Events and Outings

Marin Weekend Family Fun for January 23, 24 & 25

January 23, 2015
Fort Point Civil War Living History Day
Step back in time at Fort Point's Civil War Living History Day on Saturday from 10 am–5 pm

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

Friday, January 23

  • Sing and Dance with Miss Kitty
    San Rafael Public Library
    Friday, 10:30–11:15 am

    Join Marin County favorite Miss Kitty for a series of fun family concerts just right for children aged birth to 8 years old. Free, no registration required! Location: 1100 E Street, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 485-3322 or visit their website.
  • San Francisco Boat Show
    McCovey Cove & Pier 48
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    The Progressive Insurance San Francisco Boat Show offers a festive seaside atmosphere and is the “go to” place to see and experience everything that boating has to offer in the Bay Area, with entertainment for all ages including on-water activities such as hands-on skill building workshops, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding test rides and demos. Gourmet food and berverages will also be available to purchase. Admission: $12 adults: $12, free for 15 and younger. Adjacent to AT&T Park. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, January 24

  • Family Bird Walk at Olompali
    Olompoli State Historic Park, Novato
    Saturday, 8:30 am–noon

    Celebrate the season with the birds of Olompali. Beginning and experienced birders are invited to join leaders Rich Cimino and Janet Bodle of Yellowbilled Tours to view Olompali's diverse avian residents as we walk the ranch road past the park's reservoir. Perfect for the family. Cost: $8 per car; event is free. Location: new park entrance from Atherton Avenue/Redwood Boulevard in Novato. For more info, call (707) 762-9715 or visit their website.
  • Family Fun: 2nd Annual Stafford Winter Classic
    Stafford Lake Park, Novato
    Saturday, 9 am–1 pm

    Come out and show off your game at Stafford’s 2nd Annual Winter Disc Golf Classic! Merit and raffle prizes will be awarded with top honors going to lowest score per 18 holes. This event is ideal for all ages. All skill levels are welcome and no experience is necessary. Wear comfortable athletic clothing and sturdy shoes. Hot chocolate and snacks provided. Location: Park entrance is waived for participants. Meet at the gate house at Stafford Lake Park in Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Creekside Restoration with Save the Bay
    Hal Brown Park at Creekside, Greenbrae
    Saturday, 9 am–noon

    Join Marin County Parks and Save the Bay staff to learn about the history of San Francisco Bay and Creekside Marsh, and be a part of a community-based effort to enrich important habitat areas of Hal Brown Park. All skill levels are welcome and no previous experience is necessary. OK for volunteers as young as 5 to participate with a parent or guardian. Dress in layers you can get dirty, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water. Snacks and extra water will be provided. Pre-registration is required. To register or for additional information visit their website.
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse
    Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 9 am–3:30 pm

    Go see the whales out at the Point Reyes Light House and Chimney Rock. Shuttle buses leave Drakes Beach every 15–20 minutes. The cost is $7 per person; children under 16 are free. No cars allowed at Point Reyes Light House on weekends and holidays December 26 through mid-April. For more info, visit their website.
  • Civil War Living History Day
    Fort Point, San Francisco
    Saturday, 10 am–5 pm

    Join reenactors from the American Civil War Association as they bring this 150-year-old fort to life with period uniforms, military music, talks, and demonstrations. We attended this event last year—read our article here. Free admission. For information, call (415) 556-1693 or visit their website.
  • Open House at The Mountain School
    Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am-noon

    Bring the whole family to visit their cozy classrooms, meet their seasoned professional preschool teachers, and chat with the wonderful Mountain School parents. RSVP at (415) 924-4661. Location: 50 El Camino Drive, Corte Madera.
  • Free Junior Chef Classes
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am
    Cook up family fun with this series of classes at Williams-Sonoma in Corte Madera. In this class, it’s A-OK to eat with your fingers—no forks required! Learn how to make scrumptious finger foods that are great for snacks, lunch and dinner. What could be more fun? Suitable for ages 9–13. Location: The Village Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Open House at Montessori de Terra Linda
    San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am
    Montessori de Terra Linda is an AMI recognized independent school in Marin County serving children from preschool through sixth grade. Their open house is a wonderful opportunity to meet teachers, see the classrooms, and get a better understanding of the Montessori curriculum. (Adults only, please.) Please RSVP by calling (415) 479-7373. Location: 610 Del Ganado Road, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Open House at Cascade Canyon School
    Fairfax
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Cascade Canyon School (CCS) opens its doors to the whole family, with a K–8 open house event. The open house includes a student-led tour, demonstration lessons, a teacher-led question and answer session, and an opportunity to meet the Head of School. Location: 2626 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Fairfax. For more info, call (415) 459-3464 or visit their website.

Marin Weekend Family Fun: January 16, 17, 18 & 19

January 16, 2015
Learn all about the famous Sea Lions at PIER 39 in San Francisco this weekend. Photo: PIER 39.

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

Friday, January 16

  • Sing and Dance with Miss Kitty
    San Rafael Public Library
    Friday, 10:30–11:15 am

    Join Marin County favorite Miss Kitty for a series of fun family concerts just right for children aged birth to 8 years old. Free, no registration required! Location: 1100 E Street, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 485-3322 or visit their website.
  • Sea Lion Encounter at PIER 39
    PIER 39's Entrance Plaza, San Francisco
    Friday–Monday, 11 am–4 pm

    Learn everything you ever wanted to know about California sea lions during the celebration of the return of these gregarious pinnipeds to PIER 39's famous K-docks! Free educational walking tours provided by naturalists from the Aquarium of the Bay. Tours begin at the top of the hour between noon and 4 pm each day. Enjoy complementary refreshments. For more info, visit their website.
  • Parents Night Out
    Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
    Friday, 5–10 pm

    Drop off the kids and enjoy a night out! While you relax, the kids will be having fun with the Marinwood camp staff playing games, park time, arts, crafts, snacks & more! This event often sells out—register early! For ages 2–10. Cost: $20; $18 sibling (same family) discount. For more info and registration call (415) 479-0775 or visit their website.

Saturday, January 17

  • 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 music (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • Rockin' Ropes Opening Weekend
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday-Monday, 9 am–5 pm

    The zoo invites kids ages 4–14 years old to enjoy the elevated ropes obstacle course "Rockin’ Ropes Adventure" in the Pachyderm Building. To keep everyone active and healthy for the new year, this challenging ropes course will be open on weekends and school holidays. Young visitors can zip, swing, jump, step, and slide their way through 30 feet of fun; for this opening weekend a bounce-house obstacle course will be availalble for the little ones. Fee: $3 upper-level SFZS members, $5 regular SFZS members, and $7 general (after museum admission). For more info, visit their website.
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse
    Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 9 am–3:30 pm

    Go see the whales out at the Point Reyes Light House and Chimney Rock. Shuttle buses leave Drakes Beach every 15–20 minutes. The cost is $7 per person; children under 16 are free. No cars allowed at Point Reyes Light House on weekends and holidays December 26 through mid-April. For more info, visit their website.
  • New Exhibit: Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday–Monday, 9 am–5 pm
    Step into the pages of beloved children’s books and enter a world of early literacy adventures! Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites immerses children and adults in favorite picture books, from the gardens of The Tale of Peter Rabbit to the urban snowscape of The Snowy Day and the tropical island of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Designed for children from birth through 8 years old and adults, Storyland engages visitors in storylines and literacy activities that lead them to discover that it’s never too early to develop a love of reading. Free after museum admission. For more info, visit their website.

Hands-on Fun for Spring at Slide Ranch

January 16, 2015

slide ranch spring flingSlide Ranch is a great place for family members of all ages. We tried out one of their family farm days in the past and my kids had a great time petting the sheep planting seeds, milking a goat, and making nature crafts. They offer guided tours and lots of hands-on activities, including collecting eggs from chickens, planting seeds, sampling from their organic garden, learning to make crafts and food just like the early farmers, and exploring the nearby tide pools.

Slide Ranch is located off of Shoreline Highway in Muir Beach. Below is a list of their upcoming spring events. Their programs do fill up quickly, so you need to plan ahead if you are interested in participating. Register for programs online at www.slideranch.org.

Spring Family Farm Days

  • Ocean Exploration Family Farm Days
    Saturday March 14, 2015 and Saturday May 23, 2015, 10 am–2 pm
    Enjoy ocean-themed activities and a hike to the tide pools. The low tide will reveal sea stars, anemones, and many other marine discoveries. Each family will receive a free copy of the book, Exploring Low Tide in Northern California. Cost: $25 per person; age 2 and under free.
  • Sheep to Shawl Family Farm Day
    Saturday, March 21, 2015, 10 am–2 pm
    Our clothing comes from animals and plants! Learn the whole process, from sheep shearing demonstrations in our pasture to wool spinning in the yurt. Watch a live demonstration of how sheep get a haircut, and local wool expert Christie Collins will teach us fun activities to show how that wool eventually becomes a sweater. Everyone will get a chance to spin wool and take home some soft memories of the day! Cost: $25 per person; age 2 and under free.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for January 9, 10 & 11

January 9, 2015
Mochi pounding at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco
Celebrate the New Year, Japanese-style, with traditional mochi pounding at the Asian Art Museum.

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

Note that the Golden Gate Bridge will be closed to traffic this Saturday and Sunday, January 10 and 11, in order to install a new moveable median barrier. If you're planning on going into San Francisco from Marin consider taking Golden Gate Transit bus, which will be driving across the bridge, or the Golden Gate Ferry. Find out more about the bridge closure here.

Friday, January 9

  • Sing and Dance with Miss Kitty
    San Rafael Public Library
    Friday, 10:30–11:15 am

    Join Marin County favorite Miss Kitty for a series of fun family concerts just right for children aged birth to 8 years old. Free, no registration required! Location: 1100 E Street, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 485-3322 or visit their website.
  • Last Weekend for Ice Skating: Marin on Ice
    Northgate Mall, San Rafael
    Friday-Sunday, noon–10 pm

    This is the last weekend for Marin on Ice, an outdoor skating rink in San Rafael's Northgate Mall. Bring the kiddos out to for a day of ice skating. Skating costs $15 per person, which includes skate rental, and "Skate Buddies" (the blue plastic chair-like supports) are available for beginnners.  or call (707) 738-8496. Northgate Mall is located off Highway 101 in San Rafael's Terra Linda area, between Northgate Drive and Las Gallinas Avenue. For more info, call (707) 738-8496 or visit onicemarin.com
  • Crazy, Awesome Science! Fun with Liquid Nitrogen
    Children's Museum of Sonoma

    Friday, 2 pm
    This program often includes a scientific demonstration followed by hands-on science for everyone. Free after museum admission. Location: 1835 W. Steele Lane, Santa Rosa. For more info, visit their website.
  • de Youngsters Family Art Party 2015
    de Young Museum, San Francisco
    Friday, 6–9 pm

    Join other Bay Area families in putting the "art" in "party" at the de Youngsters second annual benefit bash for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Guests both young and "young at art" will enjoy a fun-filled evening at the de Young exploring color and line, a modern treasure hunt in Celebrating the Spectrum: Highlights from the Anderson Collection, teen-oriented activities based on the lively works on view in Keith Haring: The Political Line, plus more surprises! To purchase tickets, visit their website.
  • Kids' Pajama Party with Mac Barnett
    DIESEL, a bookstore Larkspur
    Friday, 6–7 pm

    Pull on your PJs and bring your teddy bear to the bookstore! Author Mac Barnett will be here to read you a bedtime story. Get cozy in front of the fireplace, listen to a story or two, have some milk and cookies, get your books signed, and then head home for bed. Location: Marin County Mart, Larkspur. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, January 10

  • Family Fun Run/Health & Wellness Fair
    Mill Valley Recreation Center
    Saturday, 8–11 am

    Jump start your New Years resolution with a fun and exciting way to experience health, wellness and community in Mill Valley. Family fun run/walk (around the large lawn area behind community center), bounce house, air brush tattoos, face painting, and food tasting. Free admission. Location: 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family and Youth Winter Bird Count
    Albert J. Boro Community Center at Pickleweed Park
    Saturday, 9 am–12:30 pm
    Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary and WildCare are co-hosting their fourth Youth Winter Bird Count (YWBC). This event will give aspiring young birders, their families, and outdoor enthusiasts an opportunity to contribute to conservation while they learn in both Spanish and English, aided by WildCare's bilingual naturalists and volunteer birders. Students of all ages and their families are invited to participate in this fun and educational event. For more information and registration, visit their website.
  • 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 music (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse
    Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 9 am–3:30 pm

