Sure, the school year is looming and you're up to your ears in shopping lists, but hopefully you can relax over Labor Day weekend and squeeze out the last bits of summer. With concerts, festivals, performances and crafts galore in and around Boston, there's something for everyone to help you finish the season with a bang. We've rounded up some of them for you.
Zoo New England exhibits, Franklin Park and Stone Zoos, through Labor Day, Sept. 2. This is your last chance to see a number of limited-time exhibits at both zoos, including the Butterfly Landing at Franklin Park Zoo and the koalas at the Stone Zoo. Franklin Park Zoo, One Franklin Park Rd., Boston. Adults, $17; seniors, $14; ages 2-12, $11; under 2, free. Stone Zoo, 149 Pond St., Stoneham. Adults, $14; seniors, $12; ages 2-12, $10; under 2, free. Both zoos are open Mon. - Fri., 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; weekends, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. www.zoonewengland.org
Toe Jam Puppet Band, Georges Island, Boston. Fri., Aug. 30, 11:45 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. Free. Through music, song, and puppetry children will learn about about creatures you'll find in your yard, garden, and sometimes in your house. All ages, but designed especially for kids. www.bostonharborislands.org
Back-to-school crafts, Barefoot Books, 89 Thoreau St., Concord. Sat. 31. Go back to school in style with two DIY crafts! On Sat., Aug. 31, from 2-3 p.m., kids can paint their own pencil holder ($14 each). From 3:30 - 4 p.m., kids can make their own backpacks ($5 each). Ages 3+. Drop in, but limited to 10 children. www.barefootbooks.com
29th Annual Gloucester Schooner Festival, Stacy Boulevard, Gloucester. Sat., Aug. 31, starting at 10 a.m. - Sun., Sept. 1, starting at 10:30 a.m. Free. The weekend festival highlights include Maritime Gloucester’s annual Heritage Day, the Parade of Lights and fireworks on Saturday, followed by the Parade of Sail and the Mayor’s Race for the Esperanto Cup on Sunday. www.gloucesterschoonerfestival.net
Boston Arts Festival, Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, 105 Atlantic Ave., Boston. Sat., Aug. 31 - Sun., Sept. 1, noon - 8 p.m. Free. The festival features over 60 juried artists from Boston and a performance program on two stages showcasing Boston’s best performing arts groups and performers. Previous participants in the festival include Boston Ballet, Blue Man Group, Everyday Visuals, Zili Misik, Opera Boston, Aine Minogue, OrigiNation, Boston Pops, Bleu and Boston Lyric Opera. There will also be a fireworks display, provided by Boston Harbor Cruises, on Saturday at 9 p.m. www.cityofboston.gov/arts/arts_festival.asp
"Total This & That Circus," Cambridge Common, intersection of Mass. Ave. and Waterhouse St., Cambridge. Sun., Sept. 1, 3 p.m. All ages. Free. Award-winning Bread & Puppet Theater presents their "Total This & That Circus." From underprivileged corporate dwarves to an animal rental facility which offers disenchanted customers instant transformation into frog or deer, cricket or rat, politics will be turned around and upside down in this resurrection of traditional theatrical political rabble rousing. Come down and witness this circus mayhem and please note that if some of the acts are politically puzzling to adults, accompanying children will explain. www.breadandpuppet.org
29th Annual Bread and Roses Festival, 200 Common St., Lawrence. Mon., Sept 2, noon - 6 p.m. All ages. Free. A celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, this festival always takes place on Labor Day in honor of the most significant event in Lawrence history: the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. Music and dance, poetry and drama, ethnic food, walking and trolley tours, and a section for history and labor organizations, as well as a speakers tent, all on Lawrence's Campagnone Common. Activities for kids include pony rides, jugglers, hula hoops, face painting and more. www.breadandrosesheritage.org
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Kristi Palma, Boston.com Moms producer, is the mom of a first grader and a preschooler. She is a writer who enjoys cooking her grandmother's Italian recipes (when her son isn't launching paper airplanes into them). Follow her on Twitter @kristipalma.