Amusement park fees seem to go in only one direction: skyward. But there are alternatives for families looking for low-cost, low-tech summer fun. Here’s a sampling of choices set for this weekend and beyond:
Fun and Discovery With Bubbles. Kids participate in a show that combines music and basic science with the fun of blowing jumbo-sized bubbles. For ages 3 to 13. Presented by Dvorak and Company, 1949 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles. Sunday, 2 p.m. Continues indefinitely. $8, reservations required. (800) 550-8320.
Valley Greek Festival. A big fat Greek barrel of fun is planned at this 30th annual festival. There will be dancing, live music and plenty of authentic food, including 48,000 pastries in 14 varieties. In a special children’s area, kids can play basketball, win goldfish and try other arcade games. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 9501 Balboa Blvd., Northridge. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 1-9 p.m. Free. (818) 886-4040.
Circo Comedia. In the tradition of Cirque du Soleil, Smythe & Saucier clown around and perform balancing acts from dizzying heights in a show that combines mime, dance and improvisation. Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Cal State Long Beach, 6200 Atherton St. Sunday, 2 p.m. $8 to $15. (562) 985-7000.
RhythMatix. The finale for the annual Imagination Celebration will be a performance by an ensemble of dancers and drummers very much like those in “STOMP.” This troupe’s members use paint cans, garbage cans, scaffolding, hard hats, squeaky shoes and balloons to make joyful noises. Tap and hip-hop dance are part of the show. Orange County Performing Arts Center, Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Sunday, 2 p.m. $8. (714) 556-2787.
I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival. Since the 16th century, Italian artists have been making street paintings on pavement. The tradition continues in Santa Barbara Mission’s plaza with works by chalk artists and a festive atmosphere with live music and Italian treats such as gelato and espresso. In the children’s area, kids can buy a box of chalk and a square of space to decorate for $10. Santa Barbara Mission, 2301 Laguna St., Santa Barbara. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (805) 569-3873.
A Ride in the Park. Ride a one-third-scale replica of an 1863 Central Pacific train engine called a “Huntington” through Irvine Regional Park. The train track winds through 477 acres of 300-year-old oak trees across land donated for public use in 1897 by James Irvine. Along the way, riders will see park structures dating from the 1920s. The park is home to a zoo, a creek, a pond, picnic areas, concession stands and a train-themed gift shop. The train runs daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $3 per ride. Irvine Regional Park, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange. Park hours: daily, 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Park entry: weekdays, $2 per car; weekends, $4; holidays, $5. (714) 633-8074.