5 things to do this weekend — animal style

The two chicks were born to first-time parents Floyd and Roxy, residents of the Aquarium of the Pacific's June Keyes Penguin Habitat
The two chicks were born to first-time parents Floyd and Roxy, residents of the Aquarium of the Pacific's June Keyes Penguin Habitat
Aquarium of the Pacific

Baby penguins, cuddly cats, marine mammals — the L.A. area is home to wildlife of all kinds, and with that comes opportunities for activities with creatures that can make your heart melt. We offer a few possibilities for a weekend made richer by animal pals.

Here's everything you need to know: 

1. Get an eyeful of adorable at the Cute Animal Film Festival

Never underestimate what a video of a panda sneeze or a puppy frolick can do to restore your spirits. And who wouldn't be down for a film that features an avalanche of kitties, puppies, ponies and bunnies? CineFamily's Cute Animal Film Festival will explore the realm of cuddly: cats vs. dogs, birds vs. cats, goats vs. goats, sloths vs. baby hedgehogs. You be the judge Saturday at this event that's sure to make your jaw ache with "awwws."

Pro tip: Become a member and see unlimited films. 

When: 11 a.m. Saturday 

Where: Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater | MAP

Price: $10 and up | Purchase tickets here

2. Whale watching at Newport  

Our Facebook friend Candidly Lizzy suggests whale-watching on the weekends. Newport Landing hosts daily boat trips departing from the beach. Expect to see blue whales, finback whales, huge pods of dolphin, seals, killer whales and sharks during summer months. Here's a tally of whales seen so far this year and a preview reel of dolphins frolicking:

Pro tip: Read this and be careful! 

Where: Newport Beach | MAP

When: 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday and SundayClick here for departure times

Price: $30 and up | Click here for prices 

3. Horse riding in Hollywood 

Take a guided horse-back riding tour through the hills of Griffith Park. While exploring the winding trails, you can catch views of the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory and downtown Los Angeles. All levels of riders are welcome.  

Even the out-of-towners love Sunset Ranch: 

Pro tip: Go at sunset and ask a tour guide to snap a magnificent photo of you and your friends. 

When: Make a reservation here, or just show up. 

Where: Sunset Ranch Hollywood  | MAP

Price: $40 for one hour 

4. Visit the Orange County Tortoise and Turtle show 

Get up early and head out to Orange County for a family-friendly exhibit filled with turtles and tortoises from around the world. Pose for pictures with the one of the world's largest tortoises and learn about adopting your own reptile. More info here

Pro tip: Make a day of it and plan a hike or picnic at the nearby Powder Canyon. But be sure to check our traffic report before you go. 

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: La Habra Community Center | MAP

Price: Free for 12-years-old and under; $3 for adults; $2 for seniors

5. Make it a late night with the sea creatures 

Sea lions, sea otters and seals — see them all at the Aquarium of the Pacific Sunday during its discounted late night hours. Watch the nighttime activities, touch a shark, and enjoy its architecture. (The entire aquarium will be open, except Lorikeet Forest.)

Watch this video teaser for an idea of what you'll see (note: smooth jazz not included in all visits): 

Pro tip: Don't forget to say hi to Toby and the baby penguins

When: 5 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday 

Where: Aquarium of the Pacific | MAP

Price: $14.95

What's your favorite way to spend a weekend in L.A.? Share with us in comments?