A Mirror Maze: Numbers in Nature
At the center of this mathematical exhibit is a 1,700-square-foot hall of mirrors that challenges you to use geometry, tessellations, and repetitions to make your way through. Don’t know from tessellations? (Join the club.) You can learn with interactive displays explaining patterns in nature and design. But hurry, the exhibit ends this weekend! — Michael Harrington
9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Monday, Franklin Institute, 271 N. 21st St, $25; $21 ages 3 to 11, 215-448-1200, fi.edu
Ever want to ride a bee bike? Of course you did! The interactive play stations in this exhibit about the science just outside your door give kids the chance to buzz around and collect nectar, explore a pond, learn to talk like a chipmunk, and dress up like their favorite critters. — M.H.
Through Sept. 10 at the Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, $20.95; $17.95 seniors and students; $16.95 ages 12 and under, 215-299-1000, ansp.org
Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites
Step into seven beloved books in this interactive exhibit: Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Bill Martin Jr. and John Archimbault’s Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Arthur Durros and Elisa Kleven’s Abuela, Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day, David Weisner’s Tuesday, and — still our favorite — Eric Hill’s Where’s Spot? — M.H.
Through Sept. 10 at Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Fairmount Park, $19, 215-581-3181, www.pleasetouchmuseum.org
Monarch Butterfly Day
Think of a butterfly and chances are you’ll be seeing black and orange. Discover the life cycle, migration patterns (they’ll soon set off on a 2,000-mile trip to Mexico), and life history of Danaus plexippus. Make your own butterfly project, too! — M.H.
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Ave., $17; $15 seniors; $9 ages 3 to 17; under age 3 admitted free (includes gardens admission), 215-247-5777, www.morrisarboretum.org
Sarah Gavron’s timely 2015 historical drama follows a downtrodden washerwoman in 1912 England who battles abuse and oppression as part of the Women’s Social and Political Union, a group that went beyond demonstration and remonstration to direct action and sabotage. — M.H.
7 p.m. Friday at the Peace Center of Delaware County, 1001 Old Sproul Rd., Springfield, free, 610-544-1818, delcopeacecenter.org
The Seventh Art Stand
This collection of short films from and about the Middle East for young audiences includes Iranian director Maryam Abdoli’s Shirin’s Dream, about a young girl who is turned down by her teacher for a part in a school play but nevertheless persists; Shatha Alghabri’s Displacement, in which Yemeni children share their experiences of being refugees; Sahand Nikoukar’s The Magic Shoes, about a 9-year-old Iranian immigrant trying to be accepted in 1992 Los Angeles who must persuade his parents to buy him Air Jordans; Carl Matic’s I Am Aliya, in which a Syrian refugee in Europe discusses her sense of alienation; and Els van Driel’s A Year Without My Parents, a portrait of a young Syrian boy living in the Netherlands separated from his family. — M.H.
2 p.m. Saturday at International House’s Lightbox Film Center, 3701 Chestnut St., $5, 215-387-5125, ihousephilly.org.
First Friday Salsa Night at the Piazza at Schmidt’s Commons
Summer’s about to get steamy! Melt into a crowd of dancers and enthusiasts for an outdoor salsa night with live music. This event is open to everyone, from the Latin-dance-illiterate to the salsa devotee. Come at 7 p.m. to take part in a free salsa lesson a few minutes before the music starts, then stay and dance into the night. Children are welcome as well! — Thea Applebaum Licht
7 to 10 p.m. Friday, the Schmidt’s Commons, 1001 N. Second St. Free admission. theschmidtscommons.com.
“Other Desert Cities”
In Jon Robin Baitz’s politically charged 2011 drama, a family gathering in Palm Springs for Christmas Eve in 2004 is complicated by the visit of a daughter planning a memoir of her radical brother’s suicide, scandalizing her Republican parents. The cast of the Bucks County Playhouse production, finishing its run this weekend, includes a familiar face, Patricia Richardson (Home Improvement, The West Wing), as the matriarch. — M.H.
7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at Bucks County Playhouse, 70 S. Main St., New Hope, $40 to $75, 215-862-2121, http://bcptheater.org
R5 Punk Rock Pop-up Market
If the words punk rock and handmade earrings conjure up an image of a single steel safety pin, it’s only because you haven’t been to one of Philadelphia’s own Punk Rock markets. This event features artists and crafters and their hand-crafted accessories, jewelry, artwork, and more for a relaxed daytime craft show on the Delaware river. — T.A.L.
Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Spruce Street Harbor Park, 301 S. Columbus Blvd. Free admission. facebook.com/events/109677829719241/
145th Annual Volksfest
With German alcohol, bratwurst, and a chance to break out those lederhosen from the back of your closet, this is one of Philly’s finest Oktoberfest celebrations. This authentic German festival draws thousands every year to hear live music, dance, shop, and eat through the long weekend. It is also the country’s oldest German volksfest and boasts a massive traditional Fruchtsaule, or “fruit column” made of fresh produce, that towers over the event. — T.A.L.
Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. Monday, Cannstatter Volksfest Verein, 9130 Academy Rd. $6 one-day pass, $9 for two-day pass, $11 for three-day pass; free for children under 12. 215-332-0121, cannstatter.org.
In this episode of Why Aren’t They Big Stars?: The extravagantly talented Mike Deni, doing business as Geographer (using the moniker both for himself and his cello-and-synth-powered band), and purveying finely crafted chamber pop marked by distinctive polyrhythms and Deni’s throwback 1970s soul-crooner vocals. Fresh off three weeks of travel with the wonderful Betty Who, Geographer gets right to touring behind the soon-to-be-released EP Alone Time, the follow-up to 2105’s dynamite Ghost Modern — and based on the single “Read My Mind,” it sounds like another gem. — M.H.
8:30 p.m. Thursday at Boot & Saddle, 131 S. Broad St., $15, 267-639-4528, http://www.bootandsaddlephilly.com
As second acts in American lives go, Ishmael Butler’s is impressive and unexpected. In the 1990s, using the stage name Butterfly, the Seattle-born rapper fronted Grammy-winning jazz-rap pioneers Digable Planets, which also included Craig “Doodlebug” Irving, a Philadelphian. Twenty years later, Butler — now using the nom de rap Palaceer Lazaro — reemerged with Shabazz Palaces, a boundary-stretching Afro-Futurist hip-hop duo with his Seattle neighbor Tendai Maraire, the son of a Zimbabwean-born musician. The tandem just released a pair of mind expanding, satisfyingly trippy albums — Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star and Quazarz vs. the Jealous Machines — that inhabit a sci-fi head space in the tradition of Sun Ra and George Clinton and make the Digables’ innovations seem like they happened in a previous millennium, several creative lifetimes ago. — Dan DeLuca
8:30 p.m. Thursday at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. $18. 215-232-2100. utphilly.com
Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley
The youngest son of Bob Marley also happens to be — just face it — the coolest kid as, throughout his reggae-driven career, Damian has mixed it up with a “jamrock” sound touching on R&B, hip-hop, dub, sampladelica, and electronic music. Young Marley’s newest album, Stony Hill (also the name of his new ganja dispensary in Jamaica), continues along that path as it samples several of his pop’s contemporaries (Black Uhuru, Dennis Brown) with caramel-coated vocals (“R.O.A.R.”), salty-sweet raps (“Grown & Sexy”), and deeply hypnotic grooves (“Medication”) to go with the album’s genre-jumping arrangements. Never let it be said, however, that Jr. Gong can’t make the most of his lineage, as “Everybody Wants to Be Somebody,” “The Struggle Discontinues,” and the punky-reggae “Living It Up” all would make his father’s heart swell with pride. — A.D. Amorosi
8 p.m. Tuesday, Theatre of Living Arts, 334 South St., $35-$40. Ticketmaster.com
Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival
Named last year’s International Bluegrass Music Association event of the year, the Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival was founded 46 years ago by Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley. As forward-looking as it is history-minded, this year’s lineup ranges from a young New Orleans ragtime group (Tuba Skinny) to a classic western swing band (Asleep at the Wheel) to a pair of acclaimed fiddler/vocalists (April Verch, Becky Buller). The great Del McCoury, who got his start in 1963 playing with Bill Monroe and who first appeared at the festival in 1976, headlines Saturday night of the three-day event. At 78, McCoury has curtailed his touring schedule, so his appearance is both a tradition and a treat, as is the festival itself. — Steve Klinge
12:30 -11:15 p.m. Friday, noon-11:10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.– 6 p.m. Sunday at the Salem County Fairgrounds, Route 40, Woodstown, N.J. Tickets: $110 for the weekend, $55 Friday and Saturday, $45 Sunday, with discounts for seniors, students and children. 302-321-6466; delawarevalleybluegrass.org.