Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze

September 28, 2015

Petaluma Pumpkin Patch

A multiple-time winner of the Marin Mommies Pumpkin Patch Poll, the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze is the big Halloween pumpkin patch that you see on the side of Highway 101 just north of the last Petaluma exit. You may even have been stuck in southbound traffic caused by rubberneckers slowing down to look at it and its amazing maze and pumpkin field!

Petaluma Pumpkin Patch, a Halloween fixture in Sonoma County since 1993, is popular for a number of reasons. For one, it's a real pumpkin patch that's not too far from civilization—it's right off the North Bay's major freeway. Second, it offers a nice mix of real country attractions and other more commercial activities like bounce houses, climbing walls, and pony rides. Third, their pumpkin prices are really reasonable: from $1 for mini pumpkins and gourds to $16 and up for really large examples.

Marin and Sonoma Pumpkin Patches 2015

September 28, 2015

Peter Pumpkin Patch

Fall is in the air, and for those seeking that true Halloween pumpkin patch experience, here's our annual guide to pumpkin patches in Marin and southern Sonoma counties.

In Marin County, Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch offers a real on-the-farm experience and the Godmother's Pumpkin Patch at St. Vincent's is a local tradition and an exciting Halloween experience for families. For more real live farms offering pumpkin patches this season, head up north a short distance to rural Sonoma County, where you'll find them in relative abundance. We visited as many of these pumpkin patches as we could last year, and have posted links to our reviews of them below. As always, we'll visit again this year and update our reviews.

Easy Baja Fish Tacos

September 28, 2015

Baja fish tacosMy kids love fish, so these Baja-style fish tacos are a big hit in our house. They're easy to make, and most of the work comes in prepping the add-ons: crunchy shredded cabbage, radishes, salsa, and a creamy lime-infused sauce.

These tacos are fresh and light and remind me of a day at the beach in Southern California. Take a bite and it's summertime at the beach, even if it's the middle of winter.

If you're really short for time, you can make these with frozen fried fish filets like the halibut filets from Trader Joe's, but they're so much better with delicious fresh fish. I made our last batch with some wonderful local lingcod that I got from Real Good Fish, a community supported fishery (or CSF—it's like a farm CSA but for fish) with pick up sites in southern Marin.


  • 1 lb lingcod, rockfish, or other whitefish filets
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ancho chile

Pumpkin Patches Further Afield

September 28, 2015

Pumpkin PatchWhile there are plenty of awesome pumpkin patches to choose from in Marin and southern Sonoma counties (see our list of those here), you can find other great places to pick up pumpkins and other Halloween and autumn treats throughout the greater Bay Area. Maybe you're headed on a road trip to the south bay, or bound for the grandparents' house in Sacramento this October—there's probably a pumpkin patch on the way. Here are a few out-of-town pumpkin patches, in Solano, Contra Costa, and San Mateo counties, that we've visited at one time or another or had recommended to us.

Solano County

  • Western Railway Museum Pumpkin Patch Festival
    5848 Highway 12
    Suisun 94585
    (707) 374-2978
    Saturdays and Sundays, October 10–25, 9:30 am–5 pm

    The Western Railway Museum in rural Solano County holds its celebrated annual Pumpkin Festival every Saturday and Sunday from October 11–26. Ride a vintage electric express train to the pumpkin patch at Gum Grove Station for pumpkins, tractor rides, games, music, a hay fort, a pumpkin launcher, and pumpkins for sale, of course. Admission is $12 for adults, $11 for seniors 65+, and $9 for children 2–14. Admission includes museum entry, unlimited train rides, picnic area use, and parking. Reservations are not accepted.

5 Reasons Rodan + Fields Makes Sense for Busy Moms

September 27, 2015

Rodan + FieldsMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Stephanie Wong and Rodan + Fields.

Hello Marin Moms! New teams are launching in Marin this fall. We invite you to join our inspired, authentic, fun, and collaborative community.

I help women to build a lucrative business at home around their little ones during the important years. Or like me, moms who are looking to step away from corporate careers to build a Plan B.  I now feel financially secure, have increased self-confidence and my skin feels more beautiful than it did in my 20s! See why the Today Show named Rodan + Fields the leader in the social commerce channel here.

  1. Lifestyle. What I love about this “Social Commerce” business is how it fits seamlessly into the nooks and crannies of my life... at school drop off, after yoga, while shopping at Whole Foods and connecting with college friends and past coworkers on Facebook.

