Great Five-and-Under Family Hikes in Marin

August 23, 2016

Toddler preschooler hiking Marin

Taking the kiddos along for a hike on one of Marin's many fantastic trails is fun and rewarding. It can be a bit of a challenge though when they want to tackle the trail on their own but can't really go that far. Then there's the fact that toddlers and preschoolers don't always have the greatest of attention spans, which means that it's great to have something to see and do along the way.

We've put together a list of our favorite hiking spots in Marin County for families with kids in preschool or younger. They're all relatively short and easy to hike—and you can take along the off-road stroller for backup, just in case. (If you're looking for hikes that are perfect for strollers but maybe a little longer than these, check out our guide to stroller hikes in Marin County.)

Dine in with Meal Delivery Services in Marin

August 23, 2016

Munchery meal delivery serviceLike many families in Marin, we lead busy lives—so busy that sometimes important things like family meals can get lost in the shuffle. Fortunately, that's where meal delivery services come in! These local culinary life-savers provide you and your family with delicious, healthy meals as well as the opportunity to sit down together at dining table in the evening, without having to resort to fast food or some other quick solution.

Here are some of the meal delivery services that deliver to homes in Marin County. All these services deliver throughout the county (usually with the exception of West Marin) unless otherwise indicated. If we've missed your favorite, please let us know about it and we'll consider adding it to the list. With all of these services, you can place your order online via the web or a mobile app. We've personally reviewed a few of these services, so read our reviews via the links to learn more.

"Mommy and Me" Fall Classes in Marin

August 22, 2016

mommy and me class at pomegranate

Pomegranate Prenatal Yoga & Parent Center, San Anselmo; photo by Fluid Frame

Looking for a local "mommy and me" class for you and your little one? Here is our list of classes throughout Marin County for children and their moms, dads, or caregivers to participate in together.

Sausalito

  • Pre-Ballet: Mommy and Me
    City Hall Exercise Room, Sausalito
    Wednesdays, 9:30–10:15 am

    This playful class with Miss Matrisha improves motor skills as children perform finger plays, dance to nursery rhymes, and move with balls or scarves to music. Wear comfortable clothing, such as leggings and a stretch top or leotards and tights. Come barefoot or wear ballet shoes. For ages 2–3. Pre-registration required. For questions about the class contact Miss Matrisha at (415) 722-8281 or matrishadance@gmail.com.  Location: 420 Litho Street, Sausalito. For more info, call (415) 289-4100 or visit their website.
  • Family Classes at the Bay Area Discovery Museum
    Fort Baker, Sausalito
    Various times throughout week
    Explore art, music, dance, sign language, culture and more in the Discovery Museum's Family Classes. Each series offers multiple sessions for deep engagement with the topics, and includes museum admission for one adult and one child. Location: 557 McReynolds Road, Ft. Baker in Sausalito. For more info, call (415) 339-3900 or visit their website.

There's Something for the Entire Family at the 64th Sausalito Art Festival

August 22, 2016

2016 Sausalito Art Festival

A Marin County tradition for over half a century, the Sausalito Art Festival returns to Marinship Park this Labor Day Weekend, September 3 to 5, for its 64th season. The family friendly festival showcases the works of the finest local, national and international artists, with thousands of original works of art by 260 artists, including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, fiber art, fine glass, woodwork, mixed media, and photography.

Of course there are plenty of other things to see and do at the Sausalito Art Festival, including music by legendary headliners and local favorites on two stages. Headliners at this year's festival include the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Super Diamond, Todd Rundgren, and the Zombies. Fantastic food, beer, and wine will be available, too.

Sopa de Albondigas - Mexican Meatball Soup

August 21, 2016

sopa de albondigas - Mexican meatball soupWith fall coming and the evenings getting cooler, it's time to make some delicious comfort food for dinner. This classic Mexican soup features little meatballs cooked in broth with tons of fresh vegetables. It's tasty and healthy, too!

For this version, I added some fresh summer green beans, chunks of zucchini, and tomatoes to complement the usual carrots and potatoes. One of the great things about this dish is that you can vary the vegetables depending on what's in season or what your family likes. Cabbage, kale, corn, and peas would all be welcome in the pot.

We used lean ground grass-fed beef for the meatballs, but you can use half beef and half ground pork, ground turkey, or even chicken. My kids love to get involved and help make the meatballs, too.

Apple Walnut Bread is Delicious and Easy to Make

August 21, 2016

In the late summer and fall we love to go apple picking at farms in Marin and Sonoma County. It's so much fun to choose and pick your own fruit, but sometimes you end up with more apples than you know what to do with. I've been trying to figure out different creative ways to use apples, since I hate to see any go to waste.

