The Circus is Coming to Town Memorial Day Weekend

May 11, 2017

American Crown Circus as St. Vincent's

It's not every day that the circus comes to town, but it'll be here in Marin this Memorial Day weekend! American Crown Circus sets up its big top on the grounds of St. Vincent's School for Boys in Marinwood, just south of Novato, May 25–29. American Crown Circus is a family run, bilingual circus that features acrobats, high wire acts, and clowns (but no exotic animals). Read about our visit to the circus here.

The circus is the major fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise, which has brought a professional traveling tent circus to Marin every year since 1997. Profits from the circus support local community projects.

Hit the Trail at Indian Valley Open Space Preserve

May 9, 2017

Indian Valley Open Space Preserve

One of the great things about living in Marin is the amount of easily accessible open space. Almost everyone has at least one trailhead right around the corner, so there's no excuse not to take the family on an outdoor excursion whenever possible. One of the most popular areas for hiking, horseback riding, cycling, and more in northern Marin is Indian Valley Open Space Preserve in Novato.

Located adjacent to the College of Marin's Indian Valley Campus, this 885-acre preserve is criss-crossed by a wide variety of trails, most shaded by oaks and California bay laurels, making it a pleasant place to go for a hike on a hot day. During various times of the year you can find a waterfall, wildflowers, and peaceful Pacheco pond, which is often teeming with wildlife like toads, frogs, fish, and newts. It's a popular destination for school groups studying our ecosystem.

Find Fresh Seasonal Produce at Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden in Novato

May 8, 2017

Indian Valley organic Farm and Garden

This spring and summer, the Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden on the grounds of College of Marin's Indian Valley Campus is a great place to get organic fruits and veggies. A project of College of Marin, Conservation Corps North Bay, and the UC Cooperative Extension, this 5.8-acre certified organic education farm and garden is open to the public for produce shopping every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm.

Bring your own bags and browse the farm stand for a wide variety of seasonal produce grown right there on-site. Right now, you can get artichokes, beets, radishes, chard, kale, leeks, and more. They also often sell plants like poppies and other flowers, fruit trees, strawberries, and tomatoes. Bring your own plastic bags, as they aren't provided here, although you can buy washable, reusable produce bags at the stand for a nominal fee.

Free Summer Outdoor Concerts in Marin 2017

May 8, 2017

Novato Concerts on the GreenPhoto: Concerts on the Green, courtesy City of Novato

One of my favorite things about summer are the free outdoor concerts that take place throughout Marin. There's something about the warm weather and the long days that make events like these really special. From Novato to Sausalito, there's something for every family!

Pack a picnic and your folding chairs and check out a free summer concert near you. Here's our list of events taking place this summer. If we've missed your favorite, please let us know.

Belvedere

  • Belvedere Concerts in the Park Summer Series
    Belvedere Community Park
    Sundays, 4 pm

    June 19, July 17, August 14 & September 4
    The Concerts-in-the-Park Committee presents four fabulous and free Sunday afternoon concerts for your enjoyment this summer. Bring a blanket, a picnic, your family and friends, and have a great time. For complete list of entertainment, visit their website.

Make a Classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake for Mom

May 8, 2017

This Mother's Day, why not make an old school dessert for Mom—pineapple upside down cake. Pineapple upside down cake is really old school, dating back to the 1920s when canned pineapple from was introduced to the US market by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, which would eventually become Dole Foods.

Featuring moist and light cake topped with sweet pineapple and a caramelized brown sugar topping, it's no wonder this dessert has been popular for nearly a century. In our recipe, we use fresh pineapple, but you can substitute canned if you don't want to mess around with cutting up and trimming a fresh one. It's equally good with both.

Ingredients

For the topping:

Easy Individual Chicken Pot Pies

May 7, 2017

individual chicken pot pie

Use up leftover rotisserie chicken in these quick, easy, and delicious individual pot pies. The kids love getting their own little pies, and they really like both helping make them, too! Topping each pie with a square of frozen puff pastry dough makes this really easy to make any night of the week.

If you don’t have any leftover chicken you can just cook up a couple boneless skinless chicken breasts for an equally tasty dish. Full of vegetables, they're meals in themselves.

