Great Five-and-Under Family Hikes in Marin

January 17, 2017

Toddler preschooler hiking Marin

Taking the kiddos along for a hike on one of Marin's many fantastic trails is fun and rewarding. It can be a bit of a challenge though when they want to tackle the trail on their own but can't really go that far. Then there's the fact that toddlers and preschoolers don't always have the greatest of attention spans, which means that it's great to have something to see and do along the way.

We've put together a list of our favorite hiking spots in Marin County for families with kids in preschool or younger. They're all relatively short and easy to hike—and you can take along the off-road stroller for backup, just in case. (If you're looking for hikes that are perfect for strollers but maybe a little longer than these, check out our guide to stroller hikes in Marin County.)

Marin County Swim Team Signups 2017

January 16, 2017

Marin Swim League

One of our favorite sports activities is swimming, and there's no better way to get involved and have a blast than to compete with your local swim team. It's fun, and really builds swimming skills and great sportsmanship.

Now's the time to sign up for swim teams for this spring and summer. Listed below are the 10 Marin Swim League swim teams located throughout the county and their registration dates. Click on the team name to go to their website. The swim team season begins with practices in March and wraps up in mid-July with the Championship meet, usually held at the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus pool in Novato.

For more information on the Marin Swim League, including a full schedule of 2017 spring and summer swim meets, visit www.marinswimleague.org.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for January 13-16

January 16, 2017

Get healthy at the 5th Annual Family Fun Run and Health Fair this Saturday from 9 am2 pm.

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

Friday, January 13

  • Last Weekend: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Visit with a Beekeeper!
    Sonoma County Children's Museum, Santa Rosa
    Friday, 1–3 pm
    We all know how crucial bees are to our food supply, gardens, and beyond. Shouldn’t we learn more about the importance of these fantastic creatures? Come chat with a real Sonoma County beekeeper on the second Friday of the month from 1 to 3 pm. Museum admission applies. Location: 1835 West Steele Lane Santa Rosa. For more info, call (707) 546-4069 or visit their website.
  • Parents' Night Out: Mad Science
    Rolling Hills Club, Novato
    Friday, 6–9:30 pm

    Science is a BLAST! Come enjoy a dry ice performance where bubbles are filled with smoke, create elephants toothpaste, and make a balloon scream! We will watch Jimmy Neutron. A pizza dinner will be served. Must be potty trained. For ages 2.5–12 years. Cost: $22 members and $32 guests. Register online here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Spaghetti Bingo
    Tam Valley Community Center
    Friday, 6:15 pm

    Bring the family for a night of bingo and dinner too. Cost: $8 per person for 9 bingo cards and dinner.
    Location: 203 Marin Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, January 14

  • 5th Annual Health Fair & Family Fun Run
    Mill Valley Community Center
    Saturday, 8:30 am–2 pm
    Get out your running shoes, walking shoes, and friends and family! This fun family event has options for everyone, from competitive runners to parents with little ones in strollers or those who just want to stroll among friends! Runs include a 3-mile race friendly competitive race, a 1.5 mile friendly competitive race, a 1.5-mile family jog/walk, a 1-mile family walk, and even Toddler Dashes for those little ones ages 2 – 5 years. Toddler runs are guided by Coach Tony from Amazing Athletes. Pre-registration is suggested. Register Online at www.millvalleyfamilyfunrun.org

Dutch-Style Split Pea Soup Warms on a Winter Evening

January 15, 2017

Dutch split-pea soup or snert

Nothing beats a hot and hearty bowl of soup on a chilly winter evening. In the Netherlands, a favorite winter dish is split pea soup, known in Dutch as erwtensoep or snert. It's similar to its American counterpart, but differs a bit in that it uses a variety of vegetables as well as smoked pork like bacon and ham. The Dutch also prefer to use yellow split peas over the green ones we usually associate with the dish.

We like to make this if we have a hambone left over from a holiday dinner. If you don't have a hambone use a smoked hamhock instead. In the Netherlands they often add slices of rookworst, a smoked sausage, so feel free to add some to the pot; kielbasa or smoked bratwurst are good substitutes.

Among the veggies that go into the pot is celery root, also known as celeriac. It's that ugly knobby thing that you may have run across in the produce section, and if you're not familiar with it it can look a little scary. It's delicious, though, and adds a distinctive flavor to the soup, so don't leave it out! It's probably easiest to peel with a sharp paring knife rather than a vegetable peeler.

Family Hike at Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen

January 15, 2017

Jack London State Historic Park

This weekend, we paid another visit one of our favorite outdoors spots in the Bay Area, Jack London State Historic Park. Located in the small Sonoma Valley town of Glen Ellen, it's about a 45-minute drive north from Marin and a great destination for a family outing.

The park is made up of land that was at one time the Beauty Ranch owned by renowned writer, social reformer, early sustainable agriculture advocate, and rabble-rouser Jack London (1876–1916), author of classic adventure tales like The Sea Wolf, The Call of the Wild, and White Fang. Jack London State Historic Park is always a destination for us in winter and early spring—the wildflowers are in bloom, the weather is cool and clear, and it's breathtakingly beautiful.

Seven Wonderful Winter Family Hikes in Marin

January 14, 2017

Fairway Waterfall

Since we seem to be getting a break from the rain, why not take advantage of the beautiful weather by taking a family hike? There are so many amazing spots in Marin County that are perfect for a hike or nature walk with kids, whether they're in a baby backpack, a stroller, or walking on their own.

The winter landscape in Northern California can be breathtaking, too, with bright green grass and even some wildflowers showing their faces. Here are seven of our favorite amazing Marin hikes for families, perfect for winter or any time, really. Remember to wear layered clothing, and it's usually a good idea to let the kids wear their rain boots on muddy winter trails.

Lake Tahoe Ski, Snowboard & Snow Play Family Fun

January 12, 2017

Skiing in Lake Tahoe

Mid-winter break is just around the corner and there's no shortage of snow in the Sierras. It's not too late to make plans for a family getaway to have fun in the snow. Check out our guide to ski, snowboard and snow play locations for North and South Lake Tahoe.

The Lake Tahoe area has a variety of resorts and ski areas to suit anyone's taste and budget. Here's our guide to places to ski, snowboard, tube, sled, and play in the snow around Tahoe. We're tried to focus on spots that offer not only skiing and snowboarding, but tubing, snow play, and other winter activities, too. If we've omitted your favorite, please let us know.

Make sure you check before you head up to the high country, though, as opening dates are tentative and dependent on snowfall and weather; we've included website links and phone numbers.

North Lake Tahoe

Just a few hours away off Interstate 80, North Lake Tahoe and the Truckee area offer a huge concentration of ski resorts and other destinations for fun in the snow.

Northstar

  • Skiing, snowboarding, tubing, snowshoeing, cross-country, terrain parks, ice skating, ski and snowboard lessons and rentals
  • Lodging, dining, shopping, activities, and events in the Northstar Village

Create Your Own Heart-shaped Crayons for Valentine's Day

January 12, 2017

DIY heart shaped crayons for Valentine's Day

Creating these beautiful DIY custom crayons is a fun craft project that everyone in the family can do. This project really takes minimal effort, so it's perfect for all ages, and the results always exceed our expectations! These make a fun and pretty gift for Valentine's Day, as well as neat party favors. They even look great as decorations around the house.

If you have kids (and you probably do if you're reading this article), you most likely already have the materials for this lying around the house, in the form of broken crayons. So the first step in this project is to round up all the old crayon bits and pieces in your house. If your home is like ours, this should not be very difficult.

Battling Robots at Cyber Garage this Thursday, 4-6 pm

January 11, 2017

The Cyber Garage San Anselmo

Join us for Battling Robots this Thursday from 4:00-6:00 pm at the Cyber Garage Open House at 14 Ross Avenue in Downtown San Anselmo. Experience our laser cutter, 3D printers, wood carvers, Virtual Reality and much more! Meet some resident Makers, make something to take home, and discover the Maker in you! FREE for kids and parents.

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