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

September 8, 2016

Blue Fairy at the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival

On September 17 and 18, artists from around the country will gather beneath the redwoods at historic Old Mill Park for the 60th 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 the Blue Fairy, includes performances by the Fratello Marionettes; magic with Brian Scott and the Wizard of Ahs; storytelling by Scott the Storyteller; drumming with Mike; and music by Singers Marin, Dave Fromer, Octopretzel and the PAAM singers. Performers on the main music stage include Aaron Redner, Chelle's Juke Joint, Yacht Club of Paris, Faust & Fox, and Deep Blue Jam. Check their website for a complete entertainment schedule.

Southern Marin Mothers' Club Community Open House

September 6, 2016

SMMC Open HouseAre you a parent of young children in Marin? Then check out the first ever Southern Marin Mother's Club (SMMC) Community Open House at Larkspur's Piper Park this Sunday, September 11 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Learn more about the SMMC and enjoy Music with Megan, a bounce house, face painting, balloon animals, food and drinks, and a chance to meet fellow parents and new friends, and of course learn about the perks of being an SMMC member.

The SMMC Community Open House is a free event, but RSVPs are appreciated. Both SMMC members and non-members are welcome, as are parents from throughout Marin County (not just southern Marin). Reserve your spot online via Eventbrite. Piper Park is located at 250 Doherty Drive in Larkspur.

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

September 5, 2016

Goblin JamboreeCome get a jump on Halloween at the 30th 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 15 and 16 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 train or real ponies, try your hand at Boo Bowling, make your way through a hay maze, play with glow-in-the-dark trains in the Bay Hall, and and enjoy a full brew of games, activities and live entertainment. This year's event will feature live musical performances from the Hipwaders, Jelly Jame Time, and Asheba. New this year is a spooky haunted house in the Fab Lab. This event is the perfect Halloween party for kids ages 6 months to 10 years.

Outdoor Outings for Kids: Bear Valley Visitor Center in Point Reyes

September 4, 2016

Bear Valley Visitor Center Point Reyes National Seashore

Our go-to spot for family hikes and outdoor excurisions in Marin is the Bear Valley Visitor Center at Point Reyes National Seashore. Home to the park's main visitor center and headquarters, it's a wonderful place for kids and adults alike to learn about nature and local history and explore the outdoors. It has so much to offer: picnics, hikes, views, and wildlife.

The visitor center itself is always our first stop. With interesting dioramas and displays about the wildlife around Point Reyes, free audio-visual programs, and an information desk manned by helpful rangers and volunteers, the visitor center is a great place to learn about Point Reyes and its amazing natural history. You can also learn about the human history of the area, too, through exhibits on the Miwok Indians who once inhabited Point Reyes, the visit of English seafarer Sir Francis Drake in the 16th century (look for the cool cutaway model of Drake's ship The Golden Hinde in the center's auditorium), and the Point Reyes Lighthouse.

Marin Family-Friendly Events for Labor Day Weekend

September 2, 2016

Sausalito Art FestivalThe Annual Sausalito Art Festival takes place this weekend at Marinship Park.

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

Friday, September 2

  • Miss Kitty Sing-along
    San Rafael Library Outdoor Lawn
    Friday, 10:30–11:15 am
    Join Marin County’s favorite Miss Kitty for a series of fun family concerts just right for children aged birth to 8 years old. Free, no registration required. Sponsored by the Friends of the San Rafael Public. Location: 1100 E Street (at 5th Avenue). For more info, visit their website.
  • Picnics on the Plaza
    Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo
    Friday, 5–8 pm

    The popular Picnics on the Plaza events feature music and family fun in downtown San Anselmo. Bring your picnic basket or buy food at the event. Sponsored by the San Anselmo Economic Development Committee. Location: 525 San Anselmo Avenue, Town Hall Lawn, 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 a mix of live music, dance and theater performances, film screenings, panel discussions, lectures, artist demonstrations, hands-on art activities, and exhibition tours. The café offers a delicious prix-fixe menu and specialty cocktails, and the Hamon Tower observation level is open until 8 pm. This Friday: The Long Horizon. For more info, visit their website.
  • Kids' Pajama Party with Bethanie Murguia
    Diesel Bookstore, Larkspur Landing

    Friday, 6 pm
    Pull on your PJs and bring your teddy bear to the bookstore! Author/illustrator Bethanie Murguia will be here to read you a bedtime story. Get cozy, listen to a story or two, have some milk and cookies. Princess! Fairy! Ballerina! is the perfect book for all the princesses, fairies, and ballerinas in your life! Location: Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing. For more info, visit their website.
  • Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus
    SAP Center, San Jose
    Friday, 7 pm; Saturday, 11 am, 3 pm & 7 pm; Sunday, 1 & 5 pm; Monday, 11:30 am
    Prepare to blast off on an intergalactic adventure for space-age family fun! Launch into the future with Out Of This World. Children Of All Ages can take the helm to join the Circus Space Fleet on a heroic quest of good versus evil that will let imaginations run wild with unexpected surprises and thrills at every turn. Your entire family will be amazed by this cosmic voyage as you discover the wonders of gravity-defying acrobats, orbital aerialists, majestic animals, fearless daredevils and humorous clowns. Location: 525 West Santa Clara, San Jose. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, September 3

  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10:30 am–2 pm, face kids' crafts from 10:30 am–1:30 pm, and live music from noon–2 pm, as well as fresh produce, prepared foods, and great local restaurants. The will also be a children's book Launch Party for the picture book "Leo the Ghost Story" at 10:30 am under the tent at the farmers market. For more info, visit their website.
  • Closing Weekend for Magic Treehouse
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday & Sunday, 9 am–5 pm

    Based on the best-selling children’s book series written by Mary Pope Osborne and published by Random House, the Magic Tree House traveling exhibit allows children to branch out through history via a magical, time-traveling tree house. Children explore history through immersive environments, period costumes, props, and more than 30 hands-on learning experiences. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sausalito Art Festival
    Marinship Park, Sausalito
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–7 pm and Monday, 10 am–5 pm
    The country’s best art and most exciting artists, a top-name music line-up, gourmet food, and fine wines and premium beers all bring more than 30,000 art lovers together in an electrifying atmosphere of creativity, fun, discovery, and magic every Labor Day Weekend. A children and families area features hands-on activities and entertainment for all ages, including kids' music by Tim Cain. Tickets: $25 for general, $20 seniors 62+, $5 ages 6–12, free for children under 6. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Junior Chef Classes: Fall Baking for Kids
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am

    Calling all bakers! Fall is the perfect time to fill your house with the irresistible aroma of cupcakes, cookies and muffins baking in the oven. Join us and learn the basics of baking as we whip up some yummy sweet treats.  $10 per child, benefits No Kid Hungry. For ages 8+. Call the store to reserve your spot (415) 924-6799. Location: The Village at Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • 2016 Aloha Poly Fest
    Golden Gate Park, San Franicsco
    Saturday, 11 am–6 pm

    Bring the entire family for some great entertainment and fun activities at this free admisson and parking event and learn about Polynesian islands in the Pacific Ocean through cultural dances, songs, crafts, merchandise and more. Location: County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, 1199 9th Avenue, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: Keeping It Real with Harbor Seals
    Presidio Officers’ Club
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–6 pm
    Did you know Pacific Harbor Seals live near the Presidio all year long? Come make your own Pacific Harbor Seal with recycled materials and learn how you can protect them and their habitat.  Featuring different crafts every weekend! Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, Pershing Square (across from the Presidio Officers' Club), San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Curtain Theatre: The Comedy of Errors
    Old Mill Park, Mill Valley
    Saturday–Monday, 2 pm

    A mixture of mistaken identity, glorious romance, and families reunited, the show is perfect for a summer afternoon in the redwoods listening to some of the most beautiful words ever written!? Free. Location: 17 Cascade Way, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.

September Classes and Programs at Parents Place Marin

September 2, 2016

Parents Place 2-year-old Parents Place in San Rafael has been a valuable resource for countless Marin County parents and families. They offer a wide variety of programs and classes for parents and children throughout the year. Here are a few of the classes they are offering for the month of September.

Terrific Toddlers Part 1: Who Are They and How to Best Guide Them (1–3 years)

Wednesday, September 7, 7–9 pm
They are wild and wonderful, and understanding the developmental needs and challenges of your toddler will support you to stay sane during this lively and challenging time. We will explore appropriate expectations based on developmental needs. Discussion includes setting limits, guidance strategies, developing social skills, and more. (Part 1 of 2, participation in both is encouraged but not required). With Bonnie Romanow, BA, Childhood Development Specialist. $45; $75 for two parenting partners. Receive a discount when you register for both Part 1 and 2! Register here.

Is That Me Yelling? (all ages)

Wednesday, September 14, 7–9 pm
Want to have more harmony at home and less yelling? Most parents agree that yelling isn't beneficial, but many report that they just don't know what to do when their children misbehave. Learn to create a plan-and more-to address the issues that trigger yelling. One recent participant shared, "Rona's class goes beyond the standard suggestions of deep breaths and removing yourself from the room. She helped me think about the negative thought patterns I get caught in that fuel my yelling." With Rona Renner, RN, expert parent educator, temperament counselor, and author of the book, Is That Me Yelling? $45. Register here.

Family Friendly Recipes for Your Labor Day BBQ

September 1, 2016

BBQ ribs This Monday is Labor Day, that traditional last gasp of summer. To celebrate the end of the season with a backyard BBQ is a Labor Day tradition, so to help you out we've put together a selection of our most popular family-friendly grilling recipes, along with a few great sides and warm weather treats. So fire up the grill, cook up a feast, and enjoy the weekend!

Santa Maria-Style Tri Tip

Cooked slowly over charcoal with some wood smoking chips, this traditional Santa Maria-style tri tip is easy to make and really delicious.

Barbeque Ribs on the Charcoal Grill

Slow-cook dry-rubbed ribs on the charcoal grill with plenty of wood smoking chips for that real BBQ flavor.

Marin Free Family Fun List for September 2016

August 30, 2016

Sand Sculpture Contest Drakes Beach Point ReyesGet creative at the 35th annual sand sculpture contest at Drakes Beach. Photo: NPS

School's back in session, but that doesn't mean you can't get out and have fun with the kiddos, especially when that fun is for free! Our September weather is always so beautiful, so events and activities taking place outdoors are a must this month. Here are our picks for a dozen fantastic free family activities, events, and outings in Marin and beyond for the month of September.

Explore the Giants at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

August 30, 2016

 Armstrong Redwoods Guerneville

When people say coast redwoods, Marin's Muir Woods usually comes to mind, but the Bay Area boasts plenty of other great places to go see these towering trees, but without the tourist crowds and parking hassles at Marin's popular redwood hotspot. Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, located just outside of the Russian River town of Guerneville, has plenty of majestic old-growth redwoods, as well as easy hiking trails, picnic areas, and a small nature center. It's definitely worth taking a mini road trip through Sebastopol up to the river!

Armstrong Redwoods was set aside as a nature preserve in the 1870s by logging baron Colonel James Armstrong. Several miles of trails wind through the park, offering opportunities for a wide range of hikes. The Pioneer and Discovery trails are short trails that are ideal for hikes with kids, and they're both navigable with a sturdy stroller.

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