"What a Ride!" at the 2016 Marin County Fair

May 25, 2016

Marin County FairWho's ready for the fair?! The 75th annual Marin County Fair opens on Thursday, June 30, at the Marin County Fairgrounds in San Rafael, near the Marin Civic Center. This year's Marin County Fair theme is "What a Ride!"

This year, the Fair celebrates Marin County and all of its colorful traditions and innovations and highlights what residents love most about their local fair, like thrilling rides, popular concerts, farm animals, family activities, amazing exhibis, and a spectacular nightly fireworks display. This year's theme also echoes Hunter S. Thompson's quote “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming Wow! What a Ride!”

Events and attractions include traditional fair offerings like farm animal exhibits and demonstrations and Great American pig racing in the barnyard, free (with fair admission) rides and carnival games—including the 10-story Giant Wheel and the Marin Clean Energy solar-powered carousel. You'll also experience performances by the Chinese Circus of Beijing and the Something Ridiculous comedy juggling duo, appearances by the ever-popular Imperial Storm Troopers of the 501st Legion Golden Gate Garrison, fantastic concerts, short films and videos, demonstrations on the Blue Ribbon Stage, over 800 new and returning exhibits, and the Fair's biggest and most elaborate fireworks display ever, presented nightly over the lagoon at 9:30 pm.

Marin Summer Survival Guide 2016

May 24, 2016

Summer's almost here, the kids will be out of school soon, and you'll be looking for things to do. Don't worry... check out our hot list of things to do this summer in Marin and the Bay Area. Our list includes free outdoor concerts and movies, community pools, swim lessons, beaches, camping, summer hikes, playgrounds, great summer reads, and the best places to go biking with the kiddos in Marin. Check back soon for the scoop on 4th of July fireworks, the Marin County Fair, summer festivals and more. Find out more here.

Marin Memorial Day Weekend Family Events 2016

May 24, 2016
American Crown Circus comes to Marin on Memorial Day Weekend
American Crown Circus brings its big top to Marinwood this Memorial Day weekend.

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

Friday, May 27

  • American Crown Circus
    St. Vincent's, Marinwood
    Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday, various times

    This family run, bilingual circus, presented by Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise, is centered around acrobats, performers, and clowns, with no exotic animals. Performances are on Friday, May 27 at 6:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday, May 28 and 29 at 1:30, 4, and 6:30 pm; and Monday, May 30 at 1:30 and 4 pm. Advance tickets are $14 and are good for any performance; two children under 12 admitted free per paid advance adult ticket. Tickets at the gate $20. For more info or to order tickets, vist their website.
  • Kiddo Family Carnival
    Mill Valley Community Center
    Friday, 4–10 pm, Saturday & Sunday, noon–10 pm & Monday, noon–5 pm

    Bring the family for a four-day real old-fashioned carnival. There will be rides for all ages, plus food and games. The littlest ones in your family will love the Berry-Go-Round and the Tune Train, while your teenagers will be thrilled with the Sizzler, Zipper, Century Wheel, and the Typhoon. Advance discounted ticket books will be available in the Kiddo! office and Mill Valley Community Center while they last. Books are $25 advance, $35 once the carnival begins. Books may be turned in for a one-day wrist band for unlimited rides. Food and games extra. Location: 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Nights on Main
    Main Street, Downtown Tiburon
    Friday, 6–9 pm

    Bring the family to some outdoor dining, live music and dancing on Main Street in downtown Tiburon. This season's kickoff event features Mustache Harbor performing the hits of the '70s and '80s. For more information, visit their website.
  • Penguins+Pajamas Sleepover
    California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco
    Friday, 6 pm–Saturday, 8 am

    Experience your own night at the museum! Explore the exhibits after-hours and discover the deepest depths of the oceans, travel to the tops of rainforests, blast off into outer space at your own private planetarium show, and then settle in for story time after snacking on milk and cookies. When the lights go out, roll out your sleeping bag next to the California Coast tank or the Swamp window face-to-face with Claude the albino alligator. In the morning head over to the Academy Café for breakfast. Cost: $109 per person. For more info, visit their website.
  • Katia & Co Presents: The Wizard of Oz
    Showcase Theater, San Rafael
    Friday, 7 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 2 pm

