Awesome Spots For a Father's Day Picnic

June 4, 2017

Father's Day is Sunday, June 18. Pack a picnic and celebrate Dad's day outdoors at one of the many great picnic spots in and around Marin and Sonoma County. Here are some of our favorite places to bring our lunch (or brunch) and dine al fresco.

Bear Valley, Point Reyes

  • Bear Valley in the Point Reyes National Seashore is home to the park's visitor center as well as a large picnic area complete with tables, restrooms, charcoal grills,  and drinking water. Have a leisurely lunch outdoors, and then take a hike—there are a number of different hikes and walks you can do here that are suitable for everyone in the family, including the Earthquake Trail, the Bear Valley Trail, and the trail leading to the Morgan horse ranch. Read more about Bear Valley in our article here.

Marin Family Weekend Events for June 2, 3 & 4

June 3, 2017

Find a great deal on clothing, toys, and gear for kids of all ages at the MPOMC Garage Sale this Saturday.

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, June 2

  • Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival
    Sonoma Raceway
    Friday & Saturday, 8 am–6 pm, Sunday, 8 am–5 pm

    Over 400 racers will take center stage for this invitational event. Some of the world’s finest racing machines will take to the track, some of which date as far back as pre-WWI. Featuring an incredible collection of race cars, including Bugatti, Lotus, Corvette, Ferrari, Jaguar, and Alfa Romeo. Tickets: $15–$60. For more info, visit their website.
  • Children's Garden Series: Alphabet Rockers
    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. Over the past decade, the Alphabet Rockers have honed a supremely engaging hip-hop act designed for children and families. This powerhouse group makes the world come alive through beats, rhymes, songs and dances. For more info, visit their website.
  • French Storytime (L'Heure du Conte)
    San Anselmo Library
    Friday, 11–11:30 am

    For children of all ages and their parent or caregiver. Talk, sing, read, and play together. Share books, stories, rhymes, music in French. No registration required. Parents/caregivers are expected to stay with children during all storytime sessions. Free. Location: 110 Tunstead Avenue, Council Chambers, San Anselmo. 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 live music, dance and theater performances, hands-on art activities, and exhibition tours. Families welcome. Free. Location: 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Parents Night Out: Inside Out
    Rolling Hills Club, Novato
    Friday, 6–9:30 pm

    There are a lot of things to be happy about! Parents Night Out is one of them! Join us as we create stress balls, candy necklaces, and get moving with parachute play. We will watch Inside Out. A pizza dinner will be served. All children must be potty trained. Ages: 2.5–10. 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.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Fridays, 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: The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra. Food available to purchase. For more information, visit their website

Saturday, June 3

  • 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,  .
  • Museums on Us Free Day
    Various Museums
    Saturday & Sunday

    Bank of America cardholders can visit the following Bay Area museums for free! Enjoy the Contemporary Jewish Museum, de Young Museum, the Legion of Honor, and the Chabot Space and Science Center. Photo ID and a valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card must be presented. For more information, visit their website.
  • Free Saturday Morning Yoga
    Old Mill Park, Mill Valley
    Saturday, 9–10 am
    Practice a modification of alignment-based anusara-inspired Hatha yoga with a combination of breathing, standing, and seated postures in front of the beautiful redwood trees. Prepare to sweat, breathe, align, and stretch. Enjoy a fun unique environment of mindfulness and acceptance while strengthening your core, balance and long muscles. For all levels. Bring a mat and water bottle. Location: Meet at Old Mill Park Amphitheater, 10 minutes prior to start of class. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Parents of Multiples Club Garage Sale
    Marin Catholic High School
    Saturday, 8 am–2 pm
    (closed from noon–1 pm)
    Marin's largest garage sale for babies and kids has clothes for pregnant moms, babies and children up to age six. Other items include toys, baby equipment, and furniture.This sale has the reputation for providing clean, high quality items at excellent prices. Designer clothes racks too. Admission $1 per person; free for children 12 and under. They offer an early-bird admission at 7:45 am for $15 per family. Closed from noon to 1 pm for lunch and then there's a half price sale from 1–2 pm. Marin Catholic High School is located at 675 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in Kentfield. For more info, visit their website.
  • National Trails Day Events
    Various locations in Marin and the Bay Area
    Saturday, times vary
    National Trails Day is the nation’s largest celebration of trails and the outdoors. Events take place at parks throughout Marin, including the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, as well as in other outdoors spots on the San Francisco Bay Area. Help enhance our trail systems, meet fellow park lovers, and enjoy a celebration of our great park! Learn more and find an event near you on their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    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! Wildcare will be at the Mart from 10 am–2 pm and a Flamenco Kids Performance at 3 pm.  For more info, visit their website.
  • Freighter Tots with Suzanne Fox
    Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
    Saturday, 10 am

    In this song circle, we’ll sing, dance to, and act out folk songs about things kids care about: things like animals, nature, vehicles, their bodies, family, friends and being silly. Little children can start to understand tempo and rhythm using toy instruments; parents and other caretakers can learn songs to sing and games to play with their children. Make music part of their lives! Music builds community. For ages 18 months to 6 years. Cost: $10 per family. Reserve your spot now.
  • Bay Area Book Festival
    Downtown Berkeley
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm
    This indoor-outdoor festival of all things literary features a roster of diverse authors and speakers for all ages, including children and teens. Other family activities include live music and performances on the Showtime Stage, tons of hands-on activities, and a Fun & Games Carnival. Admission is free, but there is a fee for the keynote speakers. Location: Downtown Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.
  • 41st Annual Union Street Music Festival
    Union Street from Gough to Steiner, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–6 pm
    This year's event will have feature live bands performing in small entertainment areas throughout the site. Five different genres: Jazz, Blues, Country, Bluegrass and Local Bands! The Festival will also include Arts and Craft Exhibitors, unique Sponsors, Festive Food Vendors and Community Groups, as well as beer and wine. Free; tickets required for craft beer and wine pavilions. For more info, visit their website.
  • Biggest Little Airshow
    Hiller Aviation Museum, San Carlos
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm

    Join the festivities as the Biggest Little Air Show matches a thrilling aerobatic performance by airshow pilot John Collver and his full-sized 1944 SNJ along with demonstrations of exceptional radio controlled models. San Carlos Airport will close to regular traffic from 10:30 am to noon to allow realistic jet- and propeller-powered model aircraft to roll down the runway and into the sky to take their part in a unique aerial extravaganza, including aerobatic helicopters, drones, quadrotors and more!! Free with museum admission. Location: 601 Skyway Road, San Carlos. For tickets and more info, visit their website.
  • American Girl Birthday Party
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am
    Let's throw a birthday party, American Girl style! Join us as we prepare some yummy treats that will make your gathering memorable. Cost: $30 per child includes American Girl Apron Suitable for ages 8-13. Call the store to reserve your spot: (415) 924-6799. Location: The Village Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Headlands Treasure Hunt
    Point Bonita YMCA, Sausalito
    Saturday, 11 am–12:30 pm
    Find clues and explore fun! Say goodbye to Google Maps and experience the Marin Headlands as explorers of the past! Find your way to fun clues and challenges as you explore Point Bonita. Y marks the spot and we'll see you here!  Free. After, enjoy a great lunch and amazing ocean views for only $10 adults and $5 children under 12. Location: 981 Fort Barry, Sausalito. For more info and to register, call (415) 331-9622 or visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: Mexican Metal Art
    Presidio Officers Club, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–4 pm

    rop in for imaginative craft-making based on the Presidio’s natural and cultural heritage. Featuring different crafts every weekend! The Presidio was under Mexican control from 1822–1846. To celebrate the Presidio’s Mexican heritage, join us in making a repujado craft. Repujado is a traditional Mexican art form where metal is raised and decorated to create beautiful designs. Registration preferred but not required. For more info, visit their website.
  • How to Draw Peanuts
    Charles M. Schulz Museum, Santa Rosa
    Saturday, 11 am

    Learn to draw your favorite cartoon characters with cartoonist Robert Pope. Pope has worked for Peanuts, Batman, Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo, and many more. Pope will discuss his creative process and teach you how to draw some of your favorite characters! Free after museum admission. For more info, visit their website.
  • The Traveling Spectacular at Cornerstone
    Cornerstone, Sonoma
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am & 2 pm

    The Traveling Spectacular is a surrealist vaudeville experience inspired by the dreams and dust of a bygone age. Allow your sense of wonder to ignite as we take you on a journey into the imagination: Grand illusions, a sword-swallowing prestidigitator extraordinaire, vaudevillian comedy, a bevy of dancing beauties and the fire-breathing Devil himself! All set to original music by our Gypsy-Klezmer orchestra, the Oddjob Ensemble. $20, children under 4 free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Wonder Woman Day Celebration: Special Storytime
    Barnes & Noble, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 1 pm

    Join us for a specially-scheduled Wonder Woman Storytime at 1pm! We'll hear about one of our favorite heroes and make our own WW tiaras, and all are invited to stay for the Wonder Woman/DC Comics cosplay event at 2 pm! Costume categories for ages 0-12, 13-18 and 18+. Our first 25 guests at this event will receive a free exclusive Wonder Woman tiara and wristband set from DC Comics! Location: Town Center Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Science Saturday at Environmental Discovery Center
    Spring Lake Regional Park, Santa Rosa
    Saturday, 1–4 pm

    Families are welcome to stop by and join a Discovery Center naturalist for fun, hands-on activities with a different theme each month. Activities start on the hour at 1, 2 or 3 pm. Science Saturdays feature tangible experiments and projects that let children explore the world around us. Free; parking is $7 or free for Regional Parks members. Location: 393 Violetti Road, Santa Rosa. For more info, visit their website.

Inexpensive (or Free) Family Activities in the Bay Area for June

June 1, 2017

June is here, which means the end ofthe school year and summer vacation! It's time to start thinking of fun and affordable ways to keep the kids occupied when they're finally out of school. Fortunately, parents in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area will find plenty for kids to do!

Here are suggestions for great affordable summer activities and outings in Marin and the Bay Area taking for each day in the month of June. From hiking to swimming to movies to concerts, everything listed here is inexpensive or even free. You don't have to break the bank to have a great time!

All Month

Summer Reading Challenge
Marin County Free Library Branches

Join the Summer Challenge for Kids & Teens at the Marin County Public Libraries. Kids earn a Book Bucks for every 100 minutes of reading which can be redeemed for a variety of prizes. Kids who complete the Learning Challenge wil receive a Gold Medal Reader button. Teens can earn scratcher tickets by checking out books, writing book reviews, and attending teen events. Check with your local library branch for details.

Thursday, June 1

Presidio Twilight
San Francisco Presidio
5–9 pm
Presidio Twilight is the Bay Area's largest community campfire! Enjoy a large selection of international cuisine from the food trucks of Off the Grid, live music, sunset activities, and the ambiance of San Francisco’s national park for a one-of-a-kind experience. Lantern-lit cabanas and fire pits are available free on a first come, first-served basis. Additional activities include traditional games such as bean bag toss, hula hoops, and giant Jenga. More information.

Summer Festivals in Marin and the Bay Area

May 30, 2017

Italian Street Painting Marin

Summertime is festival time! When the weather heats up, so do the fun local family-friendly festivals in Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area. Offering music, performances, shopping, games, hands-on activities and more, there's usually something at these festivals for the entire family.

Here's our 2017 list of events taking place throughout Marin and the Bay Area this summer and into the fall. Many of these festivals are free, but some do charge admission. Check their websites for any fees, as well as times and details.