    Go see the whales out at the Point Reyes Light House and Chimney Rock. Shuttle buses leave Drakes Beach every 15–20 minutes. The cost is $7 per person; children under 16 are free. No cars allowed at Point Reyes Light House on weekends and holidays December 26 through mid-April. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Event: McNears Beach Park in Maps
    McNears Beach Park, San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Join Ranger Josh Rosenfeld for an insightful look at the history of McNears Beach Park and the Point San Pedro Peninsula through the layers of time captured on maps. View old maps and browse modern digital imagery of this beautiful park located on the shores of San Pablo Bay. Park entrance is waived for participants. Meet at the snack bar in McNears Beach Park. Location: 201 Cantera Way, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Montessori Open House
    Marin Montessori School, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Get to know Marin Montessori this Saturday at an Open House at their Corte Madera Campus, 5200 Paradise Drive. RSVP required; call (415) 924-5388 ext. 0. For more information, visit their website.
  • The Venus Fly Trap and Other Amazing Carnivorous Plants
    UC Botanical Garden, Berkeley
    Saturday, 10–11 am

    John Bartram was the first to introduce the Venus Fly Trap into cultivation. Family members of all ages are invited to discover some of the fascinating and beautiful plants that can eat insects. Get up close with the amazing leaf adaptations as you learn more about them. Registration required: $15 general, $10 members. Location: 200 Centennial Drive, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Your Child's Education—How to Choose?
    San Rafael Community Center
    Saturday, 10–11 am

    With so many types of schools available, how do I choose a school that works for my family? Learn to compare educational approaches and school models. Learn about the latest neuroscience and brain research with a deep understanding of how children learn and grow; balancing current research with collective wisdom. Cost: $10. Purchase tickets and learn more here. Location: 618 B Street, San Rafael.
  • Free Junior Chef Classes
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am
    Cook up family fun by joining us for a series of classes at Williams-Sonoma in Corte Madera. Want to become a better baker and help out mom and dad in the kitchen? We’ll teach you some basic baking techniques and then prepare a yummy breakfast and a baked snack together. Suitable for ages 9–13. Location: The Village Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for January 2, 3 & 4

January 2, 2015
Elephant seal at Point Reyes
Experience Elephant Seals this weekend at Point Reyes National Seashore's Chimney Rock.

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

You can also hit the ice at Marin on Ice or another Bay Area seasonal skating rink, which will be open during the holidays. Check out our guide to local ice skating here.

Friday, January 2

  • Make a Nightlight for 6th–12th graders
    Novato Library
    Friday, 1–3 pm

    Make a nightlight—materials and assistance provided. Feel free to bring your own figures to populate your nightlight jar. Soldering involved, so signup and permission form required. For more information, contact the Novato Library at (415) 473-2050. Location: 1720 Novato Boulevard, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • LEGO Play Day
    Mill Valley Library
    Friday, 2:30–4 pm

    Get in touch with your inner engineer! Free play with LEGOs supports creativity, problem solving, and reading skills, and it's FUN! Age 5 and up. No sign-up needed. Free. Location: 375 Throckmorton Avenue, Creekside Room, Mill Valley. For more info, call (415) 389-4292 or visit their website.

