7 Sensational Ways to Beat the Heat this Summer

July 20, 2017

Cool off at Spring Lake Water Park

When the summer temperatures start to heat up, then it's time to find a place to cool off with the kiddos. Here are our favorite ways to beat the heat with the family on hot day in Marin and the Bay Area.

Take a ferry ride to Angel Island

Hop on the ferry in Tiburon and take a refreshing ferry ride over the Bay to Angel Island State Park. Explore historic sites, splash on the beach in Ayala Cove, have a picnic, or just relax.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for July 21, 22 & 23

July 19, 2017

Explore the Marin Headlands with your family this weekend. Find out more here.

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, July 21

  • Flower Piano
    San Francisco Botanical Garden
    Friday–Sunday, 7:30 am–6 pm

    Visitors are encouraged to seek out the 12 pianos tucked among the many flower-filled gardens within the Garden's 55 acres and play what they like, from chopsticks to Tchaikovsky. On weekend days, professional pianists and a whole host of other musicians will be scheduled to perform as well, and the public is welcome to watch and listen. Free after admission. Location: 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Children's Garden Series: PI Clowns
    Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
    Friday, 11–11:30 am & 12:15–12:45 pm

    This free event is part of the Children's Garden Series at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. Silliness is very serious business for the Pi Clowns. A company dedicated to knock-about physical comedy, these performers don’t tell jokes. They embody them with robust and timeless antics. Blending mime, theater, acrobatics, juggling and improvisation, the Pi Clowns deliver delightful and original clown vignettes. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Game Day!
    South Novato Library
    Friday, 3–4 pm

    Did you know the Library has games? Join us every Friday for Friday Game Day! We have Jenga, Battleship, Operation, and MORE! It's fun for the whole family! Free. Location: 931 C Street, Hamiliton, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Fun Night
    Children's Museum of Sonoma County
    Friday, 4–7 pm
    Have a family date night and play late at the Children's Museum! Explore interactive exhibits after hours. Or just have fun playing as the sun sets. Bring your appetite to enjoy pizza slices from Mary's Pizza Shack for $2 slice. Museum admission applies. Location: 1835 West Steele Lane, Santa Rosa. 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 special menu and specialty cocktails, and the Hamon Tower observation level is open until 8 pm. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Movie Night: Sing
    Presidio Community YMCA, San Francisco
    Friday, 5:30 pm

    ring a blanket and enjoy a movie night in the Presidio! Sponsored by Supervisor Mark Farrell, in partnership with the Presidio Trust and the Presidio Y. Visit the website for the film selections.? Food trucks, bubbles, face painting 5:30 pm; movie shorts 6:30 pm; feature film: Sing? 7 pm. Free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bay Area Children's Theatre presents: The Rainbow Fish Musical
    Children's Fairyland, Oakland
    Friday, 6 pm, Saturday, 10:30 am & 2 pm and Sunday, 10:30 am & 4 pm

    Come with us under the sea for The Rainbow Fish Musical, a world premiere based on the award-winning book by Marcus Pfister about the joy of finding friendship through sharing. Book, music and lyrics by Austin Zumbro. Playing in Oakland and San Francisco. Tickets: $20 per person. Location: 699 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland. For more info, visit their website.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Jazz & Blues by the Bay at Gabrielson Park in Sausalito is a free event. Lawn seating available (first-come first-served). This Friday: Andre Thierry – Accordion Soul Music (blues). For more info, call (415) 289-4100 or visit their website.
  • Tam Valley's Creekside Fridays
    Tennessee Valley Cabin, Mill Valley
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Bring the family, pets, chairs, and blankets to the weekly free musical event. This Friday: The Refugees. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or visit their website.
  • Campfire Program: Paradise Beach Park
    Friday, 7 pm

