Events and Outings

Marin Weekend Family Fun for August 22, 23 & 24

August 22, 2014
China Camp State Park San Rafael
Celebrate China Camp State Park as its annual Heritage Day this Saturday.

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, August 22

  • Infant Sleep Solutions
    Parents Place, San Rafael
    Friday, 10 am–noon

    Learn some great techniques to help your little one (birth to 12 months)—and you!—sleep. We will discuss baby sleep needs and the best ways to help young ones learn good sleep habits. Pre-crawling babies welcome. With infant sleep expert Sarah Middelton, MA, CD, PCD. Cost: $40. Preregistraion required. Location: 600 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael. To register, visit their website.
  • Children's Room End-of-Summer Party
    Amphitheater & Peter Dreyfuss Garden, Mill Valley Public Library
    Friday, 2:30–4 pm

    Celebrate the end of summer with your friends and library staff under the redwood trees. Hula hoops, crafts, bubbles, face painting, Mika Scott Drumming Circle, and free ice cream will be available for your enjoyment. All Ages, no sign-up needed. Free. Location: 375 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, call (415) 389-4292 x4741 or visit their website.
  • End of Summer Bash
    Bay Area Discovery Museum
    Friday, 5–7:30 pm

    Say goodbye to summer with us as we go out with a bang! Grab a drum and groove with Rhythm Child, participate in a bilingual storytime and bring a picnic blanket to reflect on the fun days of summer. Bean Sprouts Cafe will be open until 7:30 p.m. to purchase snacks, drinks and dinners. General $12, baby ages 6–11 months $11, and Infants under 6 months free. Performances and activities free with admission. Food available for purchase. For more info, visit their website.
  • Picnics on the Plaza
    Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo
    Friday, 5–8 pm

    In its fifth year, the popular Picnics on the Plaza events feature music and family fun in downtown San Anselmo. Bring your picnic basket or buy food at the event. Sponsored by the San Anselmo Economic Development Committee. Location: 525 San Anselmo Avenue, Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marinwood's Music in the Park Series
    Marinwood Park, San Rafael
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    Marinwood’s most popular event is back! Enjoy Friday evenings in the park, featuring live music with Shelby Earl, delicious food by Marinwood Market, wine and beer. Free; food, wine, and beer may be purchased. Location: 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 479-0775 or visit their website.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Friday, 6:30–8:30 pm

    Jazz & Blues by the Bay at Gabrielson Park in Sausalito is a free event. Lawn seating available (first-come first-served). This Friday, Eugene Huggins and Friends, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Saualito. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, August 23

  • Learn How to Pier Fish at Paradise Park
    Paradise Beach Park, Tiburon
    Saturday, 9 am–1 pm

    Join rangers, and a few of our experienced local anglers, to learn the secrets and tricks of the trade when fishing from a pier. A limited number of fishing poles and bait will be provided first-come, first-served to beginners, thanks to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. A valid California fishing license is required when fishing from the shore, not from the pier. Location: Paradise Beach Park, 3450 Paradise Drive, Tiburon For more info, call Ranger Mike Maraccini at (415) 435-9212 or visit their website.
  • 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, face kids' crafts from 9 am–2 pm, Baby Food Cooking & Nutrition Demonstration, 10:30-12:00, and Rythm Child from 10:30 am-noon, as well as fresh produce, prepared foods, and great local restaurants.  For more info, visit their website.
  • 20th Annual Bodega Seafood, Art and Wine Festival
    16855 Bodega Highway, Bodega
    Saturday,10 am–6 pm & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Live music, dance floor, and a kids' entertainment and games. $15 adults, $13 seniors 60+, $11 ages 12–18, kids under 12 free. Tickets available at the gate (or discounted tickets online). Food and drink not included in admission price. No dogs allowed. Free parking. Event takes place at Watt's Ranch. For more info, visit their website.
  • WildCare Family Adventures at Indian Tree
    Indian Tree Open Space Preserve, Novato
    Saturday, 10 am–12:30 pm