Saturday, January 3

  • Museums on Us
    Various locations
    Saturday & Sunday
    Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card holders get free general admission to select location museums on the first full weekend of every month. Present your card and a photo ID for admission; one free general admission per cardholder. Get full details here. Participating museums include the de Young Museum, the Legion of Honor, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and the Chabot Space and Science Center. For more info, visit their website.
  • 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 music (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse
    Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 9 am–3:30 pm

    Go see the whales out at the Point Reyes Light House and Chimney Rock. Shuttle buses leave Drakes Beach every 15–20 minutes. The cost is $7 per person; children under 16 are free. No cars allowed at Point Reyes Light House on weekends and holidays December 26 through mid-April. For more info, visit their website.
  • Explore Stafford Lake Park
    Novato
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm

    Come out for an easy nature walk around beautiful Stafford Lake. Along the way we’ll stop and talk about some of the interesting animals and plants that live here. This activity is easy. Water and healthy snacks provided. Park entrance is free. Turn right after the gate house and follow to the first parking lot. Location: 3549 Novato Boulevard, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Junior Chef Classes
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am
    Cook up family fun by joining us for a series of classes designed by Jennifer Tyler Lee, creator of the award-winning food game Crunch a Color and author of The 52 New Foods Challenge cookbook. This class will boost creativity and confidence by empowering children to make healthy smoothies in the blender. Suitable for ages 5–13. Location: The Village Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • STEAM Saturdays: Earth Science
    San Rafael Library
    Saturday, 11–11:45 am

    Join us for STEAM powered stories, rhymes, songs, crafts, experiments, and sensory experiences for preschool children ages 3–6 and their caregivers. This Saturday, Earth Science. Location: 1100 E Street, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Experience Elephant Seals
    Elephant Seal Overlook, Chimney Rock, Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 11 am–4 pm
    Weekends and holidays, late December–April. View an elephant seal colony through binoculars and scopes. A special 30-minute slide program about elephant seals may be available at the Lifeboat Station at Chimney Rock, depending on staffing availability. Check at one of the Visitor Centers for whether the slide program is being offered. Visitors will need to take the winter shuttle bus from Drake's Beach. For moore info, call (415) 669-1534 or visit their website.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for December 26, 27 & 28

December 24, 2014
Whale watching point reyes lighthouse
Visit Point Reyes Lighthouse this weekend for the start of whale watching season.

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

You can also hit the ice at Marin on Ice or another Bay Area seasonal skating rink, which will be open during the holidays. Check out our guide to local ice skating here.

Friday, December 26

  • Learn to Skate at McInnis
    McInnis Park, San Rafael
    Friday, 11 am–1 pm

    Join us at the McInnis Skate Park where rangers will offer tips and techniques for beginners as well as ways to attack features that build confidence and skill. This event is ideal for all ages. All skill levels are welcome and no experience is necessary. Wear comfortable athletic clothing and sturdy shoes. Don’t forget to bring your board, helmet, and pads. Rain will cancel. Park entrance is free. Location: 310 Smith Ranch Road, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Boswick the Clown's Variety Show
    Un-Scripted Theatre, San Francisco
    Friday–Sunday, 11 am

    Former Ringling Brothers Clown Boswick is famous for his antics, his playfulness and being able to make children laugh with hysterics. Join Boswick at the beautiful Un-Scripted Theatre, just two blocks from Union Square, in the heart of San Francisco's Theatre District. Boswick the Clown presents clown sketches, juggling, and story telling in an intimate setting. Your children will laugh till they're red in the face! Tickets: $15. Location: 533 Sutter Street. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker
    War Memorial Opera House

    Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 2 & 7 pm
    San Francisco Ballet’s awe-inspiring production is like no other, with colorful, larger-than-life scenery, over 200 dazzling costumed characters, and of course Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score performed live by the world-class San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Performances of Nutcracker run through December 29. Ticket prices start at $26. For more info, call (415) 865-2000 or visit their website.
  • LEGO Play Day
    Mill Valley Public Library
    Friday, 2:30–4 pm

    Get in touch with your inner engineer! Free play with LEGO supports creativity, problem solving, and reading skills—and it's fun! Free, no sign-up required. For ages 5 and up. Location: Creekside Room, Mill Valley Library, 375 Throckmorton Avenue. For more information, visit their website.
  • Le Cirque de Bohème Holiday Circus
    Cornerstone Sonoma
    Friday, 5 pm, Saturday, 1 & 5 pm

    This Christmas, Cornerstone Sonoma presents a winter circus for the holidays by Le Cirque de Bohème. Experience the magic of a 1920s style circus based on the French tradition, featuring a magician, contortionist, jugglers, mimes, an eccentric clown, a knife-thrower, and other assorted denizens of 1920s Paris. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $15 for kids under 15. Last year many of these performances sold out early, so get your tickets soon. Order tickets online. Location: 23570 Highway 121, Sonoma. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Zoo Lights
    San Francisco Zoo
    Friday–Sunday, 5–8 pm

