Animal House 

The American Pet Expo -- not so fur away

9/19-9/21

Is your kitty cranky? Does your dog have fleas? Has your once-docile parrot become paranoid, muttering under his beak about the mailman and his evil genius? You are not alone, or perhaps you've been alone too long. Good news: Help is on the way. The American Pet Expo is coming this weekend to the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, and experts will be on hand to teach you -- and your pet -- a few new tricks. Claiming to be the world's largest pet and pet products expo, American is bringing more than a thousand performing animals to the nonprofit event, its first in the Bay Area. Expect shows, demonstrations, competitions, a petting zoo, and an animal adoption fair, enough to keep the clan busy all day. Shoppers can browse the booths for cutting-edge pet products and helpful hints that could have your hamster's coat shining like the first time you met. Witness celebrity animals doing awesome tricks -- the Friskies cats, or the Pigtasia Performing Pigs. Air Bud, the Kobe Bryant of canines, will even make an appearance to demonstrate his moves in basketball, soccer, and football. To get a leg up on the action, visit PetExpoAlameda.com or phone 800-999-7295 to win free tickets. General admission is $9, discounted for mature and younger animal lovers. Hours: Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sorry, no pets allowed. -- Justine Nicole

SAT 9/20

Gamey

Get on board

Hey, Parker Brothers! We've got a slogan for ya: "Putting the 'bored' into 'board games' for, like, a gajillion years." Now, Days of Wonder, on the other hand ... that's a mover. The Bay Area-based company won a Brett & Board Game of the Year Award for its elaborate murder mystery game, Mystery of the Abbey. Dr. Comics and Mr. Games (4014 Piedmont Ave., Oakland) invites you to try your hand at this, Fist of Dragonstones, Queen's Necklace, and other games in Days of Wonder's stable at its Game Festival . The event starts at noon and goes till 5 p.m. For more info, call 510-601-7800. -- Stefanie Kalem

9/20-9/21

Creature Cameos

Dateline, Lake Merritt: In a rare confluence of competing East Bay attractions, both the Oakland Zoo and the Sulfur Creek Nature Center will make cameo appearances at Children's Fairyland during Animal Adventure Weekend . On Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., the Oakland Zoomobile will show off its reptilian inhabitants for the cootie-shot-inoculated to touch and observe. Then, on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., Hayward's Sulfur Creek Nature Center gets mobile, bringing a crew of creatures -- of both the furry and slimy variety -- for kids to play with and learn about. Regular admission to the park costs $6 and includes all other weekend activities, such as puppet performances, children's theater, rides, and arts and crafts. Info: 510-452-2259. -- Stefanie Kalem

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