Fresh-baked apple walnut bread is delicious, easy to make and a great way to use up extra apples. It also makes the house smell amazing while it's baking. It's good as part of breakfast, as a snack, or even dessert. My kids love to get a slice in their lunchboxes, too.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Have a Pumpkin Patch Birthday Party this Fall!

August 20, 2016

Pumpkin Patch Party Nicasio Valley Farms

If your child has an October birthday, then why not have a pumpkin patch party? Marin's own certified organic pumpkin patch at Nicasio Valley Farms offers party packages during the month of October. It's a perfect way to celebrate a special fall birthday! October weather is usually fantastic, too, making an outdoor party even more fun. Make your reservation soon, as they book up quickly.

Birthday parties at Nicasio Valley Farms cost $12 per childhttp://www.marinmommies.com/ and include a private party table, a hayride, hay mazes, a visit with farm animals, and a small goodie bag. Partygoers can also choose a small pumpkin from the Kids' Patch. If you book your party on a Sunday, you can also enjoy live kids' music from Marin's favorite family entertainer, Tim Cain, who performs on Sundays from 11 am to noon. Additional activities, including bounce houses, pony rides, a climbing wall, face painting, and more, are available for an additional fee.

Russian River Fun at Johnson's Beach

August 20, 2016

Johnson's Beach Guerneville

When the temperature rises, it's fun to head to a local beach and cool off. Bay Area residents have been doing this for nearly 100 years Johnson's Beach, a laid-back, family-friendly summertime getaway on the banks of the Russian River in Guerneville. There's nothing quite like lounging in an inner tube on the river on a warm summer day with redwoods towering overhead!

Johnson's is a privately owned beach that's open to the public. Admission is free, although there's a parking fee on weekends and holidays, so pack up your beach gear and folding chairs and get ready for a lazy riverside day. The pebble beach stretches down to the river where you'll find a roped-off kiddie pool area where the little ones can splash and play. The river itself is cool, not very deep, and ideal for swimming, splashing, and floating around in an inner tube.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for August 19, 20 & 21

August 19, 2016

Chileno Valley
Pick organic apples and pears and visit with the animals at Chileno Valley Ranch this Sunday form 9 am–3 pm.

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.

Friday, August 19

  • Children's Series: Venezuelan Music Project
    Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
    Friday, 11 am & 12:15 pm

    This free event is part of the Children's Garden Series at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. The Venezuelan Music Project combines Indigenous-Venezuelan, West African, and Spanish-European influences, creating a dynamic ensemble full of vibrancy, rhythm, energy and color. Free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Children's Room End of Summer Party
    Amphitheater & Peter Dreyfuss Garden, Mill Valley Public Library
    Friday, 2:30–4 pm

    Fun for everyone! Celebrate the end of summer with your friends and library staff under the redwood trees. Hula hoops, crafts, bubbles, face painting, and free ice cream will be available for your enjoyment. Location: 375 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Picnics on the Plaza
    Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo
    Friday, 5–8 pm

    Come on downtown to San Anselmo for Picnics on the Plaza on six Friday evenings this summer: Grab dinner-to-go at a local restaurant, purchase food at the event, or pack a picnic and dine with old and new friends at the plaza tables on Tunstead or on Town Hall lawn. Enjoy live entertainment and activities, too. Location: 525 San Anselmo Avenue, Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Nights at the de Young
    de Young Museum, San Francisco
    Friday, 5–8:45 pm

    Friday Nights at the de Young are after-hours art happenings that include a mix of live music, dance and theater performances, film screenings, panel discussions, lectures, artist demonstrations, hands-on art activities, and exhibition tours. The café offers a delicious prix-fixe menu and specialty cocktails, and the Hamon Tower observation level is open until 8 pm. This Friday: California Brazil Camp. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marinwood's Music in the Park Series
    Marinwood Park, San Rafael
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    Marinwood’s most popular event is back! Enjoy Friday evenings in the park, featuring live music with delicious food by Marinwood Market, wine and beer. This Friday: Shana Morrison and Caledonia. Free; food, wine, and beer may be purchased. Location: 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 479-0775 or visit their website.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Friday, 6:30–8:30 pm