    Enjoy a day out in nature with the entire family! WildCare naturalists will lead fun family programs full of discovery. We’ll look for butterflies, flowers, birds, and much more. This is one of the best preserves to visit during a summer heat wave as the trails up the north facing slopes are cloaked in forests of oak, bay, and madrone. Location: Vineyard Road, Novato; check website for directions. For more info, call Marco (415) 453-1000 ext. 17 for details and to reserve space. Visit their website for more info.
  • China Camp Heritage Day
    China Camp State Park, San Rafael
    Saturday, 11 am–4 pm

    This all-day event brings the community together to celebrate Chinese-American heritage, seafaring culture, and the natural history of our beautiful park. Heritage Day features musical and dance performances, including Lion Dancers and Chinese folk dancers. There are arts and crafts for sale, with 20% of the proceeds going to help Friends of China Camp. Location: 100 China Camp Village, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • The 9th Annual Taste of Petaluma
    Downtown Petaluma
    Saturday, 11:30 am–4 pm

    A culinary walking journey of Petaluma's finest restaurants, galleries, shops, winers, breweries and food purveyors. Buy tickets and receive your map and menu showing over 50 different participants to choose from. Purchase tickets here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Best Lil' Porkhouse Hayday
    Corte Madera
    Saturday, noon–3:30 pm

    Corte Madera's Best Little Porkhouse BBQ holds its annual Hayday event on Saturday. This free, family-friendly festival features live music, pony rides, a dunk tank, bounce house, and (of course) BBQ. Location: 60 Madera Boulevard. For more info, visit their website.
  • Hatch Chile Roasting Event
    Mollie Stone's, Greenbrae
    Saturday, noon–4 pm

    Chefs and foodies everywhere eagerly await the Hatch chile harvest season that lasts only a few short weeks in August and September. This summer Mollie Stone's will offer this unique pepper from Hatch, New Mexico, "the Chile Capital of the World". Free roasting on-site with purchase on Saturday during the event. Location, 270 Bon Air Center, Greenbrae. For more info, visit their website.
  • Novato Theater Summer Festival
    Novato Civic Green
    Saturday, 3–7 pm

    Bring the family and come downtown to enjoy good music, food, fun, and dancing on the green. There will be a kids' corner with lots of fun activities. Tickets are $10, children 12 and under are free. Online early bird special is $8. Location: 901 Sherman Avenue, Novato. For more info, visit their website.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for August 15, 16 & 17

August 15, 2014
Civil War Days at Fort Point
Step back in time and experience Civil War Days at San Francisco's Fort Point this Saturday.

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, August 15

  • Children's Garden Series: The Unique Derique
    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. This Friday: The Unique Derique delights all ages by clowning, dancing, and turning his agile limbs into a drum set or a harpsichord keyboard. His interactive performance is percussive, syncopated and dynamic. For more info, visit their website.
  • Benefit Family Concert: Uncle Gerry
    Knights of Columbus Hall, San Anselmo
    Friday, 4 pm
    On Friday, August 15 and Sunday, August 17, Sing-Dance-Play and Music Together of Marin will host concerts for young children and their families featuring recording artist "Uncle" Gerry Dignan, whose music is featured on the CDs given to children who take Music Together classes. Friday's show takes place at 4 pm at San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, and Sunday's performance takes place at 4 pm at the Homestead Valley Community Center, 315 Montford Avenue in Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Family Date Nights: Enzo
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Friday, 5–7:30 pm

    Bring your family to enjoy later hours, live entertainment, special outdoor activities, and more. All activities and performances included with all-day museum admission. Free admission for members. This Friday: Enzo is a one man band, playing cool instruments like the 5-string banjo, accordion, harmonica, and musical saw. For more info, call (415) 339-3900 or visit their website.
  • Picnics on the Plaza
    Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo
    Friday, 5–8 pm

