Now Open in San Anselmo: The Cyber Garage Makerspace

January 3, 2017

The Cyber Garage San Anselmo

Are your kids going stir crazy now that the holidays are over? Try something new! Visit the Cyber Garage, a brand new non-profit community makerspace, robotics center and computer programming and game design lab for kids in Kindergarten through 12th grade who want to create, invent, tinker, and discover. Located at 14 Ross Avenue in downtown San Anselmo, this fully renovated 2,500-square-foot design and tech lab is equipped with the most advanced technology and fabrication equipment on the market today.

To celebrate their opening, Cyber Garage will be hosting open houses on Wednesday, January 4 from 10 am–1 pm and Thursday, January 5 from 2–5 pm. Stop in any time during our open house and check out our new makerspace, where you can experience laser cutting, woodworking, 3D printing, coding, robots and more. Discover the maker in you and create something amazing you can take home! The Cyber Garage open house is free for kids with parents, or $10 per hour for drop-off for kids ages 8–14.

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

January 3, 2017

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.

Visit a Museum for Free in January

January 2, 2017

Visit a Bay Area Museum for freeDid you know you can visit most of the Bay Area's major museums and cultural attractions for free every month? Just about all museums have one day a month set aside as a free day. They all aren't on the same day, too, so if you plan it right you can take in several museum outings without having to pay a thing.

Note that most museums charge for admission to special exhibitions and usually only the special exhibition fee is charged on free days; see details with each museum listing below.

Also, groups are generally not admitted on free days; check with each museum for their free day group policy.

First Sunday of the Month—January 1

First Tuesday of the Month—January 3

Get Active with the Family for the New Year

January 2, 2017

Mountain biking at China Camp

Happy New Year! Getting healthier and more active is always a top New Year's resolution, and we're here to help. We've compiled a list of our favorite (and our readers' favorite) ways for the whole family to get out and get active in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area in 2017.

Exercise your body and your brain

Take a family hike and learn about history, wildlife, and the natural world while you're at it! Our favorite place to exercise your mind and body in Marin is the Point Reyes National Seashore headquarters at Bear Valley, where you can hike the Earthquake Trail, visit a reconstructed Miwok village, meet some Morgan horses, and even become a Junior Ranger at the visitor center. Other great destinations for this include the Marin Headlands and Olompali State Historic Park near Novato.

Winter Music Classes for Kids in Marin

January 1, 2017

Music ClassMy kids have always really loved music, and I think that's due in part to taking music classes like these starting when they were really little. We tried a few different classes around Marin and the North Bay, and really like the Kindermusik programs offered here in Novato by Music with Melissa. Regardless of which program you choose, there is a music class for every child from newborn to grade school.

If you’re thinking of getting your child involved in a music class, then now’s the time to sign up. Many classes will resume their sessions in January. Here’s an updated list we’ve put together of a variety of local music programs and classes. If we’ve left out your favorite class then please let us know, or, better yet, leave a comment and tell everyone why you and your kids love it!

Christmas Tree Recycling in Marin

January 1, 2017

Christmas tree recyclingAs December draws to a close and the New Year begins, the time comes bid farewell to your Christmas tree. It's a sad but inevitable fact of life that your tree has to go at some point, unless you have an artificial Christmas tree, in which case you can stop reading right here.

Fortunately, your local disposal agency is usually more than happy to take your dried out old Noble Fir off your hands and do the green thing with the tree by recycling it. If for some reason you can't leave your tree out by the curb with your yard waste, you can drop it off at a number of different locations, including all Marin County Fire Department stations (through January 21), throughout Marin County.

Keep in mind that you need to remove all ornaments, lights, tinsel, and plastic tree bags from the tree before you put it out for pick up. (Don't forget to remove metal or plastic stands, too.) Here's a rundown of Christmas tree disposal details for communities in Marin:

Marin Sanitary

For Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Las Gallinas Valley, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Ross Valley (Sleepy Hollow and Oak Manor): Trees will be collected at the curb on your regular yard waste pickup day during the month of January. One pickup per residence. If trees are greater than 6 feet in length, please cut them in half. Remove all metal stands, plastic tree bags, and ornaments. Flocked trees will not be accepted.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for December 30, 31 & January 1

December 31, 2016

Point Reyes Lighthouse Visit the Point Reyes Lighthouse this weekend to watch for migrating gray whales.

It's whale watching season! Read more about visiting Point Reyes National Seashore to look for these migrating giants. There's also holiday ice skating at numerous locations throughout the Bay Area.

