Amazing Family Sleepovers in the Bay Area and Beyond

February 20, 2017

Monterey Bay Aquarium Overnight
Photo courtesy Monterey Bay Aquarium

If you're looking for a fun and unique overnight experience for the family, try camping out at a museum, aquarium zoo, or wildlife center! Popular family destinations in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California like the California Academy of Sciences, the Marine Mammal Center, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the San Francisco Zoo, the USS Hornet Museum, and Safari West all offer exciting programs where families can spend the night. It's be kind of like the movie Night at the Museum, except that the dinosaurs and dioramas won't come alive after hours (we hope)!

Needless to say, all of these events require advance reservations and have limited space, so register for your awesome overnight adventure soon! Many of these venues also offer overnight programs for scouts, schools, and other youth groups. All information is correct at time of posting; check each location’s website for complete information, pricing updates, and a schedule of events.

Four Easy Waterfall Hikes for Families in Marin

February 20, 2017

Fairway waterfall Novato

One of the things I love most about winter in Marin is being able to hike to a beautiful waterfall, and when it rains families have many to choose from. The waterfalls in our list here all involve hikes of varying length, and all are perfect destinations for a family outdoor outing. There's something for hikers of every ability here.

All of these waterfalls are at their most spectacular after the big rainstorms we've been having this winter. This also means the trails will be pretty muddy, so make sure you put on the rain boots and dress the kiddos in something that you don't mind getting dirty. Here are four of our favorite Marin waterfall hikes, in order of difficulty (although all of them are family friendly). All but one of these hikes (Cataract Falls on Mt. Tamalpais) are on lands administered by Marin County Parks; visit their website for more info and to download printable trail maps for each preserve.

Baked Spinach and Cheese Manicotti

February 20, 2017

spinach and cheese manicottiThis recipe for baked manicotti is an old favorite of mine, and something that my kids love to both help make and eat, too. Tubes of pasta are filled with a mixture of ricotta cheese and chopped spinach, then covered in tomato sauce, and topped with a rich béchamel sauce and parmesan cheese. It's hearty and delicious at any time of year, and the kids don't even notice that the manicotti filling includes spinach (something good for them!).

The kids like to help stuffing the manicotti tubes, so get them into the kitchen to lend a hand making dinner. If you're in a hurry, use a good quality jarred sauce and it will come together quickly. We like to make our own, and usually have a container of it in the freezer for recipes like this. (I've included my basic tomato sauce recipe below, too.)

Ingredients

Strike! Family Bowling Fun and Birthday Parties in and Around Marin

February 19, 2017

Bowling

Remember those fun times you had bowling when you were a kid? Guess what—it hasn't changed all that much, although it seems that there are fewer spots where you can bowl these days. Actually, it's even more fun for the little ones now with the advent of bumper bowling and ball ramps. Also, you have to love a sport where you can get an order of chili cheese fries while you're playing. It's a great active rainy day activity, too.

There are still a few fantastic family friendly bowling alleys in Marin and the Bay Area, so go rent some shoes, pick out your ball (that red one looks pretty cool!) and bowl a few games with the kiddos. Most of these bowling alleys also offer birthday parties for kids, as well. You remember how fun those were, right?

Country Club Bowl

88 Vivian Street, San Rafael 94901
(415) 456-4661
bowlmarin.com

Located in San Rafael, Marin's only bowling alley offers 40 lanes, automatic scoring, and plenty of bumper lanes for the little ones. On-site food is provided by Villa York Pizza and Grill, and they even have 24 beers on tap. In case that's enough, they have pool tables and an arcade, too. Several different birthday party packages are available; call (415) 456-4661 to book your lanes. Check their website for hours and pricing.

Marin Family Weekend Fun for February 17-20

February 17, 2017

Golden Gate view from Marin Headlands

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Looking for fun family activities during mid-winter break? Check out our list here.