Feel free to adapt this recipe to whatever you happen to have on hand—other vegetables you can use include broccoli, cauliflower, and sliced mushrooms, and you can use any kind of leftover meat (it's a great use for Thanksgiving turkey), or none at all for a vegetarian version (substitute veggie broth for the chicken broth). Dried herbs may be used instead of fresh—use half the amount indicated in the recipe.

If you don’t have ramekins, you can make one large pot pie in a casserole dish and place the puff pastry dough over the top; cooking time may vary from that indicated.

Marin Family Weekend Events for May 5, 6 & 7

May 6, 2017

Check out one of the many easy mountain biking trails in Marin

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 5

  • 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: $15 for one child, $10 per each additional child, siblings under 7 months free. For more info, call (415) 652-2474 or visit his website.
  • SF Opera Sing A Story: The Magic Flute
    San Anselmo Libary, Council Chambers
    Friday, 3:30–4:30 pm

    A teaching artist from the San Francisco Opera will introduce The Magic Flute by Mozart, complete with singing and opera insights. Musical storytelling, a choral coaching and singing session, props and costumes make this a truly immersive creative experience! Ages 4-10. Free. Location: 110 Tunstead Ave, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Kids' Night Out: Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Rolling Hills Club, Novato
    Friday, 6–9:30 pm

    Are you ready for adventure? Rolling Hills Club is excited to offer an evening of scavenger hunts, "poison dart" battles, and mummy relays! The movie Raiders of the Lost Ark will be watched. This is a PG movie and may not be appropriate for all children. Pizza will be provided. Ages: 5–12. Cost: $24 member and $34 guest. Register here. Location: 351 San Andreas Drive, Novato. For more info, call (415) 897-2185 or 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.
  • Friday Night Jazz Concerts
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur
    6:00–9:00 pm

    Come on down to hear Bill Belasco and Aguabella at Friday Night Jazz. Free. For more info, visit their website.
  • The Stapleton Theatre Company presents The Music Man
    The Playhouse, San Anselmo

    Friday & Saturday, 7:30 pm, Sunday, 2 pm
    The Stapleton Theatre Company is celebrating 10 years with resident director Bruce Vieira by reprising his first show, Meredith Willson's The Music Man. Tickets: $22 adults, $16 students. Purchase tickets here. For more information, visit their website.
  • BOOM! Unique Circus Spectacle
    Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley
    Friday & Saturday, 8 pm, Sunday, 2 pm
    BOOM! breathes new life into the ancient tradition of masked theater, full of spontaneous improvisations with the audience, heart-touching drama, impossible skills and hilarious moments of sheer humanity. Peter Sweet and David Poznanter portray a cast of 6 characters who put on an entire circus, complete with slackrope, Cyr Wheel, juggling and live music. It’s an explosion of exhilarating entertainment for the entire family! Tickets: $21–$36. Location: 142 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, May 6

  • Free Access to all Parks
    Marin County Parks
    Saturday, All Day

    Marin County Parks is offering free access to all parks on the first Saturday of the month all year long! Includes Black Point Boat Launch, McInnis Park, McNears Beach Park, Miller Boat Launch, Paradise Beach Park, and Stafford Lake Park. For more info, visit their website.

Experience Maker Faire Bay Area 2017, the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth!

May 6, 2017

Maker Faire Bay Area

Get ready for the greatest show (and tell) on earth as Maker Faire Bay Area returns to the San Mateo Event Center. Maker Faire describes itself as “part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new!”, and it’s a family-friendly expo of invention and creativity featuring everything from technology, science, and engineering to food, art, and education. It’s a celebration of all things “Maker” that will inspire you and your family to become Makers yourselves. Maker Faire Bay Area takes place Friday through Sunday, May 19, 20, and 21, from 1 to 5 pm on Friday (preview day), 10 am to 7 pm on Saturday, and 10 am to 6 pm on Sunday.

Summertime Adventure for the Littlest Campers in Mill Valley

May 4, 2017

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Avid4 Adventure which offers summer camps for kids from pre-K to 12th grade in Mill Valley, as well as Oakland, Palo Alto and Saratoga. Learn more at avid4.com.

This summer, even the youngest campers can have an adventurous fun time with the camps offered in Mill Valley for preschoolers, kindergarteners, and first graders by Avid4 Adventure. Choose from Discovery for pre-K, Explorer for kids in kindergarten and first grade, and Learn to Bike, for pre-K through first grade.

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