Start your March with gray whales, model trains and Mardi Gras.
Can’t make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras? Head to Shoreline Village’s annual Mardi Gras celebration for bead throwing and a parade with Cajun and zydeco musicians, stilt walkers, contortionists and other performers. You can also craft a mask, get your face painted and have your fortune told.
When: noon March 2
Cost, info: Free. Family-friendly. Dogs on leashes OK. (562) 435-2668, bit.ly/MardiGrasLongBeach
The Great Train Show at the OC Fair & Event Center is for hobbyists and those who are merely curious about model trains. More than 60 exhibitors from across the country will sell model railroading supplies of many sizes and scales. Kids can ride a children’s train, watch model trains zip around and play in a Thomas the Tank Engine bounce house.
When: 10 a.m. March 2 and 3
Cost, info: $10 to $11. Family-friendly. No dogs. (630) 608-4988, trainshow.com/costamesa
Mardi Gras celebrations continue at the Original Farmers Market with beer, gumbo and beignets, as well as musical performances by Eddie Baytos & the Nervis Brothers and more. Have a pet who rocks a costume? Enter it in the Mutti Gras Pet Parade for a shot at a best-dressed award.
When: noon March 2, 11:30 a.m. March 3 and 6 p.m. March 5
Cost, info: Free. Family-friendly. Dogs OK. (323) 933-9211, bit.ly/MardiGrasFarmersMarket
Marvel at marine mammals at the Dana Point Festival of Whales, which takes place during the gray whale’s winter migration. Whale-watching excursions depart every hour, and other ocean activities include sailing, stand-up paddling and fishing. Head to land for concerts, sand sculpting, chowder cook-offs and barbecues, a street fair and an opening-day parade March 2.
When: Check website for event times for events March 2 and 3 and 9 and 10.
Cost, info: Free admission, but check website for event fees. Family-friendly. No dogs on whale-watching excursions. (949) 496-5794, Ext. 7, festivalofwhales.com
Explore Culver City, Palms and Mar Vista sans cars at CicLAvia, a nonprofit that hosts open-streets events throughout Los Angeles. You’re free to travel the area on foot, bike or skates. Check the website for a map with the locations of five CicLAvia hubs, which will host free activities along the route.
When: 9 a.m. March 3
Cost, info: Free. Family-friendly. Dogs on leashes OK. (213) 355-8500, bit.ly/ciclivia