Family Fun

Outdoor, Free, and Fun: Find Family Events This Weekend

A made-for-kids fishing derby is just ahead, as is Depot Day at Travel Town Museum. And sweet: A cute patch is popping up in Little Tokyo.

OC Parks/Travel Town Museum/Ian 'Doc' Singleterry/Eyeem

What to Know

  • The Kids' Fishing Derby is at Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley on Oct. 16
  • Depot Day is toot-tooting at Travel Town Museum on Oct. 17
  • Japanese Village Plaza will have a free-to-enter pumpkin patch, as part of Haunted Little Tokyo, on Oct. 16 and 17

Summer is swinging by fall in the next few days, which means that many Southern Californian families will seek airy adventures, the sort of out-in-the-sunshine fun times that have some space, some sweetness, and plenty of ways to enjoy the run of warmer weather.

And if those events happen to be free? Oh, that is as lovely as the perfect, not-too-chilly fall breeze.

A number of pay-nothing happenings are flowering around our region in the days ahead, including a few special events, the sort of pastimes that may just dovetail with your tot's interest in fishing, trains, or, yes, the rarer fun of visiting a pumpkin patch.

The Kids' Fishing Derby is ready to cast a line at Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley on Saturday, Oct. 16.

Registration for the complimentary event opens at 7:30 in the morning, and young anglers can try and catch fish for three hours, from 9 a.m. to noon.

And there will be a number of fish in North Lake, about a thousand pounds of just-stocked catfish. Clinics to help aspiring fish fans? Those will happen, and there will be some loaner rods, too, though note that the supply is limited.

Spots, too, are limited at the derby, so early arrival is suggested.

"Prizes and trophies will be awarded for different age groups and the participant with the overall winning catch of the day will get their name inscribed on the legendary Mile Square Park Fishing Derby Trophy," shared the team at OC Parks, the organizers of the popular event.

And on Sunday, Oct. 17 in Griffith Park? Travel Town Museum, that wonderland of vintage locomotives, is holding a free Depot Day.

Displays presented by various train enthusiast groups, informative tours of the passenger railcars, food trucks, and more will dot the spacious grounds.

But you say an October weekend needs a few pumpkins to up the autumnal charm? Totally true, and we'd never "squash" your hopes by suggesting otherwise.

The newest limited-time pumpkin patch in town will be open at Japanese Village in Little Tokyo on Oct. 16 and 17, with photo opportunities and more.

The adorable patch? It's part of Haunted Little Tokyo, which officially opens in the DTLA neighborhood this weekend.

Need more ideas for fall-themed things to do? Not everything on this round-up has free admission, do note — some of the activities are ticketed, with a fee — but there are plenty of alfresco activities, with fall flair, happening around our region.