His name was Mr. Owl, and he made kids all over this TV nation crave Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pops like no owl ever had before. He was f**king brilliant -- definitely smarter than the rabbit who never was able to eat any Trix and much more dignified than that loopy Toucan Sam. Why? Because he wore glasses.Although the owls housed inside the Prairie Park Nature Center (2730 Harper Street in Lawrence) do not wear glasses, they have their own source of wisdom: pain. Injuries have left them unreleasable, but the owls are very well looked after by staff members, who know all about the species. Hey, kids: If you're lucky, your parents will be convinced that going outside and making owl calls in hopes of getting resident owls to respond is a good use of a Saturday afternoon. For information on Prairie Park programs, call 785-832-7980.-- Gina Kaufmann
Christmas blows up at Longview Lake.
If you really want to work your bah-humbug in this holiday season, take the kids to the Christmas in the Sky holiday fireworks celebration and tell them that Santa has gone mad and there is no choice but to shoot him and his reindeer out of the sky. Then, right when the tears start welling up, yell over the explosions, "Psych! Santa doesn't even exist!"Or not. Either way, the sky over Longview Lake Beach (2 miles south of Interstate 470 on Raytown Road) is going to get lit up with some off-season pyrotechnics. The free celebration begins at 6 p.m. with a stage show and ends at 8 p.m. with the opening of Christmas in the Park, a winding winter wonderland of 12,000 lights and 175 animated displays. The real treat starts at 7:30, when airborne detonations and loud booms are synchronized with holiday music. For details, call 816-881-1224.-- Michael Vennard
Hey, Mister Harmonica Man
When we were kids, libraries were quiet places. But Fred Young, who calls himself the Harmonica Man, is bringing all kinds of noise to the Buckner branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library (19 East Jefferson in Buckner) at 2 p.m. Saturday. Hey, kids, do us a favor and request Bob Dylan's "Visions of Johanna." Not necessarily an all-ages song, but even wee tots can relate to how it's just like the night to play tricks when you're trying to be so quiet; they see monsters in their closets, for chrissakes. For information or registration, call 816-650-3212.-- Kaufmann