ORIGINAL RENAISSANCE PLEASURE FAIRE: You don't need to saddle up your steed, while wearing a suit of clankiest armor, and engage in some heated jousting before a royal court at this annual springtime weekends-only affair. You just have to arrive at Irwindale's Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area, pay the admission fee, and make merry. There are plenty of ways: Entertainment, jesting, booths selling crafts, costume accessories, and more, all up the medieval-meets-modern vibe. Dates? Weekends from April 4 through May 17. (That's in the year 2015, not 515, do note.)
EASTER OUTINGS: If the Easter Bunny knows to stop at your place on Sunday, April 5, but will have likely departed before your kids get a chance to say hello, take heart: A number of vintage trains up and down the Golden State are welcoming the Big Bunny aboard the tracks (or nearby). In Southern California both the Irvine Park Railroad and the Fillmore & Western have Easter weekend plans (just check times and dates, with it being a holiday and all). Will the famous rabbit wear a conductor's hat, though? And could the Easter Bunny actually out-hop a train, if he tried? Important questions.
BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS: It's a beautiful, and occasionally barky, Easter weekend tradition around El Pueblo de Los Angeles, and it isn't just for the dogs. Animal aficionados show with their geckos, hamsters, and occasional horses and the archbishop bestows a benediction. Are many of the beasties in Easter-type bonnets and flowery wreaths? They are. Do you need to dress your Dachshund to join? Not at all. It's free, frequently comical, frequently moving, and it happens on Saturday, April 4.
WONDERCON ANAHEIM: Anything that's huge and comic-book-y and movie-y and TV-y and involves people dressing up as villains and superheroes and beyond and has "Con" in its name is probably very, very large, attendance-wise, and very, very known, among-the-fans-wise. WonderCon Anaheim, which has its roots in San Francisco, is, for sure. Oh, and, for sure, it's a part of the Comic-Con International family, too. Ready those Princess Leia side buns and head for the OC from Aug. 3 through 5.
THE HUNTINGTON'S NEW VISITOR CENTER: The elegant, re-imagined entrance to one of California's most storied historic gardens (and library and art collection) has been in the works for over two years. Part of the new complex, which includes new drought-resistant gardens and auditorium, debuted in January, and now the rest is set to show, splashily, on Saturday, April 4. You might have seen the new gift store already, but a cafe and more will be revealed.