Children’s Museum and Arizona History Museum.
Somos Peoria (Sept. 30). Join the City of Peoria in Old Town with a festival for Hispanic Heritage Month. It’s a day of fun for the entire family and an evening of live entertainment.
The Art of Healthy Living (Sept. 29-Jan. 21) This new exhibit explores nutrition, exercise, mindfulness and overall wellness. Art, hands-on activities and kids movement stations will explore physical fitness, nourishment of both body and mind, creativity and meditation.
Fall Butterfly Exhibit (Sept. 30-Nov. 19). Mighty monarch butterflies return to the Desert Botanical Garden with friends! The exhibit explores the insects that care for and protect our desert environment.
Fry’s Free Weekend at Arizona Science Center (Sept. 30-Oct. 1).The science center is open with free general admission this weekend courtesy of Fry’s Food Stores. Guests can explore the science center’s four levels and get discounted tickets for the giant screen theater and Dorrance Planetarium shows.
Calendar Editor Liz Petroff of Phoenix is the mother of Jack (9) and Lucy (7). Send event info to [email protected].