free weekend fun in HoustonThe weekend is almost here. What are your plans? Here is a snapshot of a few free events and activities to enjoy with your family and friends:

SATURDAY

Meet children’s book authorsBookworm Festival is an amazing free event for young book lovers! The morning features a keynote from Judith Viorst (author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day) plus sessions with other nationally known authors of picture books and early chapter books. The event begins at 9:30 am February 8, with author signing at 11:15 am. Located at Pine Shadows Elementary, 900 Neuens, near Gessner and Hammerly.

Love a lion dance — The Lunar New Year Festivals continue this weekend with food, fun, dance, music, martial arts, and more:

1) Don’t miss Lunar New Year, located at Viet Hoa Center 8388 W. Sam Houston Parkway, with 1 million firecrackers. Hours are 11 am to 7 pm Saturday and Sunday.

2) Another big free event is the Chinese New Year Festival Saturday at Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School, 11 am – 3 pm. The free festival features cultural performances from the student body and Houston’s Asian community. Food trucks will be on site along with the Bellaire Fire Truck. Games and food are additional fees. Located in Bellaire at 6300 Avenue B at Bissonnet.

Explore the outdoors — The whole family will enjoy Saturdays in Nature at the Houston Audubon, second Saturday each month, 9 am to noon. The free event features quality time outdoors, creative art projects, guided walks and more. This Saturday’s theme features a History Tour and craft making Noah the Pig. No reservations are required. Park in the Memorial Methodist west parking lot (12955 Memorial Drive) and follow the signs to the sanctuary.

Relive the past – Celebrate pre-1900 Texas history at the annual Homestead Heritage Day, sponsored by Jesse H. Jones Park and Nature Center. Enjoy live folk music, hands-on activities for the kids, blacksmith demonstrations, Civil War re-enactments, old-fashioned games, and hay ride. Heritage Day is February 8, from 10 am – 4 pm at Jesse H. Jones Park, 20634 Kenswick Drive in Humble. Map available here.

wienermobileVisit the Wienermobile — If you missed seeing the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile in Houston, you have another chance this weekend. The 27-ft vehicle will be parked at Houston-area Fiesta stores for an up-close and personal look. Plenty of fun including photo ops with the big hot dog, a peek inside, and free wiener whistles. Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm: Fiesta Grocery, 1603 Spencer Hwy S, 77587.

Learn the art of baking — Calling all junior chefs! If you love cookies, don’t miss this free Junior Chef class Saturday at Williams Sonoma about Valentine’s Day cookies. Geared to kids age 5-15. Class times vary by location. Call for more info: Town & Country Village (713.827.8056), Highland Village (713.212.0346), The Woodlands Mall (281.298.6915), Baybrook Mall (281.480.1705), First Colony Mall (281.313.1180).

Craft a  Valentine card holder — Kids can design their own heart-shaped card holder Saturday, February 8, at Lakeshore Learning’s weekly craft time. Participate each Saturday from 11 am – 3 pm with a new craft. Houston area locations are 2405 Post Oak Blvd. in the Galleria area, 19032 Gulf Fwy. in Friendswood, and The Woodlands.

Enjoy family fun in TomballSecond Saturday at the Depot returns to Tomball Saturday, 5 pm – 8 pm. The free event features activities and games, music, and a screening of Home on the Range at dark on the giant inflatable movie screen. Kids can participate in “steer roping” and meet rodeo clowns in anticipation of the Houston Rodeo.

Hear a Valentine story time — Barnes & Noble is celebrating with Valentine’s Story time featuring Love Monster. The event features story time, activities, and Valentine’s treats. The free event begins at 11 am at Houston-area Barnes & Noble locations.

SUNDAY

Get kids into gardeningUrban Harvest is hosting its Children’s Gardening Series this Sunday at its Sunday Farmers Market. This month’s topic is Plant Parts Relay, with sessions at 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm. Kids will learn why we eat some parts of a plant and not others plus identify vegetables that we grow and eat. The Eastside Street market is located at 3000 Richmond.