Enjoy a spring in full swing

In the Loop

By DONNA MCCROHAN ROSENTHAL

We leapt from winter to spring in about six minutes, and it seems April can’t wait to prove the point, as you’ll see in this month’s round-up for short hops to nearby destinations and longer trips in California and beyond.

Down below in L.A., see the centenary collection of Bernstein memorabilia at the Skirball Cultural Center’s “Leonard Bernstein at 100,” Thursday, April 26 – Sunday, Sept. 2 (www.skirball.org; 310-440-4500). On the USC campus near Exposition Park, the L.A. Times Festival of Books addresses bibliophiles’ unfulfilled cravings over the April 21-22 weekend with books and signings galore. Speakers and panelists include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Margaret Atwood, Michael Connelly, Bryan Cranston, Samantha Dunn, Mary Roach, Nguyen Tran and dozens of bestselling authors. While the festival is free, indoor conversations require tickets – free with a $1.00 service charge. Check schedules, review the line-up, order tickets online and/or volunteer to help promote literacy and reading, at events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks.

To the south at Knott’s Berry Farm, the sunup-to-sundown three-week Knott’s Boysenberry Festival continues through Sunday, April 8, with 75 one-of-a-kind boysenberry-inspired dishes and drinks. Tasting cards for $30 (in addition to park admission) provide samplings of eight treats such as slow-cooked boysenberry short rib and boysenberry sausage on a bun. Throughout, live entertainment fills the park (www.knotts.com/play/boysenberry-festival; 714-220-5200).

Disneyland sits close by. To get to Anaheim without driving any farther than Lancaster, catch the Metrolink to L.A. Union Station, then connect with Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner; Southern California residents qualify for limited-time savings through Monday, May 21, on both Surfliner travel and Disneyland Resort park admission. Use promo code V231 and find details at www.pacificsurfliner.com/disney or call Amtrak, 800-USA-RAIL.

Keep an eye on Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts and think about buying tickets early for Orange County’s Tuesday, May 8 - Sunday, May 27, debut of “Hamilton.” The Broadway blockbuster received a record-setting 16 Tony nominations, winning Best Musical and 10 other titles, as well as the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama (www.scfta.org; 714-556-2787).

Through Sunday, Aug. 19, in Simi Valley to the southwest, the Reagan Library displays more than 200 priceless artifacts of Genghis Khan (www.reaganlibrary.gov, 800-410-8354).

To the south in Riverside, stroll through abundant beauty of the 71st Annual Riverside Community Flower Show & Garden Tours, Saturday-Sunday April 14 and 15 (www.RiversideFlowerShow.info; 951-850-8277).

Just down the road: Friends of Jawbone present the 22nd annual Moose Anderson Day Cleanup on Saturday, April 28, with breakfast starting at 7:30 a.m., free lunch for all participants, drawing and door prize (www.jawbone.org; 760-373-1146).

In Death Valley the legendary Amargosa Opera House draws crowds for Daniel Stallings’ interactive murder musical “Exit Prima Donna” with 2 p.m. Saturday matinees April 7 and 14 (amargosa-opera-house.com; 760-852-4441 and mastermysteryproductions.com).

Planning tips: Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Park Foundation with special activities and prices (details at nationalparks.org); for the free, all-new, 196-page 2018 California Visitors Guide, order online at www.visitcalifornia.com.

Story First Published: 2018-04-06