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Fall’s 15 best arts & culture events for the whole family

Cirque Mechanics will perform its newest show, “42FT – A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels,” in Worcester on Oct. 15.Maike Schulz

UNDER THE SEA Families can go on an underwater adventure with this fun exhibit. Penguins, jellyfish, dolphins, and even mermaids — all drawn from Eric Carle picture books — make up an entire gallery through March 2020. Also featured are an immersive puppet stage and a reading rowboat for some extra-cozy storytime. Sept. 7-March 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $6-$9. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst.

SOUTH BOSTON STREET FESTIVAL Head over to Southie for a day to remember. The 20th annual street festival is packed with live music, local food, children’s activities, art displays, and more than 100 Boston area merchants. Sept. 14, 11 a.m.-4 p.m, Free. 647 East Broadway, South Boston.


FALL HARVEST Promising everything from cooking demonstrations to tastings, from garden tours to farm animal visits, this annual event is the perfect kickoff to harvest season. Attendees even get to make their own herb butter. Yum! Sept. 14, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $6-$9. Mass Audubon Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Road, Lincoln.

THOMAS & FRIENDS Traveling all the way from the Minnesota Children’s Museum, an exhibit starring the world’s most famous tank engine makes a stop at the Museum of Science. Aimed for the younger set, the show provides families with an all-access pass to the world of the beloved television program, while giving little kids the chance to solve their own engineering challenges. Temporary exhibit opens Sept., 21, $21-$26. Museum of Science, Museum Of Science Driveway, Boston.

MUSEUM DAY Speaking of which, Sept. 14 is also Museum Day. Courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine, families can nab free tickets to museums around the state (and the country, for those feeling the travel bug) in exchange for providing the magazine with your name and e-mail address. There are more than 46 participating museums in Massachusetts alone, including the Fitchburg Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and Acton’s Discovery Museum. Sept. 21.


SNOOPY, COME HOME Introduce a new generation to the beloved Peanuts gang with this special showing of “Snoopy, Come Home.” The animated classic is back in theaters for one day only, the first time since its original release in 1972. Sept. 29, 1 p.m, $7-$10. The Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St., Arlington.

JUSTIN ROBERTS Enjoy the silly, clever, and poignant musings of Chicago singer-songwriter Justin Roberts. Known for writing songs about the ups and downs of kid life, Roberts is sure to showcase his talent for making children dance and parents think. Oct. 5, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., $15-$25. 51 Walden Performing Arts Center, 51 Walden St., Concord.

MAD LOVE MUSIC FESTIVAL Back for another year, this festival brings some of the best family-friendly music acts to Massachusetts’s South Shore. This year’s lineup includes the Aldous Collins Band, Dalton & The Sheriffs, Dionysia, Toast, SixFoxWhiskey, and Quadrafunk. Proceeds benefit the Dave Jodka Scholarship for Future Rockers. Oct. 13, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., $10-$100. South Shore Conservatory, One Conservatory Drive, Hingham.

MECHANICAL MARVELS Perfect for thrill-seeking families, Cirque Mechanics puts on one of the most cutting-edge circus shows today. The company’s newest creation, titled “42FT – A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels,” features everything from a galloping mechanical horse to strongmen, acrobats, aerialists, and bicycling stuntmen. Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m., $25-$55. The Hanover Theatre, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester.


MONSTERBASH! Grade-schoolers are invited to dance the night away at this Halloween-themed party. There’s a black-light DJ dance party, a flashlight candy hunt, and tons of games. All a visitor needs is a costume! Oct. 18, 7 p.m., Nara Park Amphitheater, 25 Ledge Rock Way, Acton.

PUMPKIN FLOATS Set the mood for Halloween by lugging your best jack-o’-lantern to Boston Common — and then setting it afloat on Frog Pond. Pumpkins must be 8 inches in diameter or smaller. And they must be carved, of course, or they won’t float. Music and refreshments are also part of the fun. Oct. 18, 5-8 p.m., Free. Frog Pond, Boston Common.

OWL FESTIVAL In both mythology and art, owls are portrayed consistently as one of the world’s most mysterious creatures. Here’s your chance to learn more about these late-night birds. This two-day festival features family-friendly crafts and food, plus the chance to learn about helping owl populations today. Oct. 26-27, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $6-$8. Mass Audubon Blue Hills Trailside Museum, 1904 Canton Ave., Milton.

DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS The Peabody Museum brings the spirit of Oaxaca to Massachusetts with its annual Day of the Dead celebration. Listen to live music, make Oaxacan wood carvings, and sip on spicy hot chocolate during this cozy and traditional celebration. Revelers even get a serving of pan de muerto (sweet bun) with their ticket! Nov. 2, noon-4 p.m., $10-$15. Harvard Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, 11 Divinity Ave., Cambridge.


BABY SHARK LIVE! “Baby Shark” captured the minds and mouths of the Internet’s youth last fall (and it’s probably been stuck in their parents’ heads ever since). Packed with modern technology and some new catchy tunes, experience Baby Shark and his friend Pinkfong in all their glory during this live musical event. There are even some meet-and-greet options that are sure to make somebody’s day. Nov. 9, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., $30-$100. Emerson Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston St., Boston.

THE PURSUIT OF EVERYTHING Maira Kalman is best known for her New Yorker cartoons, but this exhibit gives her picture book career the full display. “The Pursuit of Everything” presents a colorful panorama of 18 acclaimed children’s books including “Max Makes a Million” (1990) and “What Pete Ate” (2001). Nov. 10-April 5, 2020, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $6-$9. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst.

Chris Triunfo can be reached at