Next month, the Year of the Ram comes to an end and the Year of the Monkey begins! Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year takes starts on Monday, February 8.
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 Monday, February 15 to the big blowout Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco on Saturday, February 20.
Here are a dozen fun family Chinese New Year events not to miss in the Bay Area:
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:
The Bay Area Science Festival returns October 22 through November 7, 2015, providing a wide range of science and technology activities, including exhibitions, hands-on activities, concerts, plays, workshops, and more, at locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including many in Marin and the North Bay. Programs include Discovery Days for families, held in conjunction with local science outreach groups, Signature Performances, which feature high-profile science acts from around the country, and Explorer Days, tours that highlight the scientific wonders of the Bay Area.
Families in Marin and Sonoma County can take part in the North Bay Science Discovery Day, taking place on Saturday, October 24 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. This free event features local organizations like Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Dominican University of California, California State Parks, the Marin County Free Library, Kaiser Permanente, Marinovators, the MV Code Club, the Pacific Coast Air Museum, Play-Well TEKnologies, Safari West, San Marin High School's robotics club and STEM program, Sonoma Raceway, the Space Station Museum, WildCare, and many many more. Plan on staying all day to experience all the fun!
Celebrate all things outer space at the annual Novato Space Festival at the Pacheco Plaza shopping center. This fun and educational family event is presented by the Space Station Museum and takes place Saturday, August 1 from 10 am to 4 pm at the museum and on Pacheco Plaza's Center Stage. Admission and parking are free!
Meet real astronaut including Al Worden, who participated in the Apollo 15 moon mission, Jerry Ross, a veteran of seven space shuttle flights, and Novato's own shuttle astronaut Yvonne Cagle; sit in a Navy fighter jet cockpit from the USS Hornet Museum; participate in hands-on interactive exhibits from eight space organization under the Big Tent; and more!
Participating organizations include Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, the Planetary Society, NASA Ames Center, the National Space Society, and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. Visitors will also get a chance to check out the Space Station Museum's exhibits, including a 90% scale mockup of a lunar lander and an exact replica of an Apollo moon buggy.
This summer, the Town of Tiburon is launching Summertime on Main, a new pilot series of weekday events on Main Street to both encourage residents and visitors to come enjoy the downtown. Starting on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 and taking place on four consecutive Wednesdays through August 12, Main Street will become a pedestrian-only zone from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm with children’s entertainment, live music for kids and adults, sidewalk sales and the opportunity to wine and dine al fresco on the street.
Participating merchants on Tiburon's Main Street and Historic Ark Row will offer special discounts, restaurants will serve meals at outdoor tables and there will be various activities to keep the kids happily engaged while parents enjoy themselves. Up to two hours of validated parking will be available, too.
The inaugural Summertime on Main theme for July 22 is “Main Street Musical", with a performance for kids from the princesses and princes of Marin's Once Upon a Song and music from the Rusty Strings Express for grownups. Upcoming performers include magician Heather Rogers, children's peformer Tim Cain, and live music and hula from Aloha Polynesia.
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.