Friday, February 17

  • Breakfast with Enzo
    Sports Basement, San Francisco Presidio
    Friday, 10 & 11 am

    Enzo Garcia plays guitar, banjo, accordion, musical saw, Jew's harp, enzotar, appalachian dulcimer, slide flute, percussion and more. Recommended for children 7 and under. Drop in any time. Cost: $7 per person; siblings under 7 months free. For more info, call (415) 652-2474 or visit his website.
  • French Storytime (L'Heure du Conte)
    San Anselmo Library
    Friday, 11–11:30 am

    For children of all ages and their parent or caregiver. Talk, sing, read, and play together. Share books, stories, rhymes, music in French. No registration required. Parents/caregivers are expected to stay with children during all storytime sessions. Free. Location: 110 Tunstead Avenue, Council Chambers, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Fun Days
    South Novato Library
    Friday, 3–4 pm

    Enjoy an afternoon of fun with the family at the South Novato Library. Whether it’s story, art, music or science, this drop-in program promises to be packed with fun! Location: 931 C St., Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Campfire Program
    Sonoma State Historic Park
    Friday, 5–6 pm

    Bring the family for a talk with a park interpretive specialist, songs, stories and a marshmallow roast. Fun for all ages. Free. Heavy rain cancels. Location: Barracks Courtyard, Sonoma State Historic Park. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, February 18

  • Kid-O-Rama
    Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows, Lake Tahoe
    Saturday–Monday, all day
    Kid-O-Rama offers non-stop fun for kids of all ages, including the Big Truck Event—featuring fire trucks, snowplows, and grooming machines—as well as street parties and kids’ concerts, an all-kid game and craft room, crazy helmet day, and more. Kid-O-Rama continues through Saturday, February 25. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy the best local and organic produce, flowers, pastured meats, seafood, organic cheeses, yogurt and milk, breads, baked goods, pasta, confections, olive oil, and brunch and lunch offerings! Kids can take a pony ride and visit the petting zoo (10 am–2 pm), try out some arts and crafts (9 am–2 pm) and listen to music (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Saturday Morning Zumba
    Mill Valley Community Center
    Saturday, 9–10 am

    We take the "work" out of workout, by mixing low-intensity and high-intensity moves for an interval-style, calorie-burning dance fitness party on the lawn. Once the Latin and World rhythms take over, you'll see why Zumba Fitness classes are often called exercise in disguise. Check in at the Aquatics & Fitness Center front desk when coming for class. Location: Community Center on the lawn triangle behind the Center at 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • NVCM Classical Kids: Just So Stories
    Noe Valley Ministry, San Francisco
    Saturday, 9:30 & 11 am

    NVCM’s Classical Kids presents the Trinity Alps Chamber Players at Noe Valley Ministry performing Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, set to music by composer Danny Clay. Two 45-minute shows repeat at 9:30 and 11 am. Doors open at 9 am. Suitable for all ages. Tickets: $15 per person; $40 for family pass for up to 4 people. Location: 1021 Sanchez Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.

Healthy Carrot-Walnut Cookies

February 16, 2017

Carrot Walnut Cookies

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored recipe from Whole Foods Market.

These moist, flavorful, not-too-sweet cookies are excellent for snacks, breakfast or dessert. Full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, your kids probably won't even realize they're snacking on something that's good for them!

Makes about 2 dozen

Ingredients

Tender Tracks Outdoor Nature Awareness Preschool

February 16, 2017

Tender Tracks Outdoor PreschoolMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Tender Tracks Outdoor Nature Awareness Preschool. Find out more about this unique program at their informational nights on Saturday, February 25 and March 11 from 6:30 to 8 pm.

The unique Tender Tracks Forest outdoor preschool program honors and respects the inherent need for young children to have ample time with nature, in order to develop a healthy bond and relationship to the natural world and all who dwell therein. Through stories, songs and explorations, children go on playful adventures into the heart of nature.

One of the strong components of Tender Tracks is it’s focus on loving presence with the children.  The staff take the time that is needed to tend to the emotional, social, physical, mental and spiritual needs of each individual child and the group as they playfully receive the  support, guidance and wisdom from Earth and Sky.

10 Fun Family Activities for Mid-Winter Break

February 14, 2017

Snow play for mid-winter break

Whether you're getting in the car and heading up to Lake Tahoe for skiing or snow play or just hanging around the house for "Ski Week", you'll find plenty of fun things to do with the kids during their time off this month! Here's our list of 10 fun family activities and outings in Marin and beyond for mid-winter break.

On Your Marks, Get Set, GO! "The Hare and the Tortoise" Comes to Marin Theatre Company

February 14, 2017

Hare & TortoisePhoto: Jeff Berlin/Marin Theatre Company

On your marks, get set, GO! As part of it ongoing Family Series, Marin Theatre Company brings the spirit of sportsmanship, friendship, and living in the moment to its magical production of Brendan Murray’s Hare & Tortoise. The third production in MTC's Family Series, Hare & Tortoise features slow and steady Tortoise versus speedy and impatient Hare, who race to understand that determination and will for success truly matter in life.

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