July 10: Several times a week, girls and women with flouncy skirts drift into Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church on the West Side to practice traditional Mexican folk dances with Los Alegres Bailadores. The dance school has worked to preserve Mexican culture through dance for the past 30 years under the direction of Rebecca Moran Cusick. Dancers will perform Tuesday in an educational program as part of the summer family series at Caponi Art Park, 10-11 a.m.; 1220 Diffley Road, Eagan; $4 suggested donation; 651-454-9412.
Knights and Princesses
July 12: If your child's imagination has been captured by all things medieval, don't miss the Knights and Princesses Party at the St. Paul Public Library. Patrons age 4 and older are encouraged to wear costumes to the bash, where they will learn about medieval life through games, stories, crafts and science. You're also invited to bring in your own homemade model of a castle. 2-3:30 p.m.; Central Library, 90 W. Fourth St., St. Paul; free; 651-266-7034.
Bell Museum exhibits
Through Sept. 2: Be wowed by a 400-pound clam and killer pinecones. These are just a few of the unusual items culled from the more than 4 million specimens in the collection of the Bell Museum of Natural History for the display "Natural Curiosity." A second exhibit opening June 2, "Flutter," includes real butterflies and moths, photos, miniature dioramas and artwork showcasing the insects' delicate beauty, life cycle and interdependence with flowering plants. You can also build your own Lepidoptera models. Bell Museum of Natural History, 10 Church St. S.E., Mpls.; $6-$3, free under 3; 612-624-7083.
Sparky the Sea Lion Show
Through Sept. 3: Sparky the Sea Lion makes her seasonal debut. In honor of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she'll compete daily in the Zoolympics against sharks, puffins and jellyfish in such events as the "smile competition" and "breach jump." The original Sparky show started in 1956 and has been going strong ever since, with a succession of sea lion stars. The current Sparky is Sealia (CeCe) the Sea Lion, which has been doing the show since 2002. Through Sept. 3; 11:30 a.m. weekdays; 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekends and holidays; Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, 1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul; free; 651-487-8200.
"Real Pirates" exhibit
Through Sept. 3: "Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah, From Slave Ship to Pirate Ship" tells the story of two treasure seekers separated by nearly three centuries. The first is pirate captain Samuel Bellamy, who seized a slave ship called the Whydah and plundered the Caribbean before sinking off Cape Cod in 1717. (The crew is portrayed by 17 local actors.) The second is Barry Clifford, the underwater explorer who discovered the wreck in 1984. The multimedia exhibit explores the history of 18th-century piracy and the science of underwater recovery expeditions. The exhibit, under the auspices of National Geographic, includes 200 artifacts, including the ship's bell, clothing, cannon and, of course, treasure. Science Museum of Minnesota, 120 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; $25 adults, $22 seniors and children, plus $3 fee for online and phone orders (Omnitheater, additional $6); 651-221-9444.
-- Compiled by Maja Beckstrom