    In its fifth year, the popular Picnics on the Plaza events feature music and family fun in downtown San Anselmo. Bring your picnic basket or buy food at the event. Sponsored by the San Anselmo Economic Development Committee. Location: 525 San Anselmo Avenue, Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Pacheco Plaza Summer Music Series
    Pacheco Plaza, Novato
    Friday, 6–9 pm

    Enjoy the tunes of Creation—"Caribbean groove" best describes this Bay Area top reggae band—and an al fresco dinner from Boca Pizzeria, Taki Japanese Restaurant, or Paradise Foods under the stars! Free shows start at 6 pm and are free of charge. Arrive early for best parking. Location: 366 Ignacio Boulevard, Novato. For more information, visit their website.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Friday, 6:30–8:30 pm

    Jazz & Blues by the Bay at Gabrielson Park in Sausalito is a free event. Lawn seating available, first-come first-served. This Friday: Dennis Johnson and the Mississippi Ramblers, sponsored by Sausalito Youth Sailing Foundation. For more info, visit their website.
  • Parents' Night Out!
    Marinwood Community Center
    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. Games, park time, arts and crafts, snacks and more! Cost: $20; $18 each additional sibling. Register here. Location: 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 479-0775 or visit their website.
  • Film Night in the Park: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
    Creek Park, San Anselmo
    Friday, 8 pm

    This Friday's movie is Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (UR). 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 at the 400 block of Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, August 16

  • Run for the Seals 2014
    Marine Mammal Center
    Saturday, 7 am–5 pm
    Enjoy breathtaking views of the Marin Headlands and the California coastline with your family as you take part in the 30th Anniversary Run for the Seals on Saturday, August 16. There are two routes to choose from: a 4-mile fun run on roads/dirt tracks and a 2-mile hill walk on a fire road. The event is open to all ages. Dogs on leashes are welcome too! And costumed people and dogs are especially encouraged. Your registration fee includes Run for the Seals and Fun Day, so after your run or walk, come to the Center and enjoy free food and drinks, take educational tours, listen to stories and learn about the important work of the Center. For more info, visit their website.
  • 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, face kids' crafts from 9 am–2 pm, Children's Entertainment, 9:30-10:30 am, and live music from 12-2 pm, as well as fresh produce, prepared foods, and great local restaurants.  For more info, visit their website.
  • Fort Point Civil War Days
    Fort Point, San Francisco
    Saturday, 10 am–5 pm

    This event is for the entire family. Join the American Civil War Association as part of commemorations of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War 2011–2015. Stop by and watch Fort Point come to life with music, marching, and the colorful uniforms of Civil War soldiers. See infantry and artillery drills and demonstrations, and learn about civilian life during the Civil War. For more info, call (415) 556-1693 or visit their website.
  • Climb Aboard Weekend
    Pacific Coast Air Museum, Santa Rosa
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–4 pm

    Climb aboard the museum's vintage aircraft and learn about the history of where and how they were used from the crew who has lovingly restored them. This is a rare opportunity to get a close-up look and sit in the cockpits of these historic aircraft. Admission: $10 adults, $7 seniors 65+, $5 children 6–17, free for kids 5 and under and active and retired military with ID; $30 maximum for a family group. For more info, call (707) 575-7900 or visit their website.
  • Back to School Weekend
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday and Sunday, 10 am–5 pm
    It's time to go back to school! On August 16 and 17, the first 500 people to donate a new or gently used school backpack will receive a limited-edition set of Zoo folders, featuring Jillian the Sumatran tiger, Kabibe the western lowland gorilla, Tenzing the red panda, and Erin the reticulated giraffe calf. And to get those young minds back in shape for the classroom, the Zoo will be filled with fun educational opportunities. The collected backpacks will be donated to a Bay Area school community in need. For more information, visit their website.
  • Ranch Tour: Stemple Creek Ranch
    Tomales
    Saturday, 11 am–2 pm