    Come get a feeling for the San Francisco Zoo at night under magical holiday lights! Make your way from Entry Village to the Elinor Friend Playground for some magical playtime under the stars. Stop by to see Santa Claus to put in some last-minute requests. Grab some hot apple cider or cocoa and head over to the Playfield Lawn pay a visit to Santa's special reindeer Belle, Holly, Peppermint, and Velvet. And there will be light snow flurries at Zoo Lights, so bundle up! $7 adults, $5 kids 4–14, free 3 and under. For more information, visit their website.

Saturday, December 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 enjoy family entertainment (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse
    Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 9 am–3:30 pm

    Go see the whales out at the Point Reyes Light House and Chimney Rock. Shuttle buses leave Drakes Beach every 15–20 minutes. The cost is $7 per person. Children under 16 are free. No cars allowed at Point Reyes Light House on weekends and holidays December 26 thr. For more info, visit their website.
  • Nature Walk at King Mountain
    King Mountain Open Space Preserve, Kentfield
    Saturday, 9–11 am
    Take a two-mile trek through your local forest and connect to its natural wonders with Ranger Ian McLorg. This will be an easy to moderate hike exploring the King Mountain Loop Trail. Learn about the area’s unique natural resources and features through some fun, interactive activities. Dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes (it could be muddy or slippery), and bring water and snacks. Meet at the gate at the end of Ridgecrest Road in Kentfield. For more information, visit their website.
  • Paint with Bubbles
    Sonoma County Children's Museum, Santa Rosa
    Saturday, 10:30 am-noon

    Join us to see all the different types of art you can make using soap and water. For ages 10 and under. Programs are free with admission to the Museum. Location: 1835 W. Steele Lane, Santa Rosa. For more info, call (707) 546-4069 or visit their website.
  • STEAM Saturdays: Gravity Painting and Color Mixing
    San Rafael Library
    Saturday, 11–11:45 am

    Join us for STEAM powered stories, rhymes, songs, crafts, experiments, and sensory experiences for preschool children ages 3–6 and their caregivers. This Saturday, Gravity Painting and Color Mixing. Location: 1100 E Street, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.

'Tis the Season for Science at the California Academy of Sciences

December 20, 2014

Cal AcademyThis winter break, take in some holiday cheer and meet some real live reindeer at San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Through Sunday, January 4, you can take in not only classic Cal Academy sights like the giant T-Rex skeleton, aquarium, planetarium, rain forest, and African hall, but special winter-themed programming and attractions as well as part of its "'Tis the Season for Science" lineup.

Visit with Willow and Yukon, a pair of live, six-year-old reindeer, in the east garden and learn about how they live in their cold northern homeland. Then, step inside the Snowman Theater to see Roaming with Reindeer, a family-friendly show that explores what life on the tundra is like for these amazing creatures.

While you're there, you'll also enjoy indoor snow flurries, caroling special holiday performances, and more. You can even meet "Santa Claude", the Academy's albino alligator mascot, and watch "Scuba Santa" at work in the Steinhart Aquarium.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for December 19, 20 & 21

December 19, 2014
the Nisja's Bear's House in Marinwood
Visit the Mickey Mouse House in Marinwood this weekend. It's open nightly from 6–10 pm.

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

There's also holiday ice skating at numerous locations throughout the Bay Area, opportunities to visit with Santa Claus at local shopping centers, and amazing decorated holiday houses. Also, check out our North Bay Christmas Tree Farms and Lots article.