    Join rangers for an evening of fun with local lore, legends, and campfire tales. This event is ideal for all ages. All skill levels are welcome and no experience is necessary. Wear comfortable athletic clothing and sturdy shoes. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight. Park entrance is waived for participants. For more info, visit their website.
  • Twilight Family Nature Hike
    Sonoma State Historic Park, Sonoma
    Friday, 7–8 pm

    Come out and explore the trail at dusk. See how nature transforms in the early evening with interpretation focusing on nocturnal animals. This is a one-mile, slow-paced hike with minor elevation change. Sturdy shoes and water recommended. Meet at the Vallejo Home parking lot. All ages, free of charge. Location: West Spain Street in Sonoma. For more info, visit their website.
  • Seussical: The Musical
    Alcazar Theatre, San Francisco
    Friday, 8 pm & Saturday, 2 & 8 pm

    Now one of the most performed shows in America, Seussical is a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza! Tony winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Lucky Stiff, My Favorite Year, Once On This Island and Ragtime) have lovingly brought to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie, and a little girl with a big imagination—Jojo. The colorful characters transport us from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos. Tickets: $20–$100. Location: 650 Geary Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, July 22

  • 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 am–2 pm, face kids' crafts from 9 am–2 pm, children's music or storytelling from 9:30–10:30 am, and more live music from 11 am–12:30 pm, as well as fresh produce, prepared foods, and great local restaurants. For more info, visit their website.
  • Point Reyes Farmers Market
    Toby's Feed Barn, Point Reyes Station
    Saturday, 9 am–1 pm

    Enjoy live music, a KidsZone as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, wool, meat, eggs, music and more! Location: 11250 Ca-1, Point Reyes StationFor more info, visit their website.
  • Nature Connection: Little Folkies Music and Nature Exploration
    Martin Griffin Preserve, Stinson Beach
    Saturday, 10 am–4 pm

    Bring your 0–5-year -lds to the Martin Griffin Preserve of Audubon Canyon Ranch to join ACR and Little Folkies for a day of Music and Nature Exploration! ACR and Little Folkies are teaming up to inspire young families to sing, play, and connect to the land. Come explore rhythmic dance and movement, musical games, and nature activities with your tots. Irena, of Little Folkies, will perform a 40-minute set of spring themed songs. After the concert, join ACR staff in nature discovery activities including sensory and pond life exploration. $20, $15 members or students, free for children under age 18. For more info and tickets, visit their website.
  • Jungle Jams Outdoor Concerts
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday–Sunday, 12–3 pm

    Jungle Jams at SF Zoo are free outdoor concerts, held select weekends at The Depot. Bands and musicians play live sets from 12:00-3:00 pm, encouraging audience interaction and dancing. Have lunch at The Depot and stay to enjoy the ambiance, entertainment and fun! Music is themed for the weekend and catered specifically to the crowd. It's a jungle at SF Zoo, especially during Jungle Jams outdoor concerts! Zoo admission applies. Location: Sloat Blvd. at The Great Highway, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Think. Make. Try!
    San Rafael Library
    Saturday, 11am

    Join our friends from the Bay Area Discovery Museum for this fun engineering program! Engineers engage directly with the design thinking process, as they work collaboratively and independently, to build and create designs and then make them even better. This program is for children ages 3–9 and their caregivers. Register by calling us at (415) 485-3322 or visit us at the Children’s Reference Desk. Location: 1100 E Street, Downtown San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Rivertown Revival
    Steamer Landing Park, Petaluma
    Saturday, 11 am– 8 pm

    Celebrate “The Greatest Slough on Earth;” live music on several stages, local food vendors, art boats, children's activities, crafts and more. Rivertown Revival will once again host a bustling Kids' Area for our wee ones to create treasures, view and pet animals, dance to music, play with water, and engage in group art. Location: Steamer Landing Park, Petaluma. For more info, visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: Soar in for Paper Planes
    Presidio Officers’ Club
    Saturday, 11 am–4 pm