June

Picnics, Nature and Play at Stafford Lake Park

May 30, 2017

Stafford Lake

Stafford Lake, the reservoir that provides the town of Novato with much of its drinking water, is also the site of one of Marin's favorite outdoor recreation spots: Stafford Lake County Park. There are so many activities to do at this 139-acre park, and I'm surprised my family and I don't come here more often, especially since it's literally just around the corner from our house. If you haven't been there, you've certainly passed it on Novato Boulevard on your way out to the Cheese Factory or Point Reyes. With an upgraded play area, picnic spots, fishing, and an awesome bike park for all ages, you owe it to yourself to stop by and see what Stafford Lake has to offer!

Live Reptile Birthday Parties at Marin Treks

May 29, 2017

Marin Treks Birthday Parties

Have you been to the Marin Treks Natural History Museum yet? It's a great place to take the kids to learn about nature and the environment and to have some hands-on fun with their collection of live animals. Did you know they also offer awesome birthday parties, too?

Let Marin Treks make your child's next birthday party a day to remember! You can hold your party at their museum in Novato, or outdoors in your backyard or in a local park. Marin Treks' exciting hands-on birthday adventures allow the birthday girl or boy and their guests to hold and learn fun facts about the museum's amazing collection of live reptiles. Discuss where they live, what they eat, how they avoid predators, and a whole lot more. The children are encouraged to ask as many questions as they can and then try to answer their own questions by carefully observing the animals, just like real scientists.

Find a Bargain at the Marin Parents of Multiples Club Garage Sale

May 28, 2017

Marin Parents of Multiples Club Garage Sale

Find top quality children’s clothes, toys, and equipment at garage sale prices on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at the annual Marin Parents of Multiples Club (MPOMC) Garage Sale! Known at the largest family garage sale in Marin County, the sale features a variety of high-quality used items including maternity apparel, baby and children’s clothes (from infant to about age 10), infant and toddler gear, toys, furniture, strollers, safety equipment, feeding and nursing items, books, videos, outdoor play toys and equipment, and much more!

Marin Memorial Day Weekend Family Events 2017

May 28, 2017

Mountain Play Beauty and the BeastExperience Disney's Beauty and the Beast at the Mountain Play this Memorial Day Weekend.

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this Memorial Day Weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, May 26

  • American Crown Circus
    St. Vincent's, Marinwood
    Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday, various times

    This family run, bilingual circus, presented by Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise, is centered around acrobats, performers, and clowns, with no exotic animals. Performances are on Friday, May 26 at 6:30 pm; Saturday and Sunday, May 27 and 28 at 1:30, 4, and 6:30 pm; and Monday, May 29 at 1:30 and 4 pm. Advance tickets are $15 and are good for any performance; two children under 12 admitted free per paid advance adult ticket. Tickets at the gate $20. Parking is $5. For more info or to order tickets, visit their website.
  • Kiddo Family Carnival
    Mill Valley Community Center
    Friday, 4–10 pm, Saturday & Sunday, noon–10 pm & Monday, noon–5 pm

    Bring the family for a four-day real old-fashioned carnival. There will be rides for all ages, plus food and games. The littlest ones in your family will love the Berry-Go-Round and the Tune Train, while your teenagers will be thrilled with the Sizzler, Zipper, Century Wheel, and the Typhoon. Advance discounted ticket books will be available in the Kiddo! office and Mill Valley Community Center while they last. Books are $25 advance, $35 once the carnival begins. Books may be turned in for a one-day wrist band for unlimited rides. Food and games extra. Location: 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.

Great Summer Reads for Kids from Diesel Bookstore in Larkspur

May 28, 2017

Summer books

Marin Mommies presents a guest article highlighting some fantastic summer reading selections from Clare Doornbos, the children's book expert at DIESEL bookstore in Larkspur. Diesel is located in Marin Country Mart at 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle. Visit their website at www.dieselbookstore.com or call them at (415) 785-8177.

School's almost out and summer is almost here! Your kids are booked into camp, the trip to Grandma's house is all planned out, and the beach is calling. Now you just need to get some books together. There are so many great books to choose from for toddlers to independent readers. You already know many of the classics, so Clare from Diesel bookstore in Larkspur has picked out some new books that will keep your kids reading all summer long.

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