Marin Family Weekend Events for 4th of July Weekend

July 1, 2016

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this Independence Day weekend. The Marin County Fair opens on June 30. Find out more about here.

Looking for a place to watch the fireworks in Marin? Check out our list of places here.

Friday, July 1

  • Marin County Fair
    Marin County Fairgrounds, San Rafael
    Friday–Monday, 11 am–11 pm

    Come to the fair for over 12,000 exhibits, carnival rides, headline entertainment, the barnyard, an international short film and video festival, nightly fireworks, and more! Admission: $20 adults, $15 children 4–12 and seniors 65+, free for children 3 and under. For more information, call (415) 473-6800 or visit their website.
  • Free Children's Garden Series: Caterpillar Puppets
    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. Joe Leon’s Caterpillar Puppets don’t just entertain kids and parents. Like his version of the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Bla-bla-blas, or the shy artist mouse Amadeus who needs encouragement from the audience to fulfill his calling. Meet the artists after each show! This show will take place on the Esplanade. 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, Dance-Off: Street Dance Theater. For more info, visit their website.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Friday, 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:  Bobbie “Spider” Webb – blues. For more info, call (415) 289-4100 or visit their website.
  • Tam Valley's Creekside Fridays
    Tennessee Valley Cabin, Mill Valley
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Bring the family, pets, chairs, and blankets to the weekly free musical event. This Friday, Second Street Band. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or visit their website.
  • Fair Fireworks and S’more Feast
    McInnis Park, San Rafael
    Friday, 8:30–10:30 pm

    In celebration of our nation’s birthday, come see the Marin County Fair fireworks from the top of the Nike Site at McInnis Park. It is an easy uphill stroll from the skatepark parking lot to sweeping views of the bay and surrounding hills. Rangers will prepare s’mores just in time for the firework show that begins promptly at 9:30 pm. Don’t forget to bring low back chairs or a blanket. Hot chocolate and s’more fixings provided. Location: 310 Smith Ranch Road, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, July 2

  • 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 family music (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • Red, White and Zoo
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Celebrate 4th of July at SF Zoo! We’re highlighting “patriotic” animals naturally colored red, white and blue on 4th of July weekend. Check out Keeper Talks on animals like red panda, polar bear, and white pelican. Enjoy a family BBQ in the Depot Grill. On Saturday, the zoo partners with KQED to bring the classic red children’s character "Clifford" to cruise the Zoo, greet and take pictures with guests. Free after zoo admission. For more info, visit their website
  • 32nd Annual Fillmore Jazz Festival
    San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    Blending art and soul in one of the country’s most unique neighborhoods, the Fillmore Jazz Festival is the largest free jazz festival on the West Coast, drawing over 100,000 visitors over the Independence Day weekend. From sunup to sundown, visitors can groove to the sounds of live music from multiple stages, browse the offerings of over 12 blocks of fine art and crafts and enjoy gourmet food and beverages. Location: Fillmore Street, between Jackson and Eddy. For more info, visit their website.
  • Builder's Challenge
    Novato Library
    Saturday, 11 am–noon

    Children of all abilities ages 4–12 are invited to build, play, engineer and destruct together. Registration is not required but space is limited to 30 people on a first-come, first-serve basis. Materials will be provided. Location: 1720 Novato Boulevard, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Disney's The Little Mermaid
    Berkeley Playhouse
    Saturday, 1 & 6 pm, Sunday, noon & 5 pm

    Ariel has always dreamed of leaving her underwater kingdom to see what lies beyond the sea. When she falls in love with a handsome prince who lives on land, she's willing to give up everything to be with him. Based on the Hans Christian Andersen story and the Disney film. Tickets: $23–$60. Location: 2640 College Avenue, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Healthy Parks, Healthy People
    Presidio of San Francisco
    Saturday, 2–4 pm

    Is getting fit difficult because you could use some motivation and change of scenery? Your National Parks can help! Join the Healthy Parks Healthy People Rangers and leaders each month as we work our way to fitness and a healthier lifestyle. Through hiking, beginner exercises and family games, you'll get to know your various National Park sites while getting those hearts and waistlines happy. Meet in front of the Presidio Visitor Center at building 36 Lincoln Boulevard. Wear comfortable exercise clothing you can move in and don't mind getting dirty. Don't forget your water bottles. RSVP: (415) 561-4323. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sun Valley to Fireworks Walk
    San Rafael
    Saturday, 8:30–10:30 pm

    Join a ranger for a nature walk to experience this unique preserve after dark. We’ll discuss nocturnal animals and things that go bump in the night! The highlight of the walk will be to enjoy the Marin County Fair fireworks from one of the best viewing spots on Open Space. Fireworks start at 9:30 pm. This event is ideal for all ages. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight. Meet at the Dan Abraham Trailhead. For more info, visit their website.

Exploring Angel Island with Kids

June 30, 2016

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.

2016 Marin 4th of July Parades, Fireworks and More…

June 28, 2016

Kids in the 4th of July modeCelebrate Independence Day the Marin County way! Communities across the Marin observe the 4th of July in their own unique ways. Here’s what’s going on in your community on Monday, July 4. We will be updating the list as we learn of new events, so please check back. Please keep in mind that event details can change without notice, so please check the event links or call before attending.

You can also add your local Independence Day event to our Family Events Calendar.

Corte Madera and Larkspur

  • The Corte Madera-Larkspur festivities celebrate start off with at the 64th Annual Independence Day Pancake Breakfast—with pancakes, sausages, fruit, coffee, orange juice, and milk—at Larkspur's American Legion Twin Cities Post 313 at 500 Magnolia Avenue. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under, with famous 1928 recipe gin fizzes and the Post 313 Renowned Mimosa for $5 each. Breakfast is from 8–11 am; flag raising ceremony at 7:45 am. Info: call (415) 924-6283 or  www.americanlegion313.org

Wildlife Centers and Preserves in Marin and the Bay Area

June 27, 2016

WildCare San Rafael

This summer, take the kids out to visit some of the San Francisco Bay Area's local wildlife! The best way to do this is to pay a visit to one of our local wildlife centers or preserves. Some of these centers serve both as rescue resources for sick and injured wildlife and education resources for the community, too, while other seek to preserve the natural habitats of our wild neighbors. Visiting a wildlife center is a fun alternative to visiting a zoo, and a great opportunity to learn about the animals and birds who live in the amazing place we all call home.

Here's our guide to wildlife centers and preserves in Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area. Many of these centers offer programs like animal feedings and guided tours; check their websites for hours and admission fees, if any.

WildCare, San Rafael

WildCare is an amazing urban wildlife rehabilitation center that helps out thousands of ill, injured, or orphaned wild animals from around the Bay Area. They also undertake wildlife and nature education and operate a 24-hour Living with Wildlife Hotline. The WildCare courtyard and museum are open to the public daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Daily feedings and other programs take place at various times between 11 am and 4:30 pm. The courtyard is always open, but the museum access may be limited when summer camp is in session. Admission is free.

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

June 27, 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.

Slow Cooker Chicken Pho

June 26, 2016

Chicken phoI love my slow cooker, but I really don't use it much during the summer, because, after all, who wants to eat hearty soups and stews on a hot day? Lately, however, I've been trying to think about how to use the slow cooker to make more warm-weather kinds of dishes. One of my successful recipes is for a slow-cooker version of chicken pho, that delicious Vietnamese noodle soup. Simmer the broth all day in the slow cooker, then prep the garnishes and noodles and dinner is ready!

Pho is usually associated with beef, but this chicken version is a little healthier and easier to make. It's probably not 100% authentic, but it tastes pretty darn close to the real thing, without the need to pay a visit to your favorite Vietnamese restaurant (and there aren't too many of them in Marin). One of the great things about pho is that you can vary the taste to your own liking by adding traditional garnishes like fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and chiles. If you (or your kids) like it plain, that's fine, too!

"What a Ride!" at the 2016 Marin County Fair

June 26, 2016

Marin County Fair Stormtroopers

Who's ready for the fair?! The 75th annual Marin County Fair opens on Thursday, June 30, at the Marin County Fairgrounds in San Rafael, near the Marin Civic Center. This year's Marin County Fair theme is "What a Ride!"

This year, the Fair celebrates Marin County and all of its colorful traditions and innovations and highlights what residents love most about their local fair, like thrilling rides, popular concerts, farm animals, family activities, amazing exhibis, and a spectacular nightly fireworks display. This year's theme also echoes Hunter S. Thompson's quote “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming Wow! What a Ride!”

Create Patriotic Baker's Clay Jewelry for the 4th of July

June 26, 2016

Baker's clay patriotic jewelry for the 4th of JulyYour kids can show off their patriotic pride this 4th of July with one of these baker's clay jewelry pieces that they made themselves (with an adult's supervision, of course). They're easy to make, and the basic baker's clay recipe can be used for all sorts of crafts throughout the year.

Here's what you'll need for the baker's clay:

Marin Family Weekend Fun for June 24, 25 & 26

June 24, 2016

 Italian Street Painting Marin
Take a trip to Rome, the Eternal City this weekend at the 2016 Italian Street Painting Marin in downtown San Rafael.

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

Friday, June 24

  • Sonoma-Marin Fair
    Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, Petaluma
    Friday–Sunday, noon–11 pm

    Petaluma's Sonoma-Marin Fair offers fun for the whole family, with farm animals and demonstrations, concerts, food and drink, carnival rides, and of course the famous World's Ugliest Dog Contest. Admission at the gate is $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 4–12 and seniors 65+. Admission includes all entertainment, concerts, and carnival rides. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sterling the Bubblesmith
    Stinson Beach Library
    Friday, noon–1 pm

    Sterling Johnson has been astounding people of all ages with his remarkable hand-blown bubbles for over 45 years. Come watch him fill the library with bubbles! If you’re lucky, he might even put you inside a giant bubble! Location: 3521 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach. For more info, visit their website
  • Pasados Del Presidio: Afternoon Fun for Kids
    Presidio Officers’ Club, San Francisco
    Friday, noon–3 pm

    Ever wonder what Early California was like? Come see history come to life! Enjoy hands-on activities, storytelling, a tortilla-making demo, and more. Afternoon music and dance by Ballet Folklórico Mexicano. Free, but registration required. Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, Presidio of San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Children's Garden Series: Circus Bella
    Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
    Friday &
    Saturday, noon–1 pm
    This free event is part of the Children's Garden Series at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. Back by popular demand! Circus Bella is top-notch circus acrobatics, aerial artistry, and daring feats of balance and strength, set to original live music of Rob Reich and the Circus Bella All-Star Band. Meet the artists after each show! This show will take place on the Esplanade. 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, Dance-Off: Street Dance Theater. For more info, visit their website.
  • Pasados Del Presidio: 1776 Campfire with Captain Anza
    Presidio Officers’ Club, San Francisco
    Friday, 6 pm

    Enjoy stories and s’mores by the fire at Rob Hill Campground. Free, but registration required. Location: Rob Hill Campground (off Washington Boulevard), Presidio of San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marinwood's Music in the Park Series
    Marinwood Park, San Rafael
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    Join us this summer for live music, food, and fun for the entire family at Marinwood Park! Each of these free concerts will feature high quality music from some of the Bay Area's top rock, bluegrass, and folk artists. Enjoy delicious BBQ by Marinwood Market and a bar for the adults. Bring your picnic blanket and your appetite and kick off the weekend Marinwood-style. This Friday: The Humidors "Straight up funk!". Location: 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 479-0775 or visit their website.
  • Friday Nights on Main: A Whale of a Time
    Downtown Tibruon
    Friday, 6–9 pm

    Bring the entire family for a night of fun. Dance to the Cole Tate Band's mix of country, blues, rock and Americana. Great activities for kids, including a whale scavenger hunt, will be offered. For more info, visit their website.
  • Summer Music Series
    Pacheco Plaza, Novato

    Friday, 6–9 pm
    Bring your chairs and enjoy a picnic from Paradise Foods or sit outside the local restaurants including Boca Pizzeria, Taki Japanese restaurant, and La Coppa coffee and Tea. Enjoy the music of The Lucky Losers, a blues americana at its best. Location: 366 Ignacio Boulevard, Novato. For more information, visit their website.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Friday, 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: Duchess Jazz. For more info, call (415) 289-4100 or visit their website.
  • Tam Valley's Creekside Fridays
    Tennessee Valley Cabin, Mill Valley
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Bring the family, pets, chairs, and blankets to the weekly free musical event. This Friday, The Van Animals a tribute to Van Morrison and Eric Burdon and the Animals. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or visit their website.

Saturday, June 25

  • 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 family music (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • Opening Day: Point Reyes Farmer's Market
    Toby's Feed Barn on Main Street
    Saturday, 9 am–1 pm

    Opening day festivities include live music from the Tim Weed and Common Voice Choir, chef’s booth demonstration with Ed Vigil, a welcoming ceremony, and Kids' Zone Reading Time. For more info, visit their website.
  • Italian Street Painting Marin
    Downtown San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–8 pm & Sunday 10 am–6 pm

    Take a trip to Rome, the Eternal City at the 2016 Italian Street Painting Marin event! See the artwork of over 100 madonnari, listen to great live music, participate in fun children's activities, and experience tastes and sips of Italiy. Admission: $10, $15 for a two-day pass; kids 12 and under free. Location: 5th Avenue and A Street, downtown San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Anselmo Art & Wine Festival
    San Anselmo Avenue
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–6 pm
    The San Anselmo Art & Wine Festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday, June 25 and 26, on San Anselmo Avenue. The Festival features over 200+ artists, outstanding food and drinks, and great music. The Chamber of Commerce is proud to showcase San Anselmo’s shops and restaurants. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Bay Area Birth & Baby Fair
    San Mateo Event Center
    Saturday, 10 am–4 pm

    Don’t miss this amazing shopping event for new and expecting parents in the Bay Area. The Birth & Baby Fair showcases local businesses and resources as well as independent designers with the aim to educate and expose new and expecting parents and young families to unique and beneficial products and services. General admission is $10 at the door. Children 18 and under are free. Location: 2495 South Delaware Street, San Mateo. For more info, visit their website.
  • The Puppet Company: Perez and Mondinga
    South Novato Library
    Saturday, 10 am

    The Puppet Company will share a special performance of the story "Perez and Mondinga". For  all ages. Location: 931 C Street, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bug Family Band
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday, 10:45 and 11:45 am

    The Bug Family Band plays adult-friendly music that gets kids dancing and singing along. Museum admission applies. Location:  557 McReynolds Road, Fort Baker, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • SF Pride Celebration and Parade
    Saturday, noon–6 pm & Sunday, 11 am–6:30 pm
    San Francisco Civic Center
    San Francisco's 44th annual Pride Celebration is the largest LGBT gathering in the nation, and features over 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, and 20 stages and venues—featuring both up-and-coming and headline acts—at the foot of the city's historic City Hall. The parade kicks off on Sunday at 10:30 am at Market and Beale Streets and ends at Market and 8th Streets. $5 suggested donation. For more information, visit their website.
  • Pasados Del Presidio: San Francisco’s “Birthday”
    Presidio Officers’ Club
    Saturday, 11 am–noon

    Descendants of the original founding families of the Juan Bautista de Anza Expedition (1775–76) return to the Presidio to recognize the journey of their forefathers and the founding of El Presidio de San Francisco. Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, Pershing Square (across from the Presidio Officers' Club), San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: Wick-ed Hand Dipped Candles
    Presidio Officer's Club, San Francisco
    Saturday, 11 am–4 pm

    Drop in for imaginative craft-making based on the Presidio’s natural and cultural heritage. Featuring different crafts every weekend! Join us in front of the Presidio Officers’ Club and hand-dip your own wax candle just as the Spanish living at El Presidio de San Francisco would have done 200 years ago. Free. Registration preferred but not required. Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, Presidio of San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
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