    Drop in for imaginative craft-making based on the Presidio’s natural and cultural heritage. Featuring different crafts every weekend! Crissy Field is a former U.S. Army airfield where many different types of planes took off and landed. Come design your own paper planes; you can even take them down to Crissy Field and see how they fly. Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, Pershing Square (across from the Presidio Officers' Club), San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Disney's Tarzan
    Berkeley Playhouse
    Saturday, 1 & 7 pm, Sunday, noon & 5 pm

    With a thrilling score from one of pop-music’s greatest icons, Phil Collins, Tarzan is the ultimate story of a unique family drawn together by fate and bound by love. Audiences will journey to the African jungles in this vibrant production that features a live percussive environment, stunning acrobats, and a heartfelt story about what it means to be a family. Tarzan is this summer’s most exciting musical event.Tickets: $25–$40. Purchase tickets here. Location: 2640 College Avenue, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marinwood's Summer Brewfest
    Marinwood Community Center
    Saturday, 2–7 pm

    Featuring local breweries, live bands and awesome food. This event is sure to be the hit of the summer! Cost: $15 at the door. Childcare available for ages 2-8. $10 per child. Location: 775 Miller Creek Avenue, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Community Campout
    Mill Valley Community Center
    Saturday, 4 pm–Sunday, 9 am

    Pack up the wagon and bring your friends and family to the Mill Valley Community Center Field and CAMPOUT! Campout will include fun activities, special entertainer, campfire with s’mores, dinner, breakfast, camping space and more. $25 per person, free for children 3 and under. For more info and to register, visit their website.
  • The Luna Center Grand Opening Party
    San Rafael
    Saturday, 4–8 pm

    Come and check it out! The LUNA Center - Fitness & Wellness for Motherhood is opening a brand new full service studio in San Rafael and will be having a big Grand Opening party on July 22nd from 4-8pm. The event is free and kid friendly! There will be music, food and drinks, a raffle with great prizes, and games/activities for the kiddos. Location: 1938 4th Street, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Mom's Night Out with San Rafael Pacifics
    Albert Park, San Rafael
    Saturday, 4:05 pm
    Marin Roto-Rooter presents a Mom's Night Out with the San Rafael Pacifics. Tickets cost $50 and includes a baseball cap, all activities, and general admission to the ball game. It's not just about fun; it's for a good cause, too: $25 of each ticket will be donated to Sunny Hills Services, a Marin non-profit organization that supports vulnerable youth and their families. Order tickets online. The official after-game hangout for Mom's Night Out is the Flatiron in downtown San Rafael, where you'll get a free glass of wine or pint of beer with your Mom's Night Out baseball cap! Location: Albert Park Lane and Lindaro Street, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Movies on the Green: Disney's The Little Mermaid and Moana
    Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park
    , 5 pm
    Come spend an evening on the Weill Lawn with two of Disney's best-loved princesses! Free. Location: Weill Hall and Lawn, Green Music Center, SSU, 1801 East Cotati Avenue, Rohnert Park. For more info, visit their website.
  • Music in the Park
    Terra Linda Community Center
    Saturday, 5–7:30 pm
    Let’s go retro in the park… and play outside until dinnertime. Bring the family for lots of fun activies: Kids Zone, water balloon toss, tug-o-war, three-legged and sack races, food and drinks available to purchase. Bring a picnic, blanket and chairs. Location: 670 Del Ganado Road, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.

Family Adventure in the Marin Headlands

July 18, 2017

Located at the very south end of Marin County, the Marin Headlands has much to offer for families and is one of our favorite destinations for a day of outdoor adventure. The Marine Mammal Center, wildlife, beaches, history, natural beauty, sweeping vistas of the Pacific and San Francisco—the Headlands has all that and more.

