Sure, Artown is largely an adult-oriented event, with nighttime entertainment and plenty of booze to go around. But this year, there are more activities than ever intended for kids and families. Depending on your child’s interests, there’s something to suit any age. Best part? Most of the events are free.


TheatreWorks of Northern Nevada presents Curiosity Cat, a play by award-winning writer Chris Grabenstein. The play addresses homelessness, family illness and other difficult themes with a bit of humor to make it approachable for kids. Wingfield Park. July 2, 7-8 p.m. Free

The Lake Mansion will teach acting, creative movement and music to kids of all ages. Call to 322-1538 to reserve a spot. July 3, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Free.

If anything will help kids exert some energy, it’s banging on drums for an hour. Djembe drummer Dominique from Anouaze Beat will instruct kids ages 7-12 on basic African beats and playing in a drum circle. Instruments are provided, but families are invited to bring their own. July 6, 13, 20 and 27, 5:30-6:30 p.m. $25 for four sessions, or $8 to drop in. Call 747-2222 to RSVP.

James Thurber’s play The Thirteen Clocks is an adventure story with quirky characters. Parents and kids will both enjoy this lighthearted performance hosted by the Reno Little Theater at the Laxalt Auditorium, 401 West Second St. The show will have four performances on July 7, 8, 14 and 15, from 2-3 p.m. And it’s free.

It’s OK, parents—we know you still enjoy a good ghost story, even if you know they get harder to believe the older you get. Tag along with your kid to watch a free performance of The Great Gray Ghost of Old Spook Lane presented by the Nevada Opera. July 13, 7:30-8:30 p.m. Sarah Winnemucca Elementary School.

Watching Young Chautauquans may spark a love of history in your child. Young Chautauquan’s will present themselves as historical figures, and will answer questions from the crowd as their character. July 23, 9:30-11:30 a.m. McKinley Arts and Culture Center. Free.

Arts and crafts

Who says toys have to cost money? Kids ages 8 and up can make their own shadow puppets at a workshop hosted by Grassroots Books on July 7. Grassroots will provide all the materials. Reservations are required, so call 828-6225.

Artist Kathleen Durham will teach kids how to make tiny illustrated books with her Fred Mouse and Professor characters. Durham is a member of Wild Women Artists and makes small figurines which she refers to as “the Undersinkers” who live in “Underwood.” This is a free event at the McKinley Arts and Culture Center. July 2, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Grassroots Books will give kids ages 8 and up a chance to make their own decoupage boxes. Materials will be provided, and it’s all free. Can’t beat a free project and getting the kids out of the house for an hour and a half. Reserve a spot by calling 828-2665.

handsON!, hosted by the Nevada Museum of Art, happens on the second Sunday of each month. On July 14, the theme is “Pottery and Patterns—pinch, pull, play!” Kids will learn about pottery to make their own creations. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free.

Outside festivities

The whole gang will enjoy the Artown Family Festival each Monday night throughout July. Facepainting, entertainment and other activities for kids will be available. Plus, it’s free—good news for families living on a budget. Wingfield Park. July 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, 5-7 p.m.

Erth’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo is not your average animal meet-and-greet. Kids will get to see models of dinosaurs up close, and will learn practical lessons about animal husbandry. July 9, 7-8 p.m. Wingfield Park. Free.

To view all of Artown’s family events, visit

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