Saturday marks the 47th anniversary of Earth Day, a day to honor the environment that was first organized in response to a massive oil spill near Santa Barbara, California, in 1969.
Today, it’s a great opportunity to teach kids about recycling, new energy-saving technology and more. There’s no shortage of ways to celebrate, with fun and educational festivals in Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler and Surprise. Here are 10 family-friendly Earth Day events:
1. Earth Day at Phoenix Zoo (Sat Apr 22). The zoo hosts educational and entertaining activities for all ages to help nurture nature. 9 a.m to 4 p.m. Included with admission: $20; $14 ages 3-13; free for ages 2 and younger. 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. 602-273-1341 or phoenixzoo.org
2. Celebrate Mesa (Sat Apr 22). This Earth Day-themed family event features a Living Green Village, entertainment, games, carnival rides and food trucks. Kids can also run the bases at the spring-training home of the Oakland A’s. Noon to 4 p.m. Free. Hohokam Stadium, 1235 N. Center, Mesa. 480-644-2352 or mesaaz.gov/things-to-do/celebrate-mesa.
3. Earth Day Phoenix (Sat Apr 22). This eighth annual celebration features kids activities, live music, food, exhibitors and eco-friendly classes such as Composting 101. Try taking Light Rail or the city’s Green Bikes rather than driving to this zero-waste event. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Steele Indian School Park, 300 E. Indian School Road. earthdayphoenix.org
4. The March for Science and Science Fair (Sat Apr 22). This is a local march (part of a national effort) to support and safeguard the scientific community, scientific research, science education and evidence-based public policies. The event begins with a 10 a.m. rally in Cesar Chavez Memorial Plaza (Historic City Hall) in downtown Phoenix. At noon, enjoy a science fair with interactive science experiments, technology exhibits, speakers and more. Free. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 125 W. Washington St., Phoenix. phxmarchforscience.
5. Chandler’s Earth Day and Arbor Day Celebration (Sat Apr 22). This free, family event includes live animal presentations, crafts, food vendors, “green” products, and tips on conservation and sustainable living. The event concludes with an Arbor Day tree planting in Veterans Oasis Park. 9 a.m. to noon. 4050 E. Chandler Heights Road. chandleraz.gov
6. Recycle Arts Fest: Exhibit & Fashion Show (Sat Apr 22). WHAM Community Art Center in Surprise hosts this fourth annual free event and creative art display that celebrates using reusable post-consumer materials. Enjoy food, music, free activities for kids and the spirit of community and collaboration. 4 to 9 p.m. 16560 N. Dysart Road, Surprise. 623-584-8311 or wham-art.org
7. Visit a National Park for FREE (Apr 22-23). During National Park Week, entrance to all U.S. National Parks is free, including the more than 20 such parks in Arizona, from the Grand Canyon to Canyon De Chelly National Monument, Montezuma Castle National Monument, Saguaro National Park and more. nationalparkweek.org
8. Read “The Lorax” with your kids. (Anytime!) Dr. Seuss classic is a cautionary tale with a strong environmental message that remains timely. Follow it up with the 2012 Universal Pictures animated movie — one that embraces but embellishes Seuss’s story and explores why greed continues to trump conscience.
10. Great Cloth Diaper Change (Sat Apr 22). Zoolikins will host its seventh annual event that brings cloth-diapering parents together to set a world record for the number of cloth diapers changed at one time. 11 a.m. 7118 E 5th Ave, Scottsdale. zoolikins.com
Do you have a favorite way to celebrate Earth Day? Send a note to: kara@RAKmagazine.com