Adventure Awaits at Point Bonita Lighthouse in the Marin Headlands

July 18, 2017

Point Bonita Lighthouse Marin Headlands

Point Bonita Lighthouse stands sentinel over the Golden Gate, where it's warned ships of the hazards of the Marin's rugged coastline for over 150 years. A trip to the lighthouse is a fun family outing and a highlight of a visit to the Marin Headlands. It's also far easier to get to than Marin's other famous lighthouse in the Point Reyes National Seashore, but the trip is almost as dramatic.

It's also a great place to take out-of-town guests to check out a piece of San Francisco Bay Area history and take in some breathtaking views of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge. You might even see some humpback whales as the swim in and out of the Golden Gate! It's a must-do outdoor adventure for families in Marin and the Bay Area.

A New Take on "The Music Man" at 142 Throckmorton Theatre

July 18, 2017

The Music ManThere’s trouble in River City when 142 Throckmorton's production of Meredith Willson’s six-time, Tony Award-winning musical The Music Man comes to Mill Valley! The Music Man tells the story of fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band, despite the fact that he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef. His plans to skip town with the cash, howerver are thwarted when he falls for Marian, the local librarian!

A partnership with La Familia, Oakland School for the Arts, and 142 Throckmorton, this production of The Music Man is inspired by Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, featuring a diverse cast of actors and a mission to unite communities, build bridges, and create innovative art.

Homemade Snacks for Summer Road Trips

July 17, 2017

Marin Mommies presents a guest article from Elizabeth Leader Smith and Whole Foods Market.

When I was a child, my family frequently made long road trips to visit family members peppered around the Midwest. The novelty of pit stops at roadside convenience stores lost its luster early on. Instead my family hungered for wholesome foods we could feel good about eating while sitting in the car for long stretches.

By planning ahead, my mom was able to pack with the car with healthful snacks (often homemade) to get us through that stretch from Cleveland to South Bend or Chicago to Green Bay. Today I do the same thing making some and buying others. When I have time to prep ahead, I'll make easy and affordable snacks like Popcorn Trail Mix and other recipes for the road like these:

Kids Eat for Free in Marin

July 17, 2017

kids eat free in marin

Here's our list of Marin restaurants with kids-eat-free offers, broken down by the day of the week. Please note that all information presented here is, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of posting, but deals come and deals go, so you should confirm with the restaurant before you go, just in case.

Every Day

Sonoma Taco Shop
210 Northgate One
San Rafael 94903
(415) 479-9066

Sonoma Taco Shop in Northgate One in Terra Linda offers a free item (dine in only) off the kids' menu with the purchase of an adult item seven days a week. www.sonomatacoshop.com


Finnegan's Marin
877 Grant Avenue
Novato 94945
(415) 899-1516

Finnegan's Marin in Old Town Novato offers free dining for kids 12 and under on Sundays for both brunch and dinner, from 10 am to 9 pm. Free soda refills, and crayons and coloring sheets are available. www.finnegansmarin.com

Mom's Night Out with the San Rafael Pacifics

July 17, 2017

Mom's Night Out San Rafael Pacifics

Marin Roto-Rooter presents a Mom's Night Out with the San Rafael Pacifics on Saturday, July 22 at 4:05 pm. This fun-filled night out at the ballpark features wine tasting by Chronic Cellars and a post-game kickball game and beers with Pacifics players!

Tickets cost $50 and includes a baseball cap, all activities, and general admission to the ball game. It's not just about fun; it's for a good cause, too: $25 of each ticket will be donated to Sunny Hills Services, a Marin non-profit organization that supports vulnerable youth and their families. Order tickets online.

Our 5 Favorite Family Hikes in Marin

July 16, 2017

Tennessee Valley Family Hike Marin

We often get asked what our favorite hikes for families are in Marin. To be honest there are so many amazing hikes that sometimes it's hard to narrow them down, so we sat down and compiled a list of our top 5 family hikes in Marin.

We chose these particular hikes because they're easy for everyone in the family, relatively short, and are just a short drive from anywhere in Marin.

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