City kids are more likely to encounter chickens wrapped in plastic at the grocery store meat counter than live and unwrapped, pecking and scratching in a barn. Get to know the real article at the "Year of the Rooster" celebration, a minifestival at the Children's Zoo Family Farm, at which visitors can meet 10 different breeds of chickens, help feed the strutting cockerels, make poultry-themed crafts, and watch zoo staff gather eggs. Make like the farmer in the dell at 11 a.m. at the San Francisco Zoo, 1 Zoo (at Skyline), S.F. Admission is free-$10; call 753-7080 or visit www.sfzoo.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
The Hunter's Point
Gear up at the Sportsmen's Expo
"Sportsmen" is an awfully generous term for people who shoot ducks and deer. But at least nobody's using dynamite. Instead, such trackers give the hunted critters a sporting chance, which means dozing in tree stands and trawling for fish with lines. Certain fishermen even release their catches, which seems downright gentlemanly, considering the alternative. Just ask the folks at the 29th annual International Sportsmen's Exposition, where, in addition to retail booths, sporting hounds, and guns, you'll find hunting and fishing seminars, a catch-and-release pond for kids, and a tank of live bass for angling pros. Don't miss the new Splash Dog Contest, in which the animals race down a dock and launch themselves 20 feet into a pool. The sportsmen encourage all mutts to participate -- except, quote, "bitches in heat." The fun starts at noon on Thursday at the San Mateo County Expo Center, 2495 S. Delaware (at E. 25th Avenue), San Mateo. Admission is free-$12; call (650) 574-3247 or visit www.sportsexpos.com.
-- Michael Laverton
The word "crab" has all kinds of meanings. For some people, it conjures up images of Mom and Dad in their pre-coffee morning moments. But for restaurants, fisher folk, and nonvegetarian gourmands -- especially this month -- "crab" means Dungeness. With its delicate flavor and emblematic red shell, the local breed in abundance is cause for celebration. The San Francisco Crab Festival involves a host of foodie events like the North Beach Crab Crawl (an eat-a-thon at neighborhood restaurants), crab-themed tours of Fisherman's Wharf, and wacky stuff like Celebrity Crab Cracking at Union Square. But for most eaters, the stars of the fest remain the cakes, chowders, risottos, and plain old steamed crustaceans with plenty of butter and good sourdough bread. The Crab Festival continues through the end of February at various San Francisco locations, and admission varies; call 391-2000 or visit www.sfvisitor.org/crab.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser