Casa Del Prado Theatre
Balboa Park’s Casa Del Prado Theatre is the site of one of three special events happening in the park this weekend. Courtesy City of San Diego

If next weekend is for the romantically inclined, this one is for family fun in San Diego. There’s  chances to get up close with whales, ’70s cars, a field of oversized games and more. It’s also the last opportunity to catch up with the Oscar-nominated fare from 2019 before the big show Sunday. Fortunately, local venues have you covered.

The San Diego Museum of Art features Art of Elan in a free pop-up concert at 7 p.m. Friday, highlighting the works of French composers Faure and Ibert.  It’s part of the Here & Now series, which continues through May.

Also at Balboa Park Friday – Why We Dance: Collage 2020 by the San Diego Civic Dance Company. The show includes original jazz, tap, hiphop, modern and contemporary works by local danders and guest artists from Los Angeles and New York. Admission for the 7:30 p.m. show at the Casa del Prado Theatre costs $10.

Shifting to a different Balboa Park venue, the San Diego Automotive Museum opens “That ’70s Car Show” Saturday. The exhibit takes a look at the Me Decade through the lens of cars, pointing to the big changes that began to take place in the industry at the time, advances that led to the types of vehicles we drive today. Admission costs $12 for adults and $6 for children. The exhibit continues through June 13.

Birch Aquarium hosts Whale Fest. Photo credit: via, Flickr Photo Contest Winner, 2011

It’s whale-watching season and Birch Aquarium will shine a light on our cetacean friends with Whale Fest, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday through Feb. 16. Families can learn more about the giants of the ocean via scavenger hunts, crafts, and on the weekend, experts from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. They also can visit the lookout from Tide Pool Plaza to try and spot migrating whales. Tickets costs $19.50 for adults and $15 for children.

The free San Diego Family Fun Fest takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, and features more than 40 outsized activities. They include bounce houses, an inflatable obstacle course, life-size tinker toys and a giant Connect 4 game. Head to the Salvation Army Joan Kroc Center in Rolando to join in.

Oscar fan? You don’t have much time left! Cinema Under the Stars and the Landmark Ken in Kensington have some screenings for you. See Joker, a favorite due to Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in the title role, at the Mission Hills outdoor venue at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets cost $18. The Ken, meanwhile, features the nominated shorts, both live action and animated, throughout the weekend.

Reminder: Museum Month continues as well. Enjoy specials on admission throughout the county through February.

– Staff reports