Get Ready for the Goblin Jamboree at the Bay Area Discovery Museum

September 19, 2015

Goblin JamboreeCome get a jump on Halloween at the 29th annual Goblin Jamboree fundraiser at the Bay Area Discovery Museum! Bring your little goblins to this year’s spooky family event on Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18 from 10 am to 4 pm. Come in costume and explore the Bay Area Discovery Museum transformed into a haunted Halloween wonderland complete with games, attractions and live entertainment.

Ride a spooky train or real ponies, make potions in the Witches' and Wizards' School, and enjoy a full brew of games, activities and live entertainment. New features this year include a kid-sized hay maze, end of day costume parades, and a chance to make colorful potions and dissect jack-o-lanterns! Make sure you also stop in the Bay Hall to experience the glowing trains, too!

Marin Weekend Family Fun for September 18, 19 & 20

September 18, 2015
Blue Fairy at the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival
Family fun awaits this weekend at Mill Valley's 58th annual Fall Arts Festival in Old Mill Park.

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, September 18

  • 51st Annual Fall Big Book Sale
    Fort Mason, San Francisco
    Friday and Saturday, 10 am-6 pm

    The annual Friends of the San Francisco Public Libary Big Book Sale features over 500,000 books, DVDs, CDs, books on tape, vinyl and other forms of media in over 100 categories. Everything is $3 or less, with a 3-2-1 scale: $3 hard cover books; $2 paperback books; $1 DVDs, CDs, books on tape, vinyl and other forms of media. All items remaining on Sunday are $1. Location: Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason. For more info, visit their website.
  • 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: $7 per person; siblings under 7 months free. For more info, call (415) 652-2474 or visit his website.
  • Parents Night Out
    Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
    Friday, 5–9 pm

    Drop off the kids and enjoy a night out! While you relax, the kids will be having fun playing games, making crafts, watching a movie, and enjoying dinner. This event often sells out—register early! For ages 3–10. Cost: $23; $5 sibling discount. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, September 19

  • Farmers Market & Pie Baking Competition
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Show off your baking skills and bring your best pie to the Marin Country Mart Farmers Market on Saturday at 10 am at the tent. New this year is a special category for bakers 14 and under. Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10:30 am–2 pm, children's crafts 10:30 am-1:30 pm, children's music or storytelling from 9:30–10:30 am, and more live music from noon–2 pm pm, as well as fresh produce, prepared foods, and great local restaurants. For more info, visit their website.
  • California Coastal Cleanup Day
    Various Marin locations
    Saturday, 9 am–noon

    On the third Saturday of every September volunteers all over the world converge on beaches, shorelines, and inland waterways to pick up trash and remove dangerous debris. Considered the largest marine-related volunteer event in the world, Coastal Cleanup Day is a wonderful opportunity to lend a hand and make a significant difference. There are over 35 sites in Marin to choose from. Check the list here.
  • Coastal Clean-up Day: Rodeo Beach, Marin Headlands
    Fort Cronkhite, Sausalito
    Saturday, 9 am–noon

    On Saturday, September 19, 2015 The Marine Mammal Center will host a beach cleanup at Rodeo Beach on behalf of International Coastal Cleanup Day. Bring gloves, a bucket, and a friend! Make a day of it and head over to The Marine Mammal Center afterwards to view our patients and learn more about Ocean Conservation! After the cleanup you are also welcome to join all Marin County volunteers at the Bay Model in Sausalito for a free BBQ from noon to 3pm. Free. For all ages. Register here. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Marin Garage Sale
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Shop 'til you drop at the big multi-family garage sale in Novato's San Marin neighborhood. For more info, visit their website.
  • Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden Plant Sale
    College of Marin Indian Valley Campus, Novato
    Saturday and Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Shop for plants and produce this weekend at the Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden. On Sunday, there will be family activities from 1 to 3 pm including a scavenger hunt, face painting, fall farm crafts, and more. For more info, visit their website.
  • Explore the Pioneer Tree Trail
    Samuel P. Taylor Park
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm

    Bring the family for this WildCare exploration. A dense combination of bay laurel, douglas fir, and tanoak trees provide an excellent shady trail in Samuel P. Taylor State Park on hot days. We will start at the Redwood Grove. Aside from the diversity of flora, this area is habitat to gray foxes, northern spotted owls, stellar’s jays, acorn woodpeckers, and more. Join us for a fabulous made-in-the-shade hike in one of Marin’s most beautiful parks. There is an $8 parking fee per vehicle. RSVP required here. For more info, visit their website.
  • 20th Annual San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival
    Treasure Island
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Bring the entire family for a weekend of world-class dragon boat racing, spectacular cultural performances, and fun-filled activities at the largest competitive dragon boat festival in the United States. There are over 130 dragon boat teams and 3,500 dragon boat paddlers racing. This two-day festival includes cultural activities, games, creative arts, crafts, exhibits, entertainment, live dance and music, performances, and immersive experiences for both kids and adults in a family-friendly space. Free admission. For more info, visit their website.
  • Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival
    Old Mill Park, Mill Valley
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    The 58th Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival will showcase over 140 fine artists from all across the country and offer live music and children’s entertainment under the redwoods. The juried works include prints, jewelry, paintings, woodwork, photography, and sculpture. See full schedule here. Cost: $10 general admission, $5 students and seniors, free for kids under 12. Location: Old Mill Park, Throckmorton Ave and Old Mill Street. For more info, visit their website.
  • Junior Chef Classes: American Girl
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am

    Come build your own delicious lunchbox with American Girl. Recipes include bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato and turkey cranberry sandwiches; veggies with buttermilk ranch dip; and lemony-berry bars. For ages 8–13. $30 per child. Class size is limited to 12 students. Cost: $30 per child, 20% of the proceeds will go to No Kid Hungry. Call the store to reserve your spot (415) 924-6799. Location: The Village at Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.

Infant & Child CPR Classes for Marin Parents

September 17, 2015

infant CPR trainingLearning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an important part of any first-aid training, and knowing how to properly administer this technique can save a life! Parents and caregivers in Marin County can learn how to administer CPR to infants and children through many different resources. Here are a few places to learn pediatric CPR in Marin. Most of these classes also cover other first-aid skills like automated external defibrillator (AED) basics and the Heimlich maneuver. If you know of a class that's not on the list below, please let us know and we'll add it!

The Novato Fire District provides CPR classes on the third Tuesday of each month. Classes cost $15, and cover adult, child, and infant CPR, AED familiarization, and the Heimlich maneuver. Certificate is valid for two years. For more information, visit their website or call (415) 878-2690.

All Aboard! Tickets for The Polar Express Train Ride on Sale Soon

September 16, 2015

The Polar Express

Get ready to believe! Tickets for the California State Railroad Museum's annual holiday Polar Express train rides go on sale to members only on September 22–24, 2015 and to the general public on Thursday, October 1, 2015. Members of the Californa State Railroad Museum and Railroad 1897 are eligible to participate in member advance ticket sales. The Railroad Museum's sister organization, Railtown 1897 in Jamestown will also be holding Polar Express train rides again this holiday season.

Exploring Angel Island with Kids

September 15, 2015

Angel Island with kids

One of San Francisco Bay's most prominent landmarks, Angel Island has played a considerable role in the history of California and is now one of the Bay Area's favorite spots for hikers, tourists, history buffs, and anyone who just wants to get away from the busy life on the mainland. It's a great place for a family day trip, with plenty of opportunities to picnic, hike, ride a bike, learn, and just take in the surrounding natural beauty, plus there's a boat ride involved, too!

We took the Angel Island–Tiburon ferry over to the island this past weekend and had a great time. The ferry ride there is quick and efficient, and it's half the fun of the trip. After the short 12-minute trip, you disembark at Ayala Cove and get ready to explore the island.

HUE Animation Studio Makes Stop-Motion Easy for All Ages

September 15, 2015

HUE Animation Studio

We've been experimenting with making stop-motion movies for a while now, using various tools like our DSLR and iPads, but we recently got a review copy of the new HUE Animation Studio and it's changed our filmmaking world!

HUE Animation Studio is a complete kit that includes almost everything you and your kids need to create your own stop-motion movies, including a 720p USB camera, software for Windows or Mac, and a guidebook. You have to provide the imagination! Great sources for animation fun that you probably have on hand include LEGO minifigs, Playmobil figures, and other toys and action figures, modeling clay, and even drawings.

Learning to Walk Is Fun with the New Willa Walker

September 14, 2015

Willa WalkerThe Willa Walker is a cool new baby product launched by five Marin County dads, and it's definitely not something that you think of when you hear "baby walker". It's an innovative way for parents to participate in helping their baby learn to walk, and when we saw it we knew we had to learn more about it. We asked the guy behind the Willa Walker to tell us the story behind this neat new Marin-based product.

What was the inspiration for creating the Willa Walker?

Gabe, the inventor of Willa Walker, is a mechanical engineer and cousin of Willa. He grew up in Tam Valley and went to Tam High. His cousin went kayaking with his wife and left his daughter and co-inventor Willa with him. Willa was a little under one year and was in the transition from crawling to walking.

Gabe is constantly tinkering and inventing fun, so 10 minutes into the babysitting session, Willa Walker was born from some scrap materials in the garage.

Since that time, Gabe has filed for a patent on the design and invited his cousin and three other childhood friends to launch the Willa Walker through their newly-formed Marin-based company, Playful Nature, LLC.

Oven-Baked Chicken Strips

September 14, 2015

baked chicken stripsChicken strips are ubiquitous on restaurant children's menus, but that's probably because almost everybody likes them. This healthier oven-baked alternative to the deep-fried kids' staple is perfect for school lunchboxes (it's good cold) and tasty enough for an easy weeknight meal. Serve them with dipping sauces like BBQ sauce and ranch dressing.

The kids can pitch in and help make these, too. Have them assemble the ingredients and shake the chicken in a bag to coat with breadcrumbs. Using chicken tenders means you don't have to cut anything, too. Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs make these nice and crispy, but regular breadcrumbs will work as well.


  • 1 pound chicken tenders or boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (whole milk is best)

Family Fun Under the Redwoods at the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival

September 13, 2015

Blue Fairy at the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival

On September 19 and 20, artists from around the country will gather beneath the redwoods at historic Old Mill Park for the 59th annual Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival. This popular family-friendly festival features the work of over 140 artists, great live music, and kids' entertainment ranging from puppet shows and magic to sing-alongs and storytelling. It all makes for a magical weekend under the trees!

The festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Family entertainment, emceed by Naomi Caspe on Saturday and the Blue Fairy on Sunday, includes performances by the Fratello Marionettes and the Puppet Art Theater Company, drumming with Mika, magic with Brian Scott and Dan Chan, and music by Singers Marin, Dave Fromer, and the PAAM Broadway Ensemble. Performers on the main music stage include Blithedale Canyon, Business Casual, Barrio Manouche, and Midnight North. Check their website for a complete entertainment schedule.

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