    Bring the kids, friends, and neighbors for a tour of Stemple Creek Ranch, where you'll learn about the ranch's history and how they do things, and take in the beautiful scenery of West Marin. They'll even BBQ some tasters. Bring your own picnic lunch if you like. RSVP required. For more info, call (415) 883-8253 or visit their website.
  • Bat Night
    Olompali State Historic Park, Novato
    Saturday, 6–9 pm

    Meet live bats, view bat houses, create a bat mask, and make bat-style s’mores. Just after dusk, Corky Quirk of NorCal Bats will present a slide show about the wonderful diversity and benefits of bats worldwide. At dark, see some of the park’s residents swoop and dive while they catch insects on the wing. All ages are welcome. Bring a blanket or chair to sit on while we watch the bats. Parking is $8 per car; event is free. Olompali is located just north of Novato at 8901 Redwood Highway. For more info, visit their website.

Spend a Day on the Farm at Tara Firma Farms in Petaluma

August 10, 2014

Tara Firma FarmsPetaluma's Tara Firma Farms is a family-run farm that produces humanely raised chickens, pigs, turkeys, and cattle on 300 acres just across the Sonoma County line. In addition to raising and selling their products, they're committed to educating the public about life on the farm, healthy food, and environmentally sustainable agriculture.

Tara Firma farms offers free farm tours on weekends at 10 am, noon, and 2 pm. The tours are a fantastic farm experience for parents, kids, and anyone who wants to get an up-close-and-personal look at where their food comes from. Come experience the sights, sounds, and, yes, smells of the farm first-hand!

Tara and Craig Smith were inspired to start the farm in 2009 after reading Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, and modeled their operation off of Joel Salatin's Polyface Farm, which is prominently featured in the book. Today you can purchase their products at local farmer's markets, their on-site farm store, and through their popular CSA membership program, which includes their meats and eggs as well as produce and dairy products from other local organic producers.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for August 8, 9 & 10

August 8, 2014
The Gravenstein Apple Fair takes place this weekend in Sebastopol. Photo: Gravenstein Apple Fair.

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, August 8

  • Sonoma County Fair
    Sonoma County Fairgrounds
    Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11 am–11 pm

    It's the final weekend for the Sonoma County Fair, which offers both a classic full-scale carnival with plenty of excitement for thrill-seekers and a separate kiddie carnival area for the little ones, with scaled down thrills and lots of excitement. Fair admission is free every day for children 6 and under; Friday is Kids' Days, with free admission for all children 12 and under. Carnival rides are an additional charge. Admission is $11 for ages 13 and up, $5 for children 7–12, and free for children 6 and under. For more info, visit www.sonomacountyfair.com.
  • Children's Garden Series: Pi Clowns
    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. Nobody takes being silly as seriously as the Pi Clowns. Blending mime, theater, acrobatics, juggling, and improvisation, the Pi Clowns deliver amazing and original clown vignettes. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Family Date Nights: Blues Whale
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Friday, 5–7:30 pm

    Bring your family to enjoy later hours, live entertainment, special outdoor activities, and more. All activities and performances included with all-day museum admission. Free admission for members. This Friday: Blues Whale, a funky jam band from the Marin Headlands, plays a variety of classic covers from Muddy Waters to the Beatles, along with originals.For more info, call (415) 339-3900 or visit their website.
  • Picnics on the Plaza
    Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo
    Friday, 5–8 pm

