Here comes that sense of dread in the pit of your thick-with-Chuck E. Cheese belly. You've just sat through Ice Princess, and one more episode of Where in the World Is Carmen San Diego? will make you snap. What the hell are you going to do with your kid!? Not to worry. Howard E. Butt is here with a soothing spoonful of Pepto with this weekend's H-E-B Children's Festival, which takes place at City Hall and Tranquility and Sam Houston parks. In it you'll find several sprawling, corporate-backed "family adventure zones," like the Baker-Hughes-sponsored Circus Town, Target's "Ready. Sit. Read!" and a Family Fitness Zone sponsored by the king of fitness mountain, McDonald's. For some real excitement, kids can watch folks hack it at the National Lumberjack Championships.
And if you aren't completely sick of SpongeBob and those square pants of his, mosey on over to the Time Warner Family Zone, where he'll be chillin' with Dora the Explorer. (That's SpongeBob's boo, yo!) 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 2 and 3. Activities start at City Hall, 900 Bagby. For information, call 713-522-9723 or visit www.houstonchildrensfestival.com. Free for children three and younger; $5 to $7 for adults. - Brian McManus
Tri It Out
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Somehow, that all-Cheetos diet just isn't getting you in beach-body shape. You're gonna have to exercise. But if the idea of sweating in a gym makes you reach for the chips, try a triathlon. At this weekend's My First Triathlon, you can swim a quarter-mile, bike 12 miles (stay with us -- that's not even a full spinning class) and walk or run three miles. Since the event benefits Cherish Our Children International, organizers are being charitable and allowing slackers to complete any two of the events. Show up with your swim gear, some sensible shoes and your checkbook, as donations to Cherish Our Children are strongly encouraged. Be whatever you can be at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 2. Moody Gardens, One Hope Boulevard Galveston. For information and registration, call 713-627-9449 or visit www.myfirsttri.com. $69 for race registration. - Steven Devadanam