Events and Outings

Splash, Slide, and Swim at the Hamilton Community Pool in Novato

July 7, 2015

Hamilton Community Pool NovatoIt's summer vacation, the weather's warm, and almost everyone loves going to the pool for a day of splashing and swimming in the sun. One of my family's favorite Marin public pools is the one in Novato's Hamilton neighborhood.

My kids love Hamilton Community Pool especially for the shallow kids' pool with its play structure, water slide, and water sprayers. It's a blast for kids of all ages. There's also a larger more traditional pool for more serious swimming and water play.

The remodeled and renovated Hamilton Community Pool opened in 2010 after a long construction process. We used to go to the old pool, which was left over from the old air force base and dated from the 1930s. The new pool and the surrounding facilities are a real improvement on the somewhat dilapidated old ones. The whole area is clean, modern, well kept up, and definitely worth a visit.

Marin Family Weekend Events for July 3, 4 & 5

July 3, 2015

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

Friday, July 3

  • Marin County Fair
    Marin County Fairgrounds, San Rafael
    Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, 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.
  • 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: Beaufunk featuring Michael Jeffries. 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 Starduster Orchestra. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or visit their website.
  • San Francisco Opera at AT&T Park: Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro
    San Francisco
    Friday, 7:30 pm

    San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Giants invite you to Opera at the Ballpark on Friday for a free performance of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, simulcast live from the War Memorial Opera House. For more info, 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.
  • Fireworks over Bodega Bay
    Westside Park
    Friday, 9:30 pm

    Fireworks show produced by Pyro Spectaculars will start at dark around 9:30 pm. The display can be seen from all around Bodega Bay. Handicap parking at Westside Park. For more information, visit their website

Saturday, July 4

Here are a few of the fantastic 4th of July events taking place in Marin this Saturday. For a complete list of Independence Day events, parades, and fireworks displays in Marin and throughout the Bay Area, check out our article here.

  • The 61st annual Buckaroo Breakfast
    Novato
    Saturday, 7–10 am

    The annual Buckaroo Breakfast is a traditional part of the 4th of July festivities in Novato. Breakfast is served at the Redwood Credit Union parking lot at 1010 Grant Avenue in downtown Novato. Come enjoy eggs, pancakes, sausage, orange juice, and coffee. Hosted by the Presbyterian Church of Novato, proceeds benefit Novato Youth Center. Suggested donation: $7 for adults, $5 for kids. Info: www.novatoparade.com.
  • Firefighters Pancake Breakfast
    Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
    Saturday, 8:30–11:30 am

    Join the Marinwood firefighters on the 4th of July for pancakes at the Marinwood Community Center, 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. Adults $8, children under 11 $5, and seniors (over 65) $5. For more info call (415) 479-0122 or visit www.marinwood.org.
  • Novato’s 22nd Annual Fourth of July Parade
    Downtown Novato
    Saturday, 10 am

    Novato’s 22nd Annual Fourth of July Parade is one of the largest in the Bay Area and begins at 10 am in downtown Novato on Grant Ave. between Reichert and 7th Avenue. Every year Novato hosts 15,000 to 20,000 spectators and over 100 parade entries ranging from classic cars and vintage military vehicles to Irish bagpipers and a Chinese drum and bell corps. Along the parade route, you will also find food and refreshment booths and souvenir t-shirts. Info: www.novatoparade.com.
  • Sausalito 4th of July Parade
    Sausalito
    Saturday, 10 am

    Sausalito’s one-of-a-kind 4th of July parade starts at Second and Main Streets at 10 am, and moves along Bridgeway and into Dunphy Park at noon. A picnic in Dunphy Park and games follow the parade at noon. Live music starts at noon and lasts all day. Food, dancing, family games, tug-of-war and famous traditional egg toss help make this an exciting event for the whole family. For more info, visit their website.
  • Santa Venetia Marsh Stroll
    San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm

    Join Ranger Luke Bishop for a stroll around beautiful Santa Venetia Marsh. This low-intensity, one mile hike is a great introduction to exercise for all ages. This is a Healthy Parks, Healthy People event.This event is ideal for all ages. We will provide water and healthy snacks. Friendly dogs are welcome, but must be leashed. High fire danger cancels: Call (415) 473-7191 to get an update. For more info, call Ranger Luke Bishop at (415) 473-2816 or visit their website.
  • Sonoma's Old-Fashioned 4th of July Celebration
    Sonoma Square, Downtown Sonoma
    Saturday, 10 am-5 pm

    The parade begins at 10:00am and traverses the Plaza before ending with a Wet Zone to cool things off. After the parade, enjoy an old-fashioned carnival with food, drink and game booths run by Sonoma's non-profit organizations. All proceeds raised from the celebration benefit Sonoma's nonprofit community. For more info, visit their website.

