Museum visitors are often told not to touch anything, but not at the museums listed here! These seven local Marin County and San Francisco Bay Area museums offer lots of fun hands-on activities for kids and families. They're perfect for rainy-day outings or any time, really.
Bay Area Discovery Museum
Families with kids up to age 8 love Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum for its combination of hands-on fun, exciting programs and performances, rotating special exhibitions (currently it's Curious George: Let's Get Curious), and a great play area overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. It's a fantastic place to play away the day and take in the amazing views. Location: Fort Baker, 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito, 94965. Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 9 am–5 pm. More info: www.baykidsmuseum.org or (415) 339-3900.
Come to Marin Country Mart at Larkspur Landing this summer for free, family-friendly movies on the green! Every Wednesday at 6 pm, Marin Country Mart will present a great family film, so pack up the beach chairs, blankets, and of course the kids, for a great night of outdoor movie fun. Bring your own food or purchase dinner from one of the Mart's restaurants, including El Huarache Loco, Belcampo, Farmshop, and Rustic Bakery.
This summer's lineup of movies includes Fantastic Mr. Fox (June 17), Antz (June 24), The Land Before Time (July 1), Shrek (July 8), The Sound of Music (July 15), Charlotte's Web (July 22), Curious George (July 29), Babe (August 5), The Wizard of Oz (August 12), The Muppet Movie (August 19), and Bee Movie (August 26).
Marin Country Mart is located at 2257 Larkspur Landing Circle, off East Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, in Larkspur. For more information, visit marincountrymart.com.
The Marin Country Mart also offers free outdoor concerts with jazz on Friday nights and folk, Americana, and roots music at the Folkish Festival, as well as a popular Saturday farmer's market from 9 am to 2 pm. Check out their online calendar to learn more.
This Saturday, May 2, put your imagination in gear and come to Oak View Nursery School for their third annual Touch a Truck event! At Touch a Truck, kids (and grownups, too) will get a chance to get behind the wheel of some amazing vehicles and rub elbows with their hometown heroes.
Come and explore and get behind the wheel of your favorite vehicles, including a fire truck, dump truck, police car, school bus, tow truck, and even an army Humvee. This year, they plan on having even more trucks than before! It will definitely be a day to remember.
Touch a Truck takes place from 9:30 am to noon (rain or shine). Admission is $5 per person, and kids under 1 are free. Baked goods and beverages will be available for sale (cash only please). Participate in crafts and face painting, sponsored by UrbanSitter. All proceeds from this event will fund special programing for Oak View Nursery School students.
Oak View Nursery School is located at 70 Skyview Terrace in San Rafael. To get there, take Highway 101 to the Lucas Valley/Smith Ranch Road exit and head west on Lucas Valley Road. Turn left (south) onto Las Gallinas Avenue, then left again onto Skyview Terrace and follow it up the hill.
Through June 14, 2015, kids ages 4 to 14 can experience the Rockin' Ropes Adventure on weekends and school holidays in the San Francisco Zoo's Pachyderm Building. Kids can zip, swing, jump, step, and slide around this challenging elevated ropes course. It's a fun addition to your family's visit to the zoo!
We had a chance to check out the Rockin' Ropes Adventure last weekend, and the kids had a blast. The course offers plenty of challenges for all age levels and takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to make your way around it, and you get to go through twice. My kids really loved the feeling of being up high above the ground, and enjoyed the challenge of maneuvering around the various obstacles and making their way along the narrow ropes.
Take a break from your busy schedule and join together with other families a few Saturday mornings a year at Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco. Known as Shabbat “Chai” (meaning “life” in Hebrew), theses Saturday mornings take the traditional Shabbat service and turn it into a lively celebration filled with activities, elective classes, a family-friendly service, and a potluck lunch.
Sherith Israel started Shabbat Chai two years ago to encourage families to participate in Shabbat morning services together with rich and meaningful Jewish experiences. The three days a year that it’s held are in lieu of Sunday school that week. The next Shabbat Chai takes place on Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.
While you likely know that the Microsoft at The Village at Corte Madera is your one-stop-shop for best-in-class products like Surface Pro 3, Xbox One, Windows Phones, and the new Microsoft Band, did you also know that it offers free coding camps for kids? Thanks to the YouthSpark initiative, a Microsoft-wide commitment to empowering 300 million young people with opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurships, these engaging and entertaining after school and weekend camps are now offered year-round! Today's youth face an opportunity divide—a gap between those who have access to the skills and training they need to be successful, and those who do not—and these camps seek to close that gap.
This month, the Year of the Horse comes to an end and the Year of the Ram begins! Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year takes starts on Thursday, February 19. (This year is also known as Year of the Sheep or Year of the Goat, by the way.)
As with many major holidays, there's plenty of family fun to be found in Marin County and all over the San Francisco Bay Area, ranging from a Chinese New Year Festival at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito on February 16 to the big blowout Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco on Saturday, March 7.
Here are 12 fun family Chinese New Year events not to miss in the Bay Area:
San Francisco Public Library, Children's Storytelling Room
Saturday, February 7, 10:30–11:30 am
It's a New Year, so why not resolve to spend more time outdoors as a family? Get some exercise, explore Marin County's many parks and open space preserves, and learn about the natural wonders that can be found all around us. A fantastic and eye-opening way to get out and experience nature in Marin is to take part in one of the naturalist-led family outings offered by Marin County Parks.
The parks department's Nature for Kids outings take place at Marin's many open space areas, and feature a leisurely, kid-paced hike with plenty of opportunities to stop and explore along the way. The hikes are informal and unstructured, and perfect for kids of all ages, although they seem geared for kids ages 3 to 12.
Led by experienced and knowledgeable naturalists like David Herlocker, these hikes allow everyone in the family to get up-close-and-personal with insects, reptiles, spiders, birds, and other flora and fauna that call Marin home. The programs are really fascinating and will make you look at our open spaces in a completely different way.
It's Thanksgiving week, and since most Marin County schools give kids the entire week off, you'll probably be looking for ways to keep them occupied before and after Turkey Day. Here are our top 10 activities for families for Thanksgiving break: