Spending time in the outdoors as a family this fall can be both fun and educational: get some exercise, explore Marin County's many parks and open space preserves, take advantage of our often lovely fall weather, 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.
Bioneers is bringing back their popular Family Fair on Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23, 2016 at the Marin County Fairgrounds in San Rafael. This unique learning-and-play program is free for families with kids 12 and under. Come learn from some of the country’s top nature-inspired education masters and have fun exploring a wide array of experiential education activities.
Attendance to the Family Fair is free for families, or check out the Bioneers Conference with a Tandem Ticket, allowing the kids to do kid things while two adults trade off experiencing the conference and hanging with kids at Family Fair.
One of the activities we love to do is kayaking. It's a fantastic way to experience nature and peacefully explore local waterways. What we love most about it is that it's an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages! Tandem kayaks often have a third seat for a small child, and kids can easily pick up the skills needed to paddle their craft through the water. It's fun and great exercise.
For beginners, all these kayak rental outfits offer the sit-on-top style ocean kayaks, which are stable, lightweight, and easy to paddle. The only drawback is that you can get a little wet while you're paddling, but then that's part of the fun. We've kayak on lakes, bays, and rivers, and each type of location offers a different experience.
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 6 from 10 am to 4 pm at the museum and on Pacheco Plaza's Center Stage. Admission and parking are free! Over 4,000 people attended this event last year.
Meet real astronaut including Al Worden, who participated in the Apollo 15 moon mission; Charlie Duke, an Apollo 16 moon walker; and Novato's own shuttle astronaut Yvonne Cagle. 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, participate in hands-on interactive exhibits under the Big Tent, meet R2D2 and Imperial Stormtroopers, sit in a jet fighter cockpit, play with the San Marin Robotics Club, and more!
Did you know that drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1 to 4? Lean how to be safe this Saturday, July 16 from 12:30 to 5 pm at the Mill Valley Aquatic/Fitness Center. Water Safety Day is a family event filled with both fun and safety information.
Enjoy free admission to the pool from 12:30 to 5 pm. Activities and demonstrations take place from 2 to 5 pm and include lifeguard demos, airbrush tattoos, coloring, a bounce house, water games, a kids' nail salon, music, a raffle, and lifejacket fittings. In addtion, firefighters from the Southern Marin Fire Protection Disctrict will present a water rescue demonstration from 2 to 4 pm. Come prepared with your water safety-related questions!
Mill Valley Community Center is located at 180 Camino Alto in Mill Valley. For more information on Water Safety Day, call (415) 383-1370 or visit www.cityofmillvalley.org.
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 , Belcampo, Farmshop, and Rustic Bakery.
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.
It's a safe bet that few if any of us remember Playland at the Beach, that bygone San Francisco beachside amusement park that closed back in the early 1970s. This popular attraction, once located across from Ocean Beach near Sutro Heights and the Cliff House offered up fun like the Big Dipper roller coaster, Fun House, Diving Bell, Ferris wheel, the infamous Laffing Sal automaton, restaurants, and more. It was even the birthplace of the Bay Area's favorite ice cream treat, the It's-It ice cream sandwich! Not much remains of Playland (its site is not home to a condo development), but if you want to get a taste of what it was had to offer, head across the Bay to El Cerrito and pay a visit to Playland-Not-At-The-Beach.
This Saturday, April 30, 2016, put your imagination in gear and come to Oak View Nursery School for their fourth 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, ambulance, rescue truck, recycle truck, construction vehicles, and more. There promises to be a parking lot full of cool trucks this year! 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 (cash only, please), and kids under 1 are free. Baked goods and beverages will be available for sale, too. All proceeds from this event will fund special programing for Oak View Nursery School students.