Southern Marin Mothers' Club Private School Fair

September 27, 2015

SMMC Marin Private School FairIf you're a Marin County parent looking into private schools for your children, make sure you plan on visiting the third annual Southern Marin Mothers' Club School Fair, which takes place at Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera on Wednesday, October 7, from 6:30 to 9 pm. Most private schools in southern Marin, as well as many other schools throughout the county, will be represented at this event.

This fair is designed for parents looking for private school kindergarten options for their children in Marin as well as parents wanting to switch schools or who are new to the area. Local school placement specialists Betsy Little and Paula Molligan will be on hand to speak on what to consider when selecting a school and the various options available. The parents will then circulate around the school tables and learn about the differences between the programs.

Win a HUE Animation Studio Kit!

September 26, 2015

HUE Animation StudioAre your kids ready to make their own stop-motion movies? One of the best ways to get started is with the fun and easy-to-use HUE Animation Studio, and we're giving one away to one lucky Marin Mommies reader!

HUE Animation Studio includes a USB 720p HD camera with built-in microphone, animation software for Windows and Mac, and the 60-page HUE Book of Animation, which contains instructions, tips, and inspiration for creating your own stop-motion movies. You can read our review of HUE Animation Studio here.

To enter to win, send an email to with "HUE Animation" in the subject line by Friday, October 2, 2015. We'll choose a winner at random on Saturday. Read our complete contest rules here.

Marin Family Weekend Fun for September 25, 26 & 27

September 25, 2015
Peter Pumpkin Patch
Get a head start on fall at some of our favorite pumpkin patches opening this weekend!

Here are our other 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, September 25

  • Petaluma Pumpkin Patch Opens
    550 Stony Point Road
    Friday & Saturday, 10 am–10 pm and Sunday, 10 am–6pm
    This is the opening weekend for the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch. Over 50 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds, as well as a 4-acre Amazing Corn Maze (admission $5, 5 and under free; $9 on Friday and Saturday nights 6–10 pm), farm animals, a zip line, weekend pony rides, face painting, jumpy houses and inflatables, food vendors, covered snack area, and more. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sunset Family Hike
    Presidio Trust, San Francisco
    Friday, 6–7:30 pm

    Come and enjoy an evening stroll to Marshall’s Beach under the setting sun!? The Batteries to Bluffs trail provides stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands, Land’s End and the ocean. No flashlights are necessary and please dress warmly. All ages are welcome! No dogs pls. Registration required here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Nights on Main: Annual Firemen's Ball
    Friday, 6–9 pm
    Bring the family to some outdoor dining, live music and dancing on Main Street in downtown Tiburon. This Friday, dance to the Fundamentals. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, September 26

  • Weekend Along Farm Trails
    Sonoma County
    Saturday & Sunday
    Sonoma County farms are abundant with fall harvest. Pack up the family and head out to the farm! Tour your way through Sonoma County and visit farms of your choice. Activities include farm tours, demonstrations, animal petting, hay rides & corn mazes, games and crafts for kids, tastings, cooking demos, flower arranging, and more. Many stops will offer snacks, lunches and epic picnic sites. Farm stands will be open for fresh-from-the-source purchases. For more info and to register, visit their website.
  • Dipsea Hike for Zero Breast Cancer
    Old Mill Park, Mill Valley
    Saturday, 8 am–1 pm

    Get out and get physical for a great cause! This six-mile, noncompetitive, all-ages trail loop is a great way to spend time with friends—enjoy breathtaking Mount Tamalpais views, experience the legendary Dipsea steps, and enjoy food, music, and prizes with great people. Raises funds for Zero Breast Cancer’s prevention-focused research efforts. For more info or to register, visit their website.
  • Family Nature Hike
    Olompali State Historic Park, Novato
    Satuday, 8:30 am–noon

    Bring the family to explore nature at Olompali. Learn about habitats, geology, animal tracks, wildflowers, birds, archaeology and more. Meet in the Olompali parking lot at 8:30 am. Bring binoculars, lunch, and water. Parking $8; event is free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Wings Over Wine Country Air Show
    Sonoma County Airport, Santa Rosa
    Saturday & Sunday, 9 am–4 pm

    The Wings Over Wine Country Air Show is presented by the Pacific Coast Air Museum (PCAM) as a family-friendly community event. Lots of activities for families and children as well as military jet fly-bys, world class civilian aerobatics, and warbirds. Static displays include the museum's collection of over 30 restored aircraft (most of which will be open for climb aboards), civilian and military statics and morning access to the warbirds that will fly later in the show. Gates open both days at 9 am for pre-show activities, including radio controlled model aircraft demonstrations. The main air show events kick off just after 11 am. Purchase tickets here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Learn to Pier Fish
    Paradise Beach Park, Tiburon
    Saturday, 9–11 am
    Bring the kiddos out for a day of fishing with the local Rangers. A limited amount of poles will be available on a first come, first-served basis. A valid California fishing license is required when fishing from the shore, not from the pier. This event is ideal for all ages. All skill levels are welcome and no experience is necessary. Don’t forget to bring a fishing pole. We will provide bait and a limited amount of fishing poles. No pets (except service animals) are allowed at this park. Park entrance is waived for participants. Location: 3450 Paradise Beach Park, Tiburon. For more info, visit their website.
  • USTA Kids' Play Day
    Tiburon Peninsula Club
    Saturday, 9–11 am

