It's hard to believe that summer is coming to a close and that a new school year is upon us. Fortunately, there are some wonderful family-friendly events in our area this week to help make that back-to-school transition a little easier:
• TWILIGHT TOTS
See Beowulf T. Wonderbunny and the "Traveling Show of Mystery," complete with magic and juggling. In case of inclement weather, concerts may be moved indoors to the RIO center atrium; check the Washingtonian Center Facebook page for updated information.
Where: Lakefront Plaza, Washingtonian Center, Gaithersburg
When: 6 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, Aug. 31
• KID'S CLUB
Parents, drop off your older kids — ages 6 through teens — for an evening spent painting pottery, complete with pizza, a drink and a snack. For more information, call 240-207-3641.
Where: FireWorks Art Cafe, 26218 Ridge Road, Damascus
When: 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2
Price: $5 plus the cost of pottery
• MONARCH FIESTA DAY
Everyone is invited to celebrate Monarch butterflies with family story time on the visitor center lawn. Learn to use an insect net, play games that explore the life cycle of these amazing insects and more. Children ages 4 and older, with a caregiver, are invited to make caterpillar crafts and stamp art. The event will take place rain or shine.
Where: Black Hill Regional Park, 20926 Lake Ridge Drive in Boyds.
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3
• SPLASH PLAYGROUND & MINI GOLF
This weekend marks the end of splash season. It's your last chance to run through the water maze, get drenched by the bucket drop or sit on the spraying animals. You can also enjoy 18 holes of miniature golf. The splash park remains open during rainy days, but closes for thunderstorms. Call 301-670-4680 for more information.
Where: South Germantown Recreational Park, 18056 Central Park Circle, Boyds
When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, through Monday, Sept. 5
Price: $5 per person per activity or $7.50 for a splash and golf combo (one round of golf, all day at the splash playground). Kids younger than 2 are admitted for free.
• CHARLOTTE'S WEB
Everyone's favorite spider is back for this musical adventure on Zuckerman's farm. Come and see how Charlotte saves Wilbur the pig in this program for ages 3 and older. The show runs about one hour. Purchase your tickets online, call the box office at 301-634-2270, or pick up your tickets in person at the box office. The 11 a.m. shows tend to sell out the fastest.
Where: Adventure Theatre, 7300 MacArthur Blvd. in Glen Echo Park
When: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3 through Monday, Sept. 5.
Price: $17 per person; children ages 1 and older require a ticket. There is a service fee of $2 per ticket if you order online or by phone.
• CHILDREN'S STORY TIME
Listen to readings of popular children's stories at the stage in the children's section.
Where: Barnes & Noble at the Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg
When: 11 a.m. Saturdays and Wednesdays
• 73RD ANNUAL GAITHERSBURG LABOR DAY PARADE
High school marching bands, fire engines, horses, clowns and more will wind their way through Olde Towne Gaithersburg to celebrate Labor Day. Park for free at the city garage on the corner of Olde Towne and South Summit Avenues. For more information, call 301-258-6350 or visit the City of Gaithersburg's parade website.
Where: East Diamond and Russell Avenues in Old Towne Gaithersburg. The parade starts in the 400 block of East Diamond.
When: 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 5
• STEPPING STONES STORY TIME
This is the first story time of the new school year! Newborns through age 5 can enjoy stories, songs and activities. Kids age 2 and younger must attend with a caregiver. Siblings are welcome and no registration is necessary.
Where: Damascus Public Library
When: 10:30 Tuesday, Sept. 6