A prehistoric celebration hits the Nature & Science Center.

The 29th Science Fiction Marathon Case Western Reserve University's Strosacker Auditorium, 10900 Euclid Avenue 8 p.m. Friday, January 16. $25; call 216-368-2463
Loads of prehistoric hysteria in store at Dino Stomp.
Loads of prehistoric hysteria in store at Dino Stomp.
FRI 1/16

At Friday's Dino Stomp, kids get to dress as their favorite prehistoric creatures, make lots of noise, and basically raise hell for a few hours. "Seeing the children's thirst for dinosaur knowledge is half the fun," says Brenda Verherst, the program's conductor. "Kids come in their favorite dinosaur costumes, PJs, and T-shirts, quick to explain what kind of dino they are and what the dinosaur eats."

These little dinosaurs will nosh on pizza, chips, salad, and cookies before exploring the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's planetarium, where the film If the Dinosaurs Came Back will screen. Then they'll assemble their own Jurassic relic out of heads, torsos, and legs in the craft area.

In another room, giant sandboxes crammed with treat-filled dino eggs await. "My favorites are the kids that really want to be archaeologists when they grow up," Verherst says. "They lay out their tools, then meticulously dig through the sand, searching for an egg. When they finally come across one, they carefully brush the sand away . . . before finally lifting it out." Dino Stomp happens from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, 28728 Wolf Road in Bay Village. Admission is $10, $5 for kids. Call 440-871-2900 for more info. . -- Lucy McKernan

The Rat Pack
Rodents get their day at the Metroparks.

SUN 1/18

"Rats make better pets than hamsters," states naturalist Jeff Reibe, leader of Rodent Roundup. "They're more intelligent. I used to work at a pet store, and people would always go to the hamsters, because they were cute." Sunday's relatively uncute program culminates in a one-mile hike in search of living, breathing rodents, though most of the festivities take place indoors with pelts and skulls. Expect plenty of info on beavers, Reibe says, and hopefully a beaver sighting on the trek. "They're nocturnal, but more active in the winter." Squirrel fans should also go home happy -- but don't count on any muskrat love. "It's hard to say why we haven't seen many lately," Reibe says. Rodent Roundup rallies from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at North Chagrin Nature Center (off the Sunset Lane entrance at North Chagrin Reservation in Mayfield Village). Admission is free; call 440-473-3370. . -- Lucy McKernan

Tom Swift
A Twain classic gets condensed into a power hour.

SAT 1/17

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is playwright Ken Ludwig's abbreviated account of Mark Twain's classic tale of a 14-year-old boy growing up on the banks of the rolling Mississippi River. During the course of an hour, Tom matches wits with his stern Aunt Polly, has the hots for the new girl in town, and runs away to an island to become a pirate. "It is really a beautifully produced piece, because the score and book are really strong," says Colleen Porter, education director at Playhouse Square. Tom Sawyer plays at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday at the Allen Theatre, 1407 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $12, available by calling 216-241-6000. . -- Cris Glaser

Chill Out

SAT 1/17

And you thought Snow Fun was limited to building snowmen, snowball fights, and jabbing pals in the chest with really sharp icicles. Saturday's program shows just how narrow your idea of fun is: There'll be snow ice cream and snow spray-painting, plus the snowmen and snowballs. It happens from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, 28728 Wolf Road in Bay Village. Admission is free. Call 440-871-2900 for more information. -- Michael Gallucci

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