    Jazz & Blues by the Bay at Gabrielson Park in Sausalito is a free event. Lawn seating available, first-come first-served. This Friday: Little Jonny and the Giants with Ali Kumar on harmonica. For more info, visit their website.
  • The Little Mermaid
    142 Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley
    Friday & Saturday, 7 pm and Sunday, 4 pm
    Bring the entire family to see this family-friendly performance of The Little Mermaid, based on the Disney movie of the same name and featuring a talented cast of Bay Area performers. Tickets: $18 general, $14 students, $35 reserved. For more info, visit their website.
  • Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus
    Oracle Arena, Oakland
    Friday, 7 pm; Saturday, 11 am, 3 pm & 7 pm; Sunday, 1 & 5 pm
    Prepare to blast off on an intergalactic adventure for space-age family fun! Launch into the future with Out Of This World. Children Of All Ages can take the helm to join the Circus Space Fleet on a heroic quest of good versus evil that will let imaginations run wild with unexpected surprises and thrills at every turn. Your entire family will be amazed by this cosmic voyage as you discover the wonders of gravity-defying acrobats, orbital aerialists, majestic animals, fearless daredevils and humorous clowns. For more info, visit their website.
  • Totally Radical '80s Movie Night
    Corte Madera Community Center
    Friday, 8:30–10:30 pm
    Enjoy a warm summer night, snacks, and a free screening of The Goonies on the Corte Madera Community Center patio. Location: 498 Tamalpais Drive, Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, August 20

  • Family BikeAbout
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday, 8:30–10 am

    Families can bring their bicycles to the Zoo for this informative one- and one-half hour, docent-led cycling tour. It’s great to be in the Zoo ahead of the crowds and watch the animals start their day. Registration includes parking and Zoo admission. Participants must bring a bicycle; the SF Zoo does not provide bicycles to rent. Cost: SFZS Members: $18 per peddler and Non-Members: $23 per peddler. Children piggy-backing on their parents' bikes are free. Location: 1 Zoo Road, San Francisco. For more info, call (415) 753-7080 or visit their website.
  • Birthday Bash
    Bay Area Discovery Museum
    Saturday, 9 am–7 pm & Sunday, 9 am–5 pm

    Come by to help the museum toast to their 25th anniversary with a “Happy Birthday” sing-along and free cupcakes and ice cream! Festivities over the two days include: bounce castles, karaoke, food, face painting, photo booth, musical performances and more! Admission is free for everyone on Satuday from 5 to 7 pm. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10:30 am–2 pm, face kids' crafts from 10:30 am–1:30 pm, and live music from noon–2 pm, as well as fresh produce, prepared foods, and great local restaurants.  For more info, visit their website.
  • Discovery Day
    South Novato Library
    Saturday, 10 am–noon
    Join the library as they close out Summer Learning with a day of discovery! Participate in hands-on science, art and story activities for families of all ages. Location: 931 C Street, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Fort Point Living History Day
    Fort Point, San Francisco
    Saturday, 10 am–5 pm

    Stop by and watch Fort Point come to life with music, marching, and the colorful uniforms of Civil War soldiers. See infantry and artillery drills and demonstrations, and learn about civilian life during the Civil War. For more info, call (415) 556-1693 or visit their website.
  • Family Fun Day at the Presidio Officers' Club
    Presidio of San Francisco
    Saturday, 10:30 am–2:30 pm
    Join the Presidio Trust and KQED for a family fun day at the Presidio Officers’ Club with special guest Nature Cat, from the PBS animated television series. At this event, experience the Presidio Nature Lab, an all-ages, hands-on exhibition that makes the park’s great outdoors come to life. Kids can also make fun crafts and learn about wildlife at the Roving Ranger truck. Free. For more info, visit their website.
  • SCIENCE: And Our Climate
    Bay Model Visitor Center, Sausalito
    Saturday, 11:30 am–2:30 pm

    Once the Aquarium of the Bay and the Bay Model collaborate to discuss the next level of climate science and… rubber duckies! Come to the Bay Model for a Rubber Ducky Race to see where salt water from the ocean first heads to in San Francisco Bay. Also, find out how marshes and wetlands help buffer our coasts from the tides coming in and fresh water going out. Free. Location: 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • The 11th Annual Taste of Petaluma
    Downtown Petaluma
    Saturday, 11:30 am–4 pm

    A culinary walking journey of Petaluma's finest restaurants, galleries, shops, winers, breweries and food purveyors. Buy tickets and receive your map and menu showing over 50 different participants to choose from. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Theatre Company Block Party
    Mill Valley
    Saturday, 2–6 pm

    MTC is having a Block Party to kick off 50 years of making a scene in Mill Valley and you're all invited! Enjoy theatre workshops, music, photo booth, food and free beer. The event is free and open to the public. Fun for all ages. Location: 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
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