Events and Outings

Marin Family Weekend Fun for October 3, 4, & 5

October 1, 2014

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.

Most Halloween pumpkin patches in Marin and Sonoma counties are now open—see our complete list here.

Friday, October 3

  • Peter Pumpkin Patch
    Spring Hill Jersey Farm, Petaluma
    Friday–Sunday, 9 am–6 pm

    Pick your own organic pumpkin, dig for potatoes, take a tractor ride, visit farm animals, taste homemade ice cream and Spring Hill cheese, milk a cow, and get lost in the hay maze. Peter Pumpkin Patch also ofers fresh fruits and vegetables and picnic baskets. Free parking. This is a wonderful and fun pumpkin patch on a real working farm. Location: 4235 Spring Hill Road (off Bodega Ave.). For more info, call (707) 762-3446 or visit their Facebook page.
  • Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch
    Nicasio
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    The Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch, winner of our 2013 Marin Mommies Pumpkin Patch Poll, offers certified organic pumpkins as well as countless attractions including hay rides, farm animals, pony rides, mechanical bulls, a bounce house and giant inflatable slide, a farm stand, Big Jim's award-winning BBQ and ice cream. Popular children's recording artist Tim Cain performs every Sunday form 11 am–noon. Location: 5300 Nicasio Valley Road (1/4 mile north of Nicasio square). For more info, visit their website.
  • Petaluma Pumpkin Patch
    550 Stony Point Road
    Friday & Saturday, 10 am–10 pm and Sunday, 10 am–6pm
    Over 50 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds, as well as a 4-acre Amazing Corn Maze (admission $5, 5 and under free; $9 on Friday and Saturday nights 6–10 pm), farm animals, a zip line, weekend pony rides, face painting, jumpy houses and inflatables, food vendors, covered snack area, and more. For more info, visit their website.
  • Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
    Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
    Friday 10:30 am–7 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–7 pm
    This free annual music festival of bluegrass, old time, country, and more, founded by the late Warren Hellman, takes place in Golden Gate Park's Hellman Hollow and Marx and Lindley Meadows. This year's headliners include Carlene Carter, Chris Isaak, the Time Jumpers featuring Vince Gill and Lucinda Williams, and the Handsome Family. For more info, visit their website.
  • Kids' Pajama Party with Kathryn Otoshi
    DIESEL, a bookstore, Larkspur
    Friday, 6–7 pm

    Pull on your PJs and bring your teddy bear to the bookstore! Author and illustrator Kathryn Otoshi 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 and get your books signed before heading home for bed. Kathryn Otoshi is a cat lover and an award-winning author and illustrator who lives in the Bay Area with her husband, Daniel, and two cockatiels. Location: Marin Country Mart, 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, October 4

  • Museums on Us Free Day
    Various Museums
    Saturday & Sunday

    Bank of America cardholders can visit the following Bay Area museums for free! Enjoy the Contemporary Jewish Museum, de Young Museum, the Legion of Honor, and the Chabot Space and Science Center. Photo ID and a valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card must be presented. For more information, visit their website.
  • Mill Valley Film Festival Children's Filmfest
    Mill Valley and San Rafael
    Saturday and Sunday, various times
    The 37th annual Mill Valley Film Festival's Children's Filmfest features a lineup of unique children's films from around the world. Visit their website for times and program details.
  • CSRG Charity Challenge
    Sonoma Raceway

    Saturday and Sunday, 8:30 am–5:30 am
    Vintage race cars from the '50s through the '70s compete at Sonoma Raceway this weekend. Visit the paddock to look at cars and talk to the drivers. It's like a museum on wheels! Adults $25, children free. Sonoma Raceway is located at Highway 37 and 121 between Sonoma and Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Fall Toddler Days
    Slide Ranch, Muir Beach
    Saturday, 9 am–noon

    A popular day at the farm for families with toddlers and babies! Enjoy milking a goat, holding a warm egg from the chickens, and hearing the baa of the sheep. Activities are toddler appropriate, but all ages welcome on this very friendly day. Fee: $30 per person; children 12 months and under are free. 15% discount for families of 4 or more. Register here. Location: 2025 Shoreline, Muir Beach. For more info, visit their website.
  • Tiburon Challenger: USTA Free Kids' Day!
    Tiburon Peninsula Club
    Saturday, 9–11 am