    In its fifth year, the popular Picnics on the Plaza events feature music and family fun in downtown San Anselmo. Bring your picnic basket or buy food at the event. Sponsored by the San Anselmo Economic Development Committee. Location: 525 San Anselmo Avenue, Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marinwood's Music in the Park Series
    Marinwood Park, San Rafael
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    Marinwood’s most popular event is back! Enjoy Friday evenings in the park, featuring live music with the the Cosmo Alley Cats, delicious food by Marinwood Market, wine and beer. Cost: Entry is free; food, wine, and beer may be purchased. Location: 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 479-0775 or visit their website.
  • Closing Night! Creekside Fridays Music Series
    Tennessee Valley Cabin, Mill Valley
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Bring the family, pets, chairs, and blankets to the weekly free musical event. This week: Tam Valley All Stars. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or visit their website.
  • Marin Shakespeare Company: As You Like It
    Forest Meadows Amphitheater, San Rafael
    Friday, 8 pm, Saturday, 9 pm
    & Sunday, 8 pm
    These are "Pay as You Like It" performances—donations of any amount accepted. Sunday's show is the closing performance of As You Like It. Performances take place at Forest Meadows Amphitheatre at Dominican University of California in San Rafael, 1475 Acacia Avenue (at Grand Avenue). For more info, visit their website.
  • Film Night in the Park: I Am Sam
    Creek Park, San Anselmo
    Friday, 8 pm

    Film Night in the Park presents a large-screen outdoor presentation of I Am Sam (PG-13) at Creek Park in San Anselmo. Popcorn, candy and sodas will be sold. Bring blankets, pillows, backrest and low chairs. Film Night suggests leaving pets at home. Free. Donations greatly appreciated. Location: 451 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, August 9

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

    This Saturday, Kid's Love to Cook! Hands On Cooking Demonstration from 10:30-11:30 am. Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10 am–2 pm, face kids' crafts from 9 am–2 pm, music featuring Miss Kitty from 9:30–10:30 am, and more live music from 11 am–12:30 pm, as well as fresh produce, prepared foods, and great local restaurants. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Bird Walk at Olompali
    Olompali State Historic Park, Novato
    Saturday, 9–11 am

    Birdwatching is a wonderful family activity! We will see permanent and seasonal residents, some of whom have flown thousands of miles to raise their families in this lovely corner of the world. With sharp senses and a bit of luck, we will see fledglings and some early migrants. Families with young children are encouraged to attend. $8 per car for parking; event is free. Please note the new park entrance from Atherton Avenue/Redwood Boulevard. For more info, visit their website.
  • Gravenstein Apple Fair
    Ragle Ranch Park, Sebastopol

    Saturday, 10 am–6 pm and Sunday, 10 am–5 pm
    Come and celebrate a time when neighbors gathered to share home baked food, listen to some of the locals sing a tune, and learn a few farming skills. Brimming with tradition, this country fair showcases the Gravenstein apple and the experience of an old time country get together. Enjoy farming displays, a children's corner with crafts, music, and a magician, and more. Admission $15 general, $10 youth 6–12, free for children under 5. The Gravenstein Apple Fair takes place at Ragle Ranch Park in Sebastopol, at 500 Ragle Road. For more info, visit  www.gravensteinapplefair.com.
  • World Lion Day
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday and Sunday, 10 am–5 pm
    Come celebrate the zoo's amazing pride of lions all weekend, and see what you can do to help this species. Enjoy a video about our big cats, face-painters, and an educational bio-fact cart, Safari Lion Bounce House and see a fun puppet performance by Jungle Joe near Lion Fountain. Zoo admission applies. For more information, visit their website.

Gravenstein Apple Fair: An Old-Time Country Festival

August 7, 2014

Girl with pie Gravenstein Apple FairWhere can you spend the day walking under ancient oaks following your nose from food booth to food booth (featuring frying apple fritters or slices of four-inch high apple pie),  taking in terrific acoustic music, and experiencing the sights and sounds of a turn-of-the-century barnyard? At the annual Gravenstein Apple Fair, of course?

Sonoma County's summertime jewel takes place in Sebastopol's Ragle Ranch Park this weekend, August 9 and 10. 2014's event is the 102nd Gravenstein Apple Fair, which showcases the best in arts, crafts, food, wines and beers, games, entertainment, and farm life activities.

The Gravenstein Apple Fair is produced by Sonoma County Farm Trails, and celebrates Sebastopol's iconic sweet and tart apple variety. While the fair in days past was a massive agricultural and food processing showcase, the modern version features family friendly fun like arts and crafts booths, chef demonstrations, live music on two stages, a petting zoo, farm animal displays, a hay maze, artisan booths selling handmade goods, and of course apples!

Marin Weekend Family Fun for August 1, 2 & 3

August 1, 2014
Sonoma County Fair
Carnival rides await at the 2014 Sonoma County Fair, through August 10 at the Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa.

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, August 1

  • Day Out with Thomas 2014
    Roaring Camp Railroad, Felton
    Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10:30 am–5:30 pm

    This popular family event takes place at Roaring Camp Railroads in the Santa Cruz Mountains. You can take a train ride, meet Sir Topham Hatt, and enjoy live music. Tickets: $20–$24. Parking $8 per vehicle. Roaring Camp Railroads is in Felton on Graham Hill Road. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sonoma County Fair
    Sonoma County Fairgrounds
    Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11 am–11 pm

    The Sonoma County Fair offers both a classic full-scale carnival with plenty of excitement for thrill-seekers and a separate kiddie carnival area for the little ones, with scaled down thrills and lots of excitement. Fair admission is free every day for children 6 and under; Friday is Kids' Days, with free admission for all children 12 and under. Carnival rides are an additional charge. Admission is $11 for ages 13 and up, $5 for children 7–12, and free for children 6 and under. For more info, visit www.sonomacountyfair.com.
  • Children's Garden Series: Chelle! & Friends
    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. Chelle! & Friends bring a family friendly taste of New Orleans, the city where jazz was born. Join the party, move your feet, sing-along, and join a Mardi Gras parade. Laissez les bon temps rouler! For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Family Date Nights: DJ Mancub
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Friday, 5–7:30 pm

    Bring your family to enjoy later hours, live entertainment, special outdoor activities, and more. All activities and performances included with all-day museum admission. Free admission for members. This Friday: Join in as DJ Mancub spins his signature mix of some of the top danceable family fun tunes. For more info, call (415) 339-3900 or visit their website.
  • Picnics on the Plaza
    Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo
    Friday, 5–8 pm

    In its fifth year, the popular Picnics on the Plaza events feature music and family fun in downtown San Anselmo. Bring your picnic basket or buy food at the event. Sponsored by the San Anselmo Economic Development Committee. Location: 525 San Anselmo Avenue, Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Pajama Party at Diesel!
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur
    Friday, 6 pm
    Put on your PJs and enjoy story time with author and illustrator LeUyen Pham at Diesel, A Bookstore. Get cozy in front of the fireplace, listen to a story or two, and have some milk and cookies before heading home for bed. LeUyen Pham asks participants to brings something special and strange to trade with someone else. Location: 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle. For more info, 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 week: Don Forbes & Reckless. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or visit their website.
  • Outer Space from Open Space
    Stafford Lake County Park, Novato
    Friday, 8–10 pm
    Come view outer space from open space and identify the major constellations and talk about the legends behind them. Rangers will lead a short hike in Stafford Lake Park and astronomer Larry Brodkin will be there to help participants get a deep view into the heavens with his 8” Meade telescope. Stargazers should wear warm clothes and bring binoculars or a telescope, flashlight, blankets, water, snacks, and star charts. Meet at the Stafford Lake gate house, 3549 Novato Boulevard. Free. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, August 2

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

    Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10 am–2 pm, face kids' crafts from 9 am–2 pm, children's music or storytelling from 9:30–10:30 am, and more live music from 11 am–12:30 pm, as well as fresh produce, prepared foods, and great local restaurants. For more info, visit their website.
  • Novato Space Festival
    Pacheco Plaza, Novato
    Saturday, 10 am–4 pm

    Meet legendary astronauts, including Apollo 12's Dick Gordon, touch a full-sized lunar module replica, get your photo taken in a moon buggy, view the sun through telescopes, check out interactive space displays from NASA, and more at the Space Station Museum's annual Space Festival. Admission and parking are free! For more info, visit their website.
  • The Global Big Latch On
    Terra Linda Park, San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am

    At the Big Latch On, groups of breastfeeding women coming together at registered locations around the world to all latch on their child at a set time. All the breastfeeding women and children are latched on for one minute at the set time and are counted by the witnesses. The numbers are added up and we see if we can beat previous Big Latch On records! Marin's Big Latch On event will be held at the Terra Linda park in San Rafael, 670 Del Ganado Road, and includes a raffle, goodies, and a photographer. For more info, visit their website.
  • Summer Gardening Fair
    San Francisco Botanical Garden
    Saturday, 10 am–3 pm

    An annual tradition at the Botanical Garden, the Summer Gardening Fair is a free, fun and friendly gathering of plant enthusiasts sharing ideas, plants and plant-related items. This year, additional children's activities are featured. Location: 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Kids Origami Workshop
    Corte Madera Library
    Saturday, noon–1 pm
    Learn techniques from amazing student origami artist Grace Lightner as you make beautiful creations from paper. For ages 8 and up. Location: 707 Meadowsweet Drive, Corte Madera. For more info, call (415) 924-6382 or visit their website.
  • Petaluma Music Festival
    Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds
    Saturday, noon–8:45 pm

    This family friendly festival will feature 14 fantastic bands on three stages, and a kids' area with a giant slide, face painting, toddler inflatable, petting zoo, arts and crafts, and more! Tickets: $40 general, $20 students 13–17, and free for kids 12 and under. All proceeds from the Kids' Area go to the music programs in all Petaluma area public schools! For more info, visit their website.

Explore the Final Frontier at the Space Station Museum in Novato

July 31, 2014

Space Station Museum NovatoBring your budding astronauts to learn about space exploration in a hands-on environment at the Space Station, Novato's free, kid-friendly space museum. Located in a storefront in the newly renovated Pacheco Plaza shopping center, the Space Station is a small but rich little museum that offers families and school groups a chance to explore the history of spaceflight and exploration. The museum also organizes the annual Novato Space Festival, a free family event that offers hands-on activities, interactive displays, and the chance to meet legendary NASA astronauts.

At the Space Station Museum, kids can see, handle, and even try on actual space artifacts, many of which have actually flown in space. You can try on a pair of Russian cosmonaut's space suit gloves, don a prototype space helmet designed for the Apollo missions, and even sit in a seat from a Soyuz spacecraft.

Objects on view are part of the collection of the W Foundation, a non-profit founded by Ken Winans and his wife Debbie Wreyford-Winans, and include American, Russian, and Soviet-era space equipment, clothing, photographs, a meteorite, and more. The W Foundation, which possesses one of the largest private collections of space exploration artifacts in the world, also works with organizations and events like Oakland's Chabot Space and Science Center, the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, and San Francisco Fleet Week to present educational exhibits on the history of space exploration.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for July 25, 26 & 27

July 25, 2014

Day Out with Thomas at Roaring Camp RailroadsHere 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, July 25

  • Day Out with Thomas 2014
    Roaring Camp Railroad, Felton
    Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10:30 am–5:30 pm

    This popular family event takes place at Roaring Camp Railroads in the Santa Cruz Mountains. You can take a train ride, meet Sir Topham Hatt, and enjoy live music. Tickets to Day Out With Thomas at Roaring Camp Railroads are $20 each if purchased in advance ($24 for peak times—Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am–2:30 pm). Tickets are $24 at the gate. Tickets are required for everyone aged 2 and up. Tickets include all entertainment and activities as well as a 25-minute train ride. Parking is an additional $8 per vehicle. Roaring Camp Railroads is in Felton on Graham Hill Road. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sonoma County Fair
    Sonoma County Fairgrounds
    Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11 am–11 pm