2015 Marin 4th of July Parades, Fireworks and More…

July 1, 2015

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 the Saturday, 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 start off with at the 63rd 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
  • Don’t miss this year’s Corte Madera-Larkspur 4th of July Parade and Festival! One of the biggest 4th of July events in Marin, the parade boasts the elaborate floats, precision drill teams, classic cars, and the Corte Madera Town Band. Parade starts at 10:30 am. Accompanying festivities at Corte Madera's Town Park from 9 am–5 pm include arts and crafts, food and drink, carnival games, children's activities, bounce houses, and stage shows. The parade leaves Redwood High School at 10:30 am and winds through downtown Larkspur from Magnolia Street and into Corte Madera by way of Tamalpais Street until it reaches Corte Madera Town Center. The streets will close at 10 am. Info: (415) 924-0441 or www.cortemadera.org.

Tomorrow Is Children's Day at the Marin County Fair

June 30, 2015

Marin County FairThe 2015 Marin County Fair opens tomorrow, Wednesday, July 1! Fortunately for families, opening day is also Children's Day, when all children 12 and under are admitted free!

This year's fear includes cool activities like the STEAM Carnival, which presents interactive and imaginitive entertainment at the intersection of technology and spectacle, the Peking Acrobats, 28 fun-filled carnival rides, concerts, healthy food, over 12,000 exhibits, and more.

Regular fair admission is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors 65+ and children 4 to 12 and under, and free for children under 4. Admission includes all exhibits, entertainment, and carnival rides. This year's Marin County Fair theme is "On With the Show!" The Marin County Fair takes place from Wednesday, July 1 to Sunday, July 5 from 11 am to 11 pm.

Find out all about this year's Marin County Fair in our article here.

Marin Family Weekend Fun for June 26, 27 & 28

June 27, 2015
Italian Street Painting Marin
Take a trip to Venice this weekend at the 2015 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 26

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: Rhythmtown Jive. 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, Mojo Rising will be performing electrifying blues. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or 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: Go By Ocean. 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 Edgardo & Candela, a Salsa band based in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 26 years. Location: 366 Ignacio Boulevard, Novato. For more information, visit their website.

Saturday, June 27

  • 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 Venice at Carnevale di Venezia, the 2015 Italian Street Painting Marin event! See the artwork of over 100 madonnari and a parade of costumes, take part in a pre-event mask making competition, listen to great live music, participate in fun children's activities, and experience tastes and sips of Italiy. Admission: $5 Saturday, $10 Sunday; 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

    resented by the San Anselmo Chamber of Commerce, now in its 32nd year, this free festival has a long tradition of providing great entertainment, arts and crafts, terrific food and family-friendly activities to the community of Marin and the greater Bay Area. Over the years, on average, the event draws about 30,000 attendees per year. For more info, visit their website.

Watching the Fireworks in Marin

June 26, 2015

For families with young children, the ritual of watching 4th of July fireworks can be a little inconvenient. Babies and toddlers are often scared of the noise (if you're close enough to hear), the summer sunset at around 9 pm means most kids are up way past their bedtime. It's even worse if you decide to wake them out of a deep sleep in time to see the fireworks (trust me, I've been there). Nothing's quite as crabby and grumpy as an overtired child, no matter how great the fireworks are.

With this in mind, we've sought out places to watch the fantastic fireworks display at the Marin County Fair that don't involve leaving the car, so the little ones can doze in peace. Obviously you can just pay your $17 and go to the fair, but again, if you've got two sleeping children in the car, this isn't going to work. Neither is driving over near the fair—it's hard to see anything from the area along Civic Center Drive, and the resulting post-fireworks gridlock around the fairgrounds is pretty miserable.

On a friend's suggestion, we checked out a fireworks viewing spot up at the Unitarian Universalist Church parking lot, which is on Channing Way off Professional Center Parkway in Terra Linda. It's potetentially ideal, situated on a hill that overlooks the Marin County Fairgrounds. This wasn't bad, but the number of places where you could actually see anything was pretty limited and it became obvious that we weren't the only people there to see the fireworks—it's a pretty popular spot. Those people who could find a spot where they could see through the trees were treated to a spectacular view, though.

On With the Show at the Marin County Fair 2015

June 23, 2015

Marin County FairThe Marin County Fair opens Wednesday, July 1, at the County Fairgrounds in San Rafael, near the Marin Civic Center. This year's Marin County Fair theme is "On With the Show."