    This unique event will feature a special exhibition performance, intimate “courtside conversations” with some of the featured players and lots of fun games and activities on court. Soft serve ice-cream cones will be provided by Tiburon Peninsula Club on the café patio following Kids’ Day and all participants return home with a gift on behalf of USTA NorCal. Kids are welcome to come watch qualifying matches after playday. For more info, visit their website.
  • Nature for Kids: Deer Island
    Deer Island Open Space Preserve, Novato
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm

    This is a Healthy Parks Healthy People Event. Follow the 2.3 mile loop trail around this “island” as you walk through oak forests and open meadows. This beautiful little ridge that rises above the surrounding marshland is a great place to enjoy an autumn day with the family. Don’t forget to bring your lunch! For questions, contact David Herlocker at (415) 893-9508. Meet at the gate on Deer Island Lane in Novato. For more information, visit their website.

Family Halloween Events & Fall Festivals in Marin & the Bay Area

September 30, 2014

Halloween Girls in Witch CostumesHalloween is one of our favorite holidays, and there's so much family fun to be had at this time of year. Find the Halloween event or fall festival that's right for you! We'll keep updating our list of events for Marin and beyond as we find more this fall. If you have an event you'd like to see added to the list, please contact us.

Marin and Sonoma Events

  • Tween Movie Afternoon: Coraline
    Sausalito Library
    Wednesday, October 1, 4 pm

    A young girl walks through a secret door and discovers an alternate, seemingly much better, version of her life. When her adventure turns dangerous, her counterfeit parents try to keep her forever and Coraline must use her resourcefulness and bravery to get back home. For ages 10–13. Location: 420 Litho Street, Sausalito in the Edgewater Room. For more info, call (415) 289-4121 or visit their website.
  • Not Afraid of the Dark Hike
    Old St. Hilary, Tiburon
    Friday, October 10, 6–7:30pm

    Halloween is coming but we’re not scared; come enjoy Old St. Hilary’s at night! Join Ranger Felicity Hartnett for a short one-mile hike at sunset with beautiful views of San Francisco. This hike is ideal for young adventurers and their families as an introduction to night hiking. Dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring a flashlight or headlamp. RSVP’s are appreciated but not required at FHartnett@marincounty.org. Meet at the gate at the end of Lyford Drive in Tiburon. For more info, visit their website.
  • Harvest Celebration
    Slide Ranch, Muir Beach
    Saturday, October 11, 10 am–4 pm

    Celebrate the season of bounty with Slide Ranch. Family activities: scare crow workshop, coastal hikes, goat milking, seed harvesting, cob oven bakeshop, wool crafts, cotton spinning and a beekeeping workshop with the Planet Bee Foundation. Featuring live bluegrass, acoustic jamming, Sophie Rox and Donna's Tamales! Fun for all ages is guaranteed. Tickets are $30 per person and children 24 months and under are free! For more info, visit their website.

Marin Family Weekend Fun for September 26, 27 & 28

September 26, 2014
Pumpkin Patch
Get a head start on fall at some of our favorite pumpkin patches opening this weekend!

Here are our other 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, September 26

  • Petaluma Pumpkin Patch
    550 Stony Point Road
    Friday & Saturday, 10 am–10 pm and Sunday, 10 am–6pm
    This is the opening weekend for the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch. Over 50 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds, as well as a 4-acre Amazing Corn Maze (admission $5, 5 and under free; $9 on Friday and Saturday nights 6–10 pm), farm animals, a zip line, weekend pony rides, face painting, jumpy houses and inflatables, food vendors, covered snack area, and more. For more info, visit their website.
  • Parents Night Out
    Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
    Friday, 5–9 pm

    Drop off the kids and enjoy a night out! While you relax, the kids will be having fun with the Marinwood Camp staff this Saturday evening. This event often sells out—register early! For ages 3–10. Cost: $22; $4 sibling discount. For more info, visit their website.
  • Seals & Slippers: Sleep under the Stars
    The Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito
    Friday, 6 pm to Saturday 10 am

    The sleepover is aimed at children ages 6–12. The overnight stay includes eating feeding season with the seals, guided hike around Rodeo Lagoon, dinner, dessert, and continental breakfast. Cost: $85 per person. Register by contacting Kristin Ku at KuK@TMMC.org or (415) 289-7330. For more info about the sleepover, visit their website.
  • Film Night in the Park: The LEGO Movie
    Creek Park, San Anselmo
    Saturday, 8 pm

    This Friday's movie is The LEGO Movie (PG). Arrive by 8 pm—films begin at dusk. Popcorn, candy, and sodas will be sold. Bring blankets, pillows, backrests, and low chairs. Film Night suggests leaving pets at home. Donations are appreciated. Creek Park is located in San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, September 27

  • Weekend Along Farm Trails
    Sonoma County
    Saturday & Sunday
    This Saturday and Sunday dozens of Farm Trails members are opening up their barnyard gates to give you a sneak preview of life on the farm. Several Farm Trails member businesses are also offering discounts and specials for visitors this weekend. Register for free and you'll get a map and the itinerary. This is an unique opportunity to meet your farmers and producers on their treasured turf and learn how your food is grown and produced. Offerings include tours, demonstrations, classes, samples, meals, hayrides, animal petting and feeding, to name a few. Plus, picnic spots abound. For more info and to register, visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    This weekend, Kids Love to Cook! DirectionFive will be joining the Marin Country Mart Farmers' Market for a cooking demonstration and tasting with hands-on participation with children of all ages from 10:30–11:30 am. Enjoy the best local and organic produce and more at this fantastic farmers market. Kids can take a pony ride and visit the petting zoo (10 am–2 pm), crafts by SCRAP, and children's entertainment (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • Peter Pumpkin Patch
    Spring Hill Jersey Farm, Petaluma
    Saturday & Sunday, 9 am–6 pm

    Pick your own organic pumpkin, dig for potatoes, take a tractor ride, visit farm animals, taste homemade ice cream and Spring Hill cheese, milk a cow, and get lost in the hay maze. Peter Pumpkin Patch also ofers fresh fruits and vegetables and picnic baskets. Free parking. This is a wonderful and fun pumpkin patch on a real working farm. Location: 4235 Spring Hill Road (off Bodega Ave.). For more info, call (707) 762-3446 or visit their Facebook page.
  • Blackie's Hay Day 
    Blackie's Pasture, Tiburon
    Saturday, 9 am–4 pm

    Blackie's Hay Day has become a community tradition that children look forward to every year. Designed for children of all ages, Blackie's Hay Day is reminiscent of an old fashioned country fair with pony rides, relay races, toy tractors, jumpies, a climbing wall, live entertainment, food trucks, and more. General admission $10. Activity tickets $1 each. Children under 2 free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Museum Day Live! at the Bay Area Discovery Museum
    Fort Baker, Sausalito
    Saturday, 9 am–5 pm

    The Bay Area Discovery Museum is participating in the Smithsonian's Museum Day Live! On Saturday, the museum will grant free admission to Museum Day pass holders. To obtain a free pass, visit here. Location: 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito. For more info, call (415) 339-3900 or visit their website.
  • Garden Pizza Party! Family Campout
    Slide Ranch, Muir Beach
    Saturday 10 am–Sunday 1 pm

    Celebrate this international day of cleaning waterways and the ocean with family-friendly ocean themed activities. Special overnight programs featuring camping in a spectacular coastal meadow. Activities include crafts and nature exploration, farm fun, a family potluck dinner, a campfire under the stars, and much more. The Slide Ranch overnight camping trip is an educational, unique, fun, and hassle-free way to camp for the whole family! Cost: Fee: $75 per person; age 2 and under free. Register here. For more info, call (415) 381-6155 or visit their website.
  • Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival & Kids Carnival
    Sonoma Plaza on the Square
    Saturday 10 am–8 pm
    & Sunday, 10 am–4 pm
    The Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival is Sonoma Valley’s annual tradition of celebrating the harvest of wine grapes and the yearly crush. California’s oldest festival, this Sonoma tradition is held on the historic town square and is fun for all ages. Festivities include Opening Night Gala, blessing of the grapes, reenactment of the Bear Flag Revolt, firefighters' water fight, family grape stomp, parade, kids carnival, tiny tacks race and 5k run/walk. For more info, visit their website.

Celebrate Fall in Tiburon with Blackie's Hay Day

September 26, 2014

Blackie's Hay DayBring your family to come celebrate fall this Saturday, September 27, from 9 am to 4 pm at Blackie's Hay Day. This annual fundraiser and community tradition is reminiscent of an old-fashioned country fair and helps raise money for children's and youth programs at the Belvedere-Tiburon Library.

Blackie's Hay Day takes place, naturally, at Blackie's Pasture, which is located off Tiburon Boulevard near Trestle Glen. Blackie's Pasture is named after Blackie, a swaybacked horse who stood in the pasture for nearly 30 years and became a Tiburon mascot, after stints in the rodeo and the US cavalry.

The family fun on Blackie's Hay Day will include pony rides, a petting zoo, a rock climbing wall, jumpies, face painting, a spa tent carnival games, a train ride, and more. The event will also include live musical entertainment, including by Doc Kraft & Company, the Wronglers, and others.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for September 19, 20 & 21

September 19, 2014
Fall Arts Festival Mill Valley
Family fun awaits this weekend at Mill Valley's 58th annual Fall Arts Festival in Old Mill Park.

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, September 19

  • The 6th Annual Redwood Empire Train Show
    Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa
    Friday, noon–7 pm, Saturday, 10 am–7pm
    & Sunday 10 am-5 pm
    The Redwood Empire Train Show has become one of the largest and most popular model railroad events in northern California There is nothing quite like seeing a kid's face light up the first time when they enter the 26,000-square-foot Train Show. For all ages. Cost: $7 adults, free for children 12 and under. Location: 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Nights on Main: Annual Firemen's Ball
    Downtown Tiburon
    Friday, 6–9 pm

    Bring the family and enjoy music, dancing, shopping, and food. By popular demand, the Fundamentals return to provide to provide their trademark brand of red hot rockin’ soul and rock 'n' roll. Come on down, enjoy the music, meet your local firefighters and support the Volunteer Fire Department. For more info, call (415) 435-5633 or visit their website.
  • Sunny Hills Ladies Night at the Mart!
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Friday, 5:30–9:30 pm
    Plan for an amazing night with friends, fashion, cocktails, and great food... help a child have a better and brighter future. You will enjoy an evening out with specialty cocktails and fine wines, music, and culinary delights. Shop the latest fashions and accessories followed by a spectacular live auction and exclusive fashion show! Purchase tickets here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Outdoor Concert at Pacheco Plaza
    Novato
    Friday, 6–9 pm

    Bring the family for a night of music and fun. Bring your lawn chairs and pick up a picnic at Paradise Market and enjoy this casual fun atmosphere. It's a big crowd so come prepared dance the evening away with classic Motown by the GTS Band. Location: 366 Ignacio Boulevard, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Film Night in the Park: The Butler
    Creek Park, San Anselmo
    Saturday, 8 pm

    This Friday's movie is The Butler (PG-13). Arrive by 8 pm—films begin at dusk. Popcorn, candy, and sodas will be sold. Bring blankets, pillows, backrests, and low chairs. Film Night suggests leaving pets at home. Donations are appreciated. Creek Park is located in San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, September 20

  • California Coastal Cleanup Day
    Various Marin locations
    Saturday, 9 am–noon

    On the third Saturday of every September volunteers all over the world converge on beaches, shorelines, and inland waterways to pick up trash and remove dangerous debris. Considered the largest marine-related volunteer event in the world, Coastal Cleanup Day is a wonderful opportunity to lend a hand and make a significant difference. There are over 35 sites in Marin to choose from. Check the list here.
  • Coastal Clean-up Day: Rodeo Lagoon Restoration
    Fort Cronkhite, Sausalito
    Saturday, 9 am–noon

    Celebrate the annual California Coastal Cleanup Day with stewardship at Rodeo Lagoon in the Marin Headlands. Lend a hand, learn about the impacts of marine debris, and spend some quality time with your kids outdoors. Free. For all ages. Register here. For more info, visit their website.
  • WildCare Family Adventures: Coast Cleanup at Muir Beach
    Muir Beach
    Saturday, 10 am–12:30 pm

