This Week's Picks: An iconic puppet, Despicable Me 2 and Circus Vargas June 16-20

Spend the week doing free stuff and end it with a splurge at the circus. There are lots of cool and interesting things to do in and around LA that don't cost a dime. Local libraries are a great place to start. Many of them host special guest entertainers and educators. While we are highlighting a few things here, don’t forget to check out Mommy Poppins event calendar for a more comprehensive listing of things (free or not) to do this week.

1. Mallory Lewis and Lamb Chop – Monday

Lamb Chop first appeared on television with Shari Lewis in 1950. This Sassy sweet sock puppet now performs with Shari’s daughter Mallory in an updated show featuring topical comedy and audience participation. Catch the pair at the Madrid Theater in Canoga Park.

2. Free Day At Descanso Gardens – Tuesday

At Descanso Gardens, the third Tuesday of every month is free admission day; and June is a great time to stop and smell the flowers, because the roses are in bloom. The garden also features California Native plants, a Japanese tea house, coast live oak trees, and an enchanted railroad for little conductors and their engineers.

3. Free Screening of Despicable Me 2 – Wednesday

Romance is in the air; the minions are back, and super villains are out in full force. You probably already paid for your kids to see this in the theaters. Now they can enjoy a repeat viewing and maybe even check out some books at the Santa Monica Public Library when the movie is over.

4. Japanese American National Museum Free Day – Thursday

The largest museum in North America devoted to the experience of Japanese Americans is free to visit on the third Thursday of every month. The museum's website has creative, engaging educational activities for kids and is a great way to prepare for the visit. While in Little Tokyo, be sure to stop for a bowl of noodles or pick up some mochi at one of the local bakeries.

5. Circus Vargas – Friday

End the week with a splurge at Circus Vargas. Kids who arrive early can get a backstage glimpse of the center ring where they will learn to juggle, hula hoop, and balance a feather. If they come home wanting to fly under the big top, be sure to check out Mommy Poppins’ list of circus classes in and around Los Angeles.

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