Friday, December 30

  • Holiday Ice Skating in Union Square
    San Francisco
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–11:30 pm

    Union Square, San Francisco's main shopping district, gets into the ice skating spirit during the holiday season with an outdoor ice rink sponsored by Safeway. 90-minute sessions start on every even hour. Admission: $11 for adults, 7 children 8 and under. Skate rental $6. Information: (415) 781-2688 or visit their website.
  • Marin on Ice
    Northgate Mall, San Rafael
    Friday & Sunday, noon–9 pm; Saturday, noon–10 pm

    Hit the ice at Marin's only outdoor ice skating rink (open New Year's Day). This season's rink features 6,400 square feet of real ice. Cost: $15 per person all-day; skate rental included. Location: Oak Tree Plaza, Northgate Mall, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Nike Missile Site Open House
    Marin Headlands, Sausalito
    Friday & Saturday, 12:30–3:30 pm

    Unique in the National Park Service, this restored Cold War anti-aircraft missile site has intriguing stories to tell. Take a ranger-guided tour of this restored facility, and learn about its history from volunteers, many of whom served at sites like. Free. Read about our visit here. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Zoo Lights
    San Francisco Zoo
    Friday, 5–8 pm

    Come get a feeling for the San Francisco Zoo at night under magical holiday lights! Make your way from Entry Village to the Elinor Friend Playground for some magical playtime under the stars. Stop by to see Santa Claus to put in some last-minute requests. Grab some hot apple cider or cocoa and head over to the Playfield Lawn pay a visit to Santa's special reindeer Belle, Holly, Peppermint, and Velvet. And there will be light snow flurries at Zoo Lights, so bundle up! $8 adults, $5 kids 4–14, free 3 and under. For more information, visit their website.
  • Zoo Lights
    Oakland Zoo
    Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 5:30–9 pm,
    Hundreds of thousands of LED lights brighten Oakland's night sky. Highlights include a candy cane lane themed rides area, a night time adventure on the Outback Express train, rocking around the Christmas trees and a light show that's sure to blow out any bah-hum-bugs. ZooLights is a separate event and is not included in regular Zoo Admission. $8 adults, $7 children 2–14 and seniors 65+, free for children under 2 and adults over 80. For more info, visit their website.
  • Rombeiro Christmas House
    Devonshire Drive, Novato

    Friday–Sunday, 6–10 pm
    Their home is something that truly has to be seen to be believed, and photos don't really do it justice. There are something like 140,000 lights as well as countless figurines, dioramas, and decorations adorning the front and side yards, walls, and roof of the Rombeiro house. If you think the outside is impressive, then you need to go on inside and get a healthy dose of Christmas spirit. You'll find model trains, more figurines, Christmas trees, and the biggest lighted holiday village you've ever seen. Location: 34 Devonshire Drive, off of Center Road, Novato. For more info, read about our visit here.
  • Tactile Dome Special Evening Hours
    Exploratorium, San Francisco
    Friday, 6:15 & 7:30 pm

    The museum closes at 5 pm, but the after-hours interactive fun continues. Take an excursion through total darkness in the Tactile Dome. Crawl, slide, and bump your way through the pitch-dark Dome using your sense of touch as your only guide through its chambers and mazes. For ages 7 and up. Admission: $15, $12 members. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, December 31

  • Noon Year's Eve
    Bay Area Discovery Museum
    , Sausalito
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm
    Ring in the New Year with your little ones at the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s Noon Year’s Eve! This kid-friendly affair includes music by DJ ManCub, a celebratory ball drop at noon, dancing, and various art activities like crown making. In addition, enjoy access to the museum’s indoor and outdoor exhibits like Lookout Cove and Bay Hall. (Note: Iceless Skating Rink is closed during Noon Year’s Eve.) For more info, visit their website.
  • 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). Enjoy complimentary latkes from the Hanukkah Hut, too. For more info, visit their website.
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse
    Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 9:30 am–3:30 pm
    Go see the whales out at the Point Reyes Light House and Chimney Rock. Shuttle buses leave Drakes Beach every 15–20 minutes. The cost is $7 per person. Children under 16 are free. No cars allowed at Point Reyes Light House on weekends and holidays December 26, 2015 through late March 2016. For more info, visit their website.

Family Adventure in the Marin Headlands

December 30, 2016

Marin Headlands

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. Wildlife, beaches, history, natural beauty, sweeping vistas of the Pacific and San Francisco—the Headlands has all that and more.

Now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Marin Headlands was at one time home to a Spanish and Mexican rancho, military fortifications, and Cold-war Nike missile sites. It also narrowly escaped becoming a massive housing development called Marincello back in the 1960s. Thankfully that never came to pass, and we're left with a superlative national park enjoyed by countless Bay Area residents and visitors.

Ring in 2017 with Family Fun for New Year’s Eve

December 29, 2016

New Year's EveWhile New Year’s Eve is usually a party for adults (at least those who can still stay up until midnight), it can also be a fun celebration for the whole family. New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate the old and welcome the new, and just about everyone can appreciate that, even children.

We usually like to have some friends and family over to celebrate the old year and cheer in the new one. During the course of the evening we take a moment to go around the room and recount happy and positive things that have happened throughout the year, as well as what our expectations are for the New Year.

We like to serve festive social foods like fondue, and open a bottle or two of sparkling apple cider like Martinelli's, and some bubbly for the grownups, of course. A festive champagne flute of sparkling cider is fun to sip and welcome by children and adults who aren’t drinking alike.

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