    WildCare Family Adventures will participate in the statewide coastal cleanup. Vast amounts of plastic debris litter the world's oceans causing harm to wildlife. Most of this debris comes from land and, if not removed, it will end up in the ocean. On this Family Adventure we will have a little hike on the beach, and take part in this very important cleanup effort. Bring lunch! We will meet in the parking lot of the Pelican Inn at 9:30 am. For direction for more info, visit their website.
  • Wings Over Wine Country Air Show
    Sonoma County Airport, Santa Rosa
    Saturday & Sunday, 9 am-4 pm

    The Wings Over Wine Country Air Show is presented by the Pacific Coast Air Museum (PCAM) as a family-friendly community event. Lots of activities for families and children. A tremendous lineup of flying includes military jet fly-bys, world class civilian aerobatics and a host of warbirds. Static displays include the museum's collection of over 30 restored aircraft (most of which will be open for climb aboards), civilianand military statics and morning access to the warbirds that will fly later in the show. Gates open both days at 9 am for pre-show activities, including radio controlled model aircraft demonstrations. The main air show events kick off just after 11 am. Purchase tickets here. For more info, visit their website.
  • 19th Annual San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival
    Treasure Island
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Bring the entire family for a weekend of world-class dragon boat racing, spectacular cultural performances, and fun-filled activities at the largest competitive dragon boat festival in the United States. There are over 130 dragon boat teams and 3,500 dragon boat paddlers racing. This two-day, admission-free festival has grown to include a colossal offering of cultural activities, games, creative arts, crafts, exhibits, entertainment, live dance and music, performance and immersive experiences for both kids and adults in a family-friendly space. For more info, visit their website.

Get Ready for the Goblin Jamboree at the Bay Area Discovery Museum

September 18, 2014

Goblin JamboreeBoo! Come get a jump on Halloween at the 28th annual Goblin Jamboree at the Bay Area Discovery Museum! Bring your little goblins to this year’s spooky fundraiser on Saturday and Sunday, October 18 and 19 from 10 am–4 pm. Come in costume and explore the Bay Area Discovery Museum transformed into a haunted Halloween wonderland complete with games, attractions and live entertainment.

Ride a spooky train or real ponies, make potions in the Witches' and Wizards' School, and enjoy a full brew of games, activities and live entertainment. This year the museum's Lookout Cove will be transformed intot the spooky (but not scary) Haunted Cove, and favorite exhibits like the shipwreck and Peekaboo Palace will get a Halloween makeover. Make sure you also stop in the Bay Hall to experience the glowing train table, too!

Pumpkin Patches Further Afield

September 16, 2014

Pumpkin PatchWhile there are plenty of awesome pumpkin patches to choose from in Marin and southern Sonoma counties (see our list of those here), you can find other great places to pick up pumpkins and other Halloween and autumn treats throughout the greater Bay Area. Maybe you're headed on a road trip to the south bay, or bound for the grandparents' house in Sacramento this October—there's probably a pumpkin patch on the way. Here are a few out-of-town pumpkin patches, in Solano, Contra Costa, and San Mateo counties, that we've visited at one time or another or have had recommended to us.

Of course if your favorite isn't here, now's the time to let us know! Contact us and we'll consider adding it to the list.

Hands-on Fun for Fall at Slide Ranch

September 15, 2014

Slide 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 a seed, 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 at Muir Beach. Below is a list of their upcoming fall 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.

Family Farm Days (10 am–2 pm for all farm days)

$30 per person; age 2 and under free. 15% discount for families of 4 or more.

All Aboard! Tickets for the Polar Express at the California State Railroad Museum on Sale October 1

September 13, 2014

The Polar ExpressGet ready to believe! Tickets for the California State Railroad Museum's annual holiday Polar Express train rides go on sale to the public on Wednesday, October 1, 2014. The Railroad Museum's sister organization, Railtown 1897, will also be holding Polar Express train rides this season, too.

Climb on board a train pulled by a historic streamlined diesel locomotive from the museum's collection and read along with Chris Van Allsburg's classic holiday story as you and your family make your round-trip journey to the North Pole. Meet Santa Claus, the Train Conductor, and the ghostly Hobo. Sing Christmas carols, drink hot-hot-hot chocolate, and eat cookies—served by dancing waiters, of course.

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