This year, the Fair celebrates the STEM to STEAM concept, combining the arts with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to present events that are fun for the entire family. Highlights include the imaginative and innovative entertainment from Two Bit Circus, whose toolbox includes fire, lasers, and robots, as well as the interactive LEGOJEEP, an ex-USPS jeep covered in LEGO panels that will inspire visitors of all ages to get creative. Also appearing at the Fair will be Something Ridiculous, a high-energy juggling and acrobatic act, the Amazing Bubble Man, and Stars of the Peking Acrobats.

Of course there are also the more traditional fair offerings like farm animal exhibits and demonstrations and Great American pig racing in the barnyard, free (with fair admission) rides and carnival games—including the 10-story Giant Wheel and the Marin Clean Energy solar-powered carousel, appearances by the ever-popular Imperial Storm Troopers of the 501st Legion Golden Gate Garrison (from noon–7 pm daily at the Marin Galactic Outpost in the Exhibit Hall), fantastic concerts, short films and videos, demonstrations on the Blue Ribbon Stage, over 13,500 exhibits, and the Fair's biggest and most elaborate fireworks display ever, presented nightly over the lagoon at 9:30 pm.

Petaluma's Sonoma-Marin Fair Starts This Week

June 22, 2015

Sonoma-Marin FairSummertime is fair time, and the first fair of the season is Petaluma's Sonoma-Marin Fair, which takes place at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds from Wednesday June 24 through Sunday, June 28. The Sonoma-Marin Fair is not quite but almost a county fair, and offers a wide range of fun and exciting attractions, competitions, events, and activities for the entire family.

This year's theme is "Only at the Fair", and you'll find plenty of family fun including carnival rides with a kiddie carnival for younger children, pig races, a safari adventure, "Agventure Land" for agricultural fun, strolling clowns, jugglers, and silly characters, and artst and crafts and a petting zoo at Clo's Kids Corner. You'll also find livestock shows, agricultural exhibits, chef demonstrations, a destruction derby, and more. Of course the fair's famous World's Ugliest Dog Contest, will take place, too!

And what would a fair be without great live music? The Sonoma-Marin Fair has numerous musical acts on its schedule, including the Beach Boys, Tower of Power, and Tanya Tucker. All concerts are free with fair admission and begin at 8 pm.

Weekend Family-friendly Fun for June 19, 20 & 21

June 20, 2015

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 19

  • Children's Garden Series: The Red Panda Acrobats
    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. Combining exceptional athletic skills, traditional Chinese music, dazzling costumes, and a fast-paced show sure to amaze viewers of all ages, the Red Panda Acrobats bring the ancient art of Chinese acrobatics into the 21st century with jaw-dropping displays of strength, balance, and dexterity. For more info, visit their website.
  • Father Son BBQ
    Corte Madera Community Center
    Friday,  6:30–9 pm

    Have fun at the Father Son BBQ at the Corte Madera Community Center. This event features games, activities, and a BBQ. Cost: $20 per person. Location: 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: Mitch Wood and his Rocket 88's. Sponsored by Sausalito Sister City Committee. 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 85's will be performing. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or visit their website.

Saturday, June 20

  • 11th Annual Flea Market
    Mill Valley Community Center
    Saturday, 9 am–3 pm

    Find new treasures and collectibles at bargain prices, plus the Mill Valley Seniors' Club will sell a variety of foods, drinks, snacks and delicious homemade take-home goodies! Location: 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Father's Day Weekend Fishing Derby
    Paradise Beach Park, Tiburon
    Saturday, 9 am–1 pm

    Spend the day with Dad at Paradise Beach Park in Tiburon for the Father's Day Weekend Fishing Derby. Prizes awarded for biggest fish, first fish, and heaviest fish! No fishing license required when fishing from the pier. Free. A limited number of fishing poles and bait will be provided to beginners on a first-come, first-served basis. For more info, visit their website.
  • Northern California Pirate Festival
    Vallejo Waterfront
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    Avast, mateys! The Northern California Pirate Festival takes place at the Vallejo waterfront this weekend. The festival features piratical music and entertainment, sword fighting, vendors, and food, plus a special children's area with a 30-foot slide, special shows, contests, and the Children's School of Piracy. Tickets: $10 adults; children 11 and under free with paid adult admission. 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.
  • Dave the Horn Guy
    Fairfax Library
    Saturday, 11 am
    Dave the Horn guy explains THE ELEMENTS OF MUSIC and THE PHYSICS OF SOUND to ages 4 and up. Instead of regular storytime. Location: 2097 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Fairfax. For more info, visit their website.
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