Is your kid a Jacques Cousteau wannabe? This weekend, take her to explore the Gulf of Mexico. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is sponsoring an exploratory session that will provide a first-hand glimpse into the bustling universe of critters that inhabit the gulf's shallow surf. Kids will examine, among other animals, white ghost shrimp, which live beneath those tiny holes near the surf line and scamper out at night to wet their gills. Shore birds, it turns out, consider them to be delicacies. Mary Jean Hayden, education coordinator for Friends of the Galveston Island State Park, says kids will be surprised at the variety of teeny creatures they'll discover during the tour. Occasionally, she says, the odd brave soul has even popped a sardine into her mouth. 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, September 20. Galveston Island State Park, 14901 FM 3005. For information, call 409-737-5306. $3. Kids must have parental supervision. -- Greg Barr
Lane Smith elevates Dick-and-Jane syntax to a fine art. The optimistic irony of his stories often makes kids laugh just because their parents are doing the same. Smith revisits an old favorite in The Happy Hocky Family Moves to the Country!, which he signs on Saturday, September 20, at 11 a.m. at Barnes & Noble, 7626 Westheimer; and at 4 p.m. at Treehouse Readers, 2855 Lake Houston Parkway in Kingwood. For information, call 713-783-1220. Free. -- Keith Plocek
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Mighty Demanding Mouse
Main Street Theater's latest production stars one demanding mouse. Sound familiar? Take your little dictators to see If You Take a Mouse to School. Show opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 19, and continues at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturdays through October 11. 4617 Montrose. For information, call 713-524-6706 or visit www.mainstreettheater.com. $8 to $10. -- Lisa Simon-