Friday, December 19

  • Family Holiday Tea
    Haas-Lilienthal House, San Francisco
    Friday & Saturday, noon & 3 pm

    Celebrate the holidays by stepping back in time through the doors of the festively-decorated Haas-Lilienthal House for a traditional Victorian afternoon tea. Crown & Crumpet promises to delight with its perfectly-blended pots of tea, savory finger sandwiches, scrumptious scones and holiday sweets. Tea will be served in the formal dining room and parlors. Tickets: $48 adults, $24 for children 12 and under. Location: For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker
    War Memorial Opera House

    Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 2 & 7 pm
    San Francisco Ballet’s awe-inspiring production is like no other, with colorful, larger-than-life scenery, over 200 dazzling costumed characters, and of course Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score performed live by the world-class San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Performances of Nutcracker run through December 29. Ticket prices start at $26. For more info, call (415) 865-2000 or visit their website.
  • Family Concert: A Charlie Brown Christmas—Live!
    San Francisco Symphony, Davies Hall
    Friday, 4 pm, Saturday, 2 pm & Sunday, 2 and 7:30 pm

    Iconic Peanuts characters come to life in this colorful live-action performance, with animated backgrounds on the big screen, dancing, singing, and more—all with live accompaniment by the Symphony, Chorus, dancers, and narrators. This unique variety show opens with vocalist Lisa Vroman, the SFS Chorus, and the Symphony performing holiday classics. Come early and enjoy a family-friendly reception. The lobbies will be filled with festive decorations and activities, including gigantic trees, holiday photo booths, and special Peanuts décor. Tickets $12.50 and up; 17 and under half-price. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Zoo Lights
    San Francisco Zoo
    Friday–Sunday, 5–8 pm

    Come get a feeling for the San Francisco Zoo at night under magical holiday lights! Make your way from Entry Village to the Elinor Friend Playground for some magical playtime under the stars. Stop by to see Santa Claus to put in some last-minute requests. Grab some hot apple cider or cocoa and head over to the Playfield Lawn pay a visit to Santa's special reindeer Belle, Holly, Peppermint, and Velvet. And there will be light snow flurries at Zoo Lights, so bundle up! $7 adults, $5 kids 4–14, free 3 and under. For more information, visit their website.
  • Le Petit Cirque de Noël
    Marin County Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Friday, 6–7:15 pm

    Let Petit Cirque de Noël presents A Magic Box under the Big Tent at Marin Country Mart. Tickets: free for children age 18 and under; $15 adults. Tickets required for seating and can be purchased at the Trading Post or on Brown Paper Tickets. To reserve tickets, call the Trading Post at (415) 448-5043. For more info, visit their website.
  • Young Performers Theatre: Peter Pan
    Fort Mason Center, San Francisco
    Friday, 6:30 pm, Saturday & Sunday,1 & 3:30 pm

    The Young Performers Theatre presents Peter Pan. For all ages. Tickets: $10. Location: Building C, Room 300, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.

 Saturday, December 20

  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10 am–2 pm adjacent to the farmer's market, arts and crafts by SCRAP from 10 am–1:30 pm, and children's entertainment from 9:30–10:30 am. Santa Claus will be at the Poppy Store from 11 am to 2 pm for complimentary photos. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Walk: A Winter Wonderland 

Cool Camps for Winter Break in Marin and Beyond

December 12, 2014

studio 4 artLooking for something fun for the kids to do over the upcoming winter break? Check out some of the great winter day camps here in Marin and San Francisco.

  • Studio 4 Art
    1133 Grant Avenue
    Novato

    (415) 596-5546
    Campers will have the choice of many different projects each day. Popular events such as clay, sewing, cartooning, and painting will be highlighted, all tought by Studio 4 Art's professional artist teachers. The camps are December 22–24, 29–31 and January 2 from 9:30 am–1:30 pm for ages 4–14. A sibling discount is offered. For more info, visit www.studio4art.net.
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum Winter Break Camps
    557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito
    (415) 339-3900

    The BADM is offing two two-day sessions: Art Attack on December 22 and 23 and Shipwrecks and Treasure Hunts on December 29 and 30. Both run from 9 am–3 pm and are for children ages 4–7. In Art Attack, explore your artistic potential and express yourself through paint, sculpture, nature objects, recycled materials, and the very popular messy art curriculum. Shipwrecks and Treasure Hunts campers will sing chanteys, make maps, dig for artifacts and treasures, and discover strange sea creatures. Cost: Supporting Family Members: $210 per session; general: $235 per session. Note: no extended care available. For more info, visit www.baykidsmuseum.org.
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