    The Wizard of Oz starring young actors ranging in age from 5 to 16 from all over Marin County. This show is directed and choreographed by Katia McHaney. Tickets: adults $15 and Children $12. Purchase tickets here.
  • Throckmorton Youth Present Sweet Charity
    142 Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley
    Friday, 7:30 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 1 pm
    Sweet Charity, the spring Throckmorton Youth Production, is a hit! Bring your family, bring your friends—you will be singing along all week! Have you ever known a girl who wanted something so badly that she tried too hard to get it? Meet Sweet Charity, the girl who wants to be loved so much that she has lost sight of who she is. Charity sings, dances, laughs and cries her way through romances in the all too real… Tickets: $15–$20 general, $35 reserved. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, May 28

  • 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.
  • Exhibition Opening: The Magic Tree House
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday–Sunday, 9 am–5 pm

    Based on the best-selling children’s book series written by Mary Pope Osborne and published by Random House, the Magic Tree House traveling exhibition allows children to branch out through history via a magical, time-traveling tree house. Museum admission applies. For more info, visit their website.
  • Carnivore Carnival 2016
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday–Monday, 10 am–5 pm

    Carnivore Carnival will feature good ol' fashioned fun with a nod to the zoo's amazing bears, lions, tigers, wolverines, fishing cats, and otters. After you stop by and see these magnificent animals, try your luck at many fun carnival games... you may even win a prize!  After some cotton candy, a hot dog and soda, show off your strength on the Rock Climbing Wall. Zoo admission applies. Location: Sloat Boulevard at the Great Highway, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • The 38th Annual San Francisco Carnaval
    Harrison Street, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    Come celebrate at the 37th annual Carnaval San Francisco, a free two–day family festival in San Francisco’s Mission District over Memorial Day weekend on Harrison Street between 16th and 24th Streets and experience global cuisine, international music, dance, arts and crafts, and other fun activities and entertainment on every street corner for the entire family to enjoy. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Greek Festival
    Nativity of Christ Greek Orthodox Church, Novato
    Saturday and Sunday, 11 am–10 pm
    Come celebrate the culture of Greece with fabulous authentic Greek cuisine, live Greek music and dance, children's activities, cooking demonstrations, and more. Adults $5, seniors 55+ $4, children 16 and under free. The Nativity of Christ Greek Orthodox Church is at 1110 Dickson Drive in Novato. For more info, call (415) 883-1998 or visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: Memorial Day Paper Poppies
    Presidio Officers' Club, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–4 pm

    Bring the kids to make Memorial Day paper poppies. Best for kids aged 5 to 12. Drop in anytime between 11 am and 4 pm. Free. Read about our visit to the Officers' Club here. Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Hike: Come to Your Senses at Crissy Field
    San Francisco
    Saturday, 2–4 pm

    Come experience sites sounds, smells, and flavors of Crissy Field on a one-mile easy walk at the Crissy Marsh. Look for crabs, taste strawberry treats; listen to legends, smell a sea shore habitat; touch and play on the sands of Crissy field under the cypress trees. Free: for the whole family; pre-registration is required; 415 561-2805. For more info, visit their website.
  • Maker Saturdays! Silly Pasta Sculptures
    Habitot Children's Museum, Berkeley
    Berkeley, 2–4:30 pm

    Encourage the do-it-yourself mindset and come build, invent, design and create something! Projects are designed for 4-7 year olds, younger children with adult assistance. Supports STEM learning. Admission applies. Location: 2065 Kittredge St, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.

Free Outdoor Family Movies in Marin and the Bay Area

May 24, 2016

Film Night in the Park Marin County Summer

Summer means its time for free outdoor movies in Marin and the Bay Area, so grab your blankets and pillows, pack the picnic basket, and get ready to enjoy some flicks al fresco. Here's our guide to free family-friendly outdoor movies in Marin, San Francisco, and Sonoma County. Most movies begin at dusk or around 8 pm; check the organizer's website for exact time and location.

In addition, the North Bay Mobile Drive-In screens movies on the side of the Old Hamilton Theater building in Novato; join their Meetup page to get notified about upcoming screenings.

2016 Outdoor Movie Schedule:

June

Family Friendly Recipes for a Memorial Day Barbeque

May 23, 2016

Tri-tipMemorial Day Weekend, that traditional kick-off to summer is coming up! Since it's traditional to have a BBQ in the backyard, we've put together a selection of our most popular family-friendly grilling recipes, along with a few great sides and warm weather treats. So fire up the grill, cook up a feast, and enjoy the weekend!

Santa Maria-Style Tri Tip

Cooked slowly over charcoal with plenty of wood smoking chips, this traditional Santa Maria-style tri tip is simple to make and really delicious.

Barbeque Ribs on the Charcoal Grill

Slow-cook dry-rubbed ribs on the charcoal grill with plenty of wood smoking chips.

All Aboard for a Day Out With Thomas!

May 23, 2016

Day Out With Thomas at Roaring Camp Railroads.

Is your child a Thomas the Tank Engine fanatic? If so, your chance to experience all things Thomas & Friends and even take a ride on a train drawn by Thomas the Tank Engine himself is coming this summer! Tickets are on sale now for Day Out With Thomas: The Ready, Set, Go Tour 2016, which takes place over two long weekends, July 29–31 and August 5–7, at Roaring Camp Railroads in the Santa Cruz Mountains town of Felton.

Hands-on Museums for Kids and Families in Marin and the Bay Area

May 23, 2016

Exploratorium hands-on fun museumMuseum visitors are often told not to touch anything, but not at the museums listed here! These seven local Marin County and San Francisco Bay Area museums offer lots of fun hands-on activities for kids and families. They're perfect for rainy-day outings or any time, really.

Bay Area Discovery Museum

Families with kids up to age 8 love Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum for its combination of hands-on fun, exciting programs and performances, rotating special exhibitions (currently it's Curious George: Let's Get Curious), and a great play area overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. It's a fantastic place to play away the day and take in the amazing views. Location: Fort Baker, 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito, 94965. Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 9 am–5 pm. More info: www.baykidsmuseum.org or (415) 339-3900.

Rebuild Your Strength with Postpartum Exercise

May 22, 2016

pregnant mom exercisingMarin Mommies presents a guest article by prenatal and postpartum physical therapist Alicia Willoughby.

Being a mom is really hard physical work and it requires strength and endurance to do the job. Most mothers will say that having a baby was when their physical condition started to decline, whether it be chronic pain and discomforts, the inability to run without peeing or the aesthetic issue of still looking pregnant four years later. Pregnancy and birth cause huge changes to a woman’s anatomy, but with proper guidance and dedication, a mother’s body can be strong and discomfort free.

During pregnancy and birth, the muscles that are responsible for stabilizing the spine and pelvis become stretched out and even torn or cut. This causes the brain’s connection to those muscles to become impaired or even lost completely, which means the brain cannot voluntarily activate these core muscles. Without these muscles performing optimally, the risk of pain and injury increases dramatically because the spine and pelvis are no longer being stabilized. Regaining control of these muscles is crucial for a healthy and happy postpartum mommy body.

Marin Family Weekend Fun for May 20, 21 & 22

May 20, 2016
Mountain Play West Side Story 2016
West Side Story premieres at the Mountain Play on Sunday, May 22.

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, May 20

  • KidsFest at the Zoo
    San Francisco Zoo
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    The most popular family event at the zoo returns! Enjoy exclusive wildlife presentations, live music, face painting, fun activities, and more, as well as free food, beverages, and parking. Tickets: $35 and up; discounts for SFZS members. For more information, visit their website.
  • Maker Faire Bay Area
    San Mateo Event Center
    Friday, 1–5 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly festival that's part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new! It's an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, engineers, tinkerers, hobbyists, artists, and more sharing what they've made and learned. Tickets: $25 and up. Location: 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Disney's The Little Mermaid
    Spreckels Center for the Peforming Arts, Rohnert Park
    Friday & Saturday, 7 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 1 pm

    Take an enchanting trip under the sea with everyone's favorite mermaid princess and her crabby sidekick Sebastian, as they battle the evil sea witch Ursula and win the heart of the human prince Eric. Based on the animated Disney film and the hit Broadway musical. Tickets: $16–26. Location: 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. For more info and tickets, visit their website.
  • Throckmorton Youth Present Sweet Charity
    142 Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley
    Friday, 7:30 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 1 pm
    Sweet Charity, the spring Throckmorton Youth Production, is a hit! Bring your family, bring your friends—you will be singing along all week! Have you ever known a girl who wanted something so badly that she tried too hard to get it? Meet Sweet Charity, the girl who wants to be loved so much that she has lost sight of who she is. Charity sings, dances, laughs and cries her way through romances in the all too real… Tickets: $15–$20 general, $35 reserved. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, May 21

  • 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.
  • Open to the Public: Martin Griffin Preserve
    Stinson Beach
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–4 pm
    Audubon Canyon Ranch's Martin Griffin Preserve is open for their spring and summer season. Visitors are encouraged to hike over eight miles of fern-lined trails, discover ponds with newts and other aquatic life, enjoy a picnic under the redwoods and explore our bookstore, as well as take in views of the birds on Bolinas Lagoon. Volunteer ranch guide naturalists are on hand to lead hikes and answer questions. Suggested donation: $15 per person. Location: 4900 Highway 1, between Bolinas and Stinson Beach. For more info, visit their website.
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