Bring the Folks

For fun in any language

Kids are like little snot-nosed sponges when it comes to acquiring information. That's why they know the names of all seventy-two thousand Pokémon characters and you don't. They don't plan on learning; they just soak up whatever they're exposed to. So why not expose your kids to something slightly more important than Jigglypuff's secret attack? Take them to the International Folkfest at Queeny Park this weekend and show them the wonders of the world without leaving the confines of the Greensfelder Recreation Center (550 Weidman Road, 314-773-9090 or www.intlinst.org). They can dance to the flamenco of Spain or the drums of the Ivory Coast, or they can be awed by the spectacular Vietnamese Lion Dance. Introduce them to cuisine beyond their usual hot-dog-and-macaroni diet with treats from Ethiopia and Russia. If they're well-behaved, buy 'em a gift from the global bazaar (or get yourself something nice). The Folkfest is open 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, and admission is $3-$5. -- Paul Friswold

Owl Pellets

The annual World Bird Sanctuary Fall Open House begins, strangely enough, on a school bus, which brings visitors from a parking lot (I-44 at Hwy. 141) near the bottom of Lone Elk Park to the WBS itself. There, guests may encounter a young woman dressed in a full-body eagle-mascot costume, handing out flyers. (It's a great photo-op.)

Encouraged to wander through the generous acreage of the Sanctuary, you'll see exotic hawks, falcons, owls and osprey being rehabilitated and studied in the rooms of the breeding facility. The real encounters with the birds, though, happen on a patch of lawn with dozens of raptors tethered to perches. Visitors can get mighty close to squawking golden eagles the size of German shepherds, gorgeous snowy owls and other predators (10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, October 18 and 19, free, call 636-938-6193 or visit www.worldbirdsanctuary.org). You'll also enjoy animal programs, kids' activities, tours, concessions and meeting the Andean condors, some of the biggest (and the ugliest) birds on the planet. -- Byron Kerman

Mean Teen
Reading machine

Your local library isn't all story times for kindergarteners and computer classes for the benighted -- it's also fun for the most recalcitrant creature on the planet, the American teen. If the boys can stop sniggering and the girls can stop "oh-my-god"-ing for a minute, they'll find some worthy (and free) events during the St. Louis County Library's Teen Read Week (314-994-3300). We're recommending the Adventures in Abstract Art workshop (6 p.m. Thursday, October 16, Headquarters, 1640 South Lindbergh Boulevard), Teen Jeopardy (2-4 p.m. Saturday, October 18, Jamestown Bluffs Branch, 4153 North Highway 67) and the Pizza and Poetry Party (6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, October 23, Natural Bridge Branch, 7606 Natural Bridge Road). -- Byron Kerman

 
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