    USTA Kids' Play Day at the Tiburon Challenger, a Pro Circuit men's professional event, is a special opportunity for children 6–12 to see a special exhibition performance, take part in fun activities and games on the court, and enjoy ice cream. USTA NorCal will have gifts for all participants, and kids and their families can stay to see qualifying matches. Participation in Kids' Play Day is free, but registration is required here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Peter Pumpkin Patch Opening
    Spring Hill Jersey Farm, Petaluma
    Saturday & Sunday, 9 am–6 pm

    Pick your own organic pumpkin, dig for potatoes, take a tractor ride, visit farm animals, taste homemade ice cream and Spring Hill cheese, milk a cow, and get lost in the hay maze. Peter Pumpkin Patch also ofers fresh fruits and vegetables and picnic baskets. Free parking. This is a wonderful and fun pumpkin patch on a real working farm. Location: 4235 Spring Hill Road (off Bodega Avenue). For more info, call (707) 762-3446 or visit their website.
  • Blackie's Hay Day 
    Blackie's Pasture, Tiburon
    Saturday, 9 am–4 pm

    Blackie's Hay Day has become a community tradition that children look forward to every year. Designed for children of all ages, Blackie's Hay Day is reminiscent of an old fashioned country fair with pony rides, relay races, toy tractors, jumpies, a climbing wall, live entertainment, food trucks, and more. General admission $15 and children under 2 free.. Activity tickets in packets of 25 ($25) and unlimited bracelets ($50) are available. Order advance tickets online here. For more info, visit their website.
  • McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am&ndash5 pm
    Find the perfect pumpkin in McClelland's three-acre organic pumpkin field. Pick your pumpkins straight from the vine. Free admission includes pumpkin patch, petting farm animals, and watching cows being milked in the parlor. There's also a hay maze, kids' haunted hay house, hay rides, bounce houses, tire swing, pumpkin blaster, and u-pick squash, as well as a farm store. There will also be a food cart serving organic grilled cheese sandwiches, organic milkshakes, organic popcorn, and espresso drinks. For more info, visit their website.
  • Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival
    Sonoma Plaza
    Saturday 10 am–8 pm & Sunday, 10 am–4 pm
    The Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival is Sonoma Valley’s annual tradition of celebrating the harvest of wine grapes and the yearly crush. California’s oldest festival, this Sonoma tradition is held on the historic town square and is fun for all ages. Festivities include Opening Night Gala, blessing of the grapes, reenactment of the Bear Flag Revolt, firefighters' water fight, family grape stomp, parade, kids carnival, tiny tacks race, and 5k run/walk. For more info, visit their website.
  • HeadsUp Summerfest Carnival
    San Rafael High School
    Saturday, 10:30 am–4:30 pm

    Come have fun and help save critical school programs for San Rafael City Schools at the HeadsUp Summerfest Carnival on Saturday. Admission is free! Game booths, giant slide, jumpy jumps, petting zoo, face painting, henna, wheel of fortune, kiss a pig, dunk tank, high school art display, kid’s stage with school music groups, yummy BBQ, and delicious pupusas. Location: at 185 Mission Avenue, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.

Weekend Along the Farm Trails Takes Place September 26 & 27

September 24, 2015

Weekend Along the Farm Trails Peter Pumpkin PatchMarin Mommies presents a sponsored shout-out from Sonoma County Farm Trails.

North Bay farms are now abundant with the fall harvest. Sonoma County Farm Trails, the folks who produce the world-famous Gravenstein Apple Fair, invites families to head out to the farms for Weekend Along the Farm Trails on Saturday and Sunday, September 26 and 27. The free, self-guided tour provides fun for the whole family.

From 10 am to 4 pm both days, visitors can tour their way through Sonoma County and stop in at the participating farms of their choice. Guests can take part in demonstrations, petting friendly farm animals, hayrides, corn mazes, games and crafts for kids, tastings, cooking demos, flower arranging, and more. Some locations charge modest fees for special tours and activities, but entry to all farms and most activities are free of charge.

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