    The Sonoma County Fair offers both a classic full-scale carnival with plenty of excitement for thrill-seekers and a separate kiddie carnival area for the little ones, with scaled down thrills and lots of excitement. Fair admission is free every day for children 6 and under; Friday is Kids' Days, with free admission for all children 12 and under. Carnival rides are an additional charge. Admission is $11 for ages 13 and up, $5 for children 7–12, and free for children 6 and under. For more info, visit www.sonomacountyfair.com.
  • Gilroy Garlic Festival
    Christmas Hill Park, Gilroy
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–7 pm

    The 36th annual “Ultimate Summer Food Fair” features three days of incredible food, beverages, arts and crafts, and live entertainment. The Children’s Area includes spectacular rides, fun activities, and more. Tickets: Adults $ 20, children 6–12 and seniors 60+ $10, children under 6 free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Children's Garden Series: Crosspulse
    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. Using snaps, slaps, claps, and dance, Crosspulse performs with a very unique instrument, their own bodies! Taking advantage of their various cultural and artistic backgrounds, the members of Crosspulse deliver an exciting body percussion performance. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Rafael Young Performers Theater: Peter Pan, the Musical
    San Rafael Community Center
    Friday & Sunday, 3 & 7 pm

    Peter and his mischievous fairy sidekick Tinkerbell visit the nursery of the Darling children late one night and with a sprinkle of pixie dust begin a magical journey across the stars that none of them will ever forget. In the adventure of a lifetime the travelers come face to face with a ticking crocodile, a band of bungling pirates, and of course the villainous Captain Hook. Friday night is Gala Night. Tickets: $8–$15. Location: 618 B Street, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Family Date Nights: Mariachi Juvenil Los Cachorros
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Friday, 5–7:30 pm

    Bring your family to enjoy later hours, live entertainment, special outdoor activities, and more. All activities and performances included with all-day museum admission. Free admission for members. This Friday, enjoy the festive music of Mexico with the talented youth group Mariachi Juvenil Los Cachorros, or the Puppies. For more info, call (415) 339-3900 or visit their website.
  • Friday Nights on Main: La Dolce Vita
    Downtown Tibruon
    Friday, 6–9 pm

    Bring the entire family for a night of fun. This Friday, celebrate la dolce vita with latin rock fusion band Bautista and strolling opera singers performing Italian opera favorites. For more info, visit their website.
  • Music in the Park: T Sisters
    Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    Enjoy Friday evenings in the park, featuring live music, delicious food by Marinwood Market, wine, and beer. Location: 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, 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 week: Revolver. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or visit their website.

Saturday, July 26

  • 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, face kids' crafts from 9 am–2 pm, children's music or storytelling from 9:30–10:30 am, and more live music from 11 am–12:30 pm, as well as fresh produce, prepared foods, and great local restaurants. For more info, visit their website.
  • March of the Penguins
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday, 10 am

    Don't miss this popular annual event—now open to the public! Watch the Zoo's four adorable adolescent Magellanic penguins waddle to their new home on Penguin Island. This event celebrates the penguin chicks' graduation from Fish School (where they lose their fluffy down, learn to eat whole fish, swim, and hang out with their human keepers) and their reunion with the rest of the penguin colony. Help them make their public debut in red-carpet style! Zoo admission applies. For more info, visit their website.
  • WIldCare Family Adventures: Oakwood Valley
    Mill Valley

    Saturday, 10 am–12:30 pm

    Oakwood Valley Trail, a little known trail in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, offers shelter and sun. We will look for the rare mission blue butterfly which is on the federal endangered species list. The Mission Blue depends on a very specific host plant called the lupine which is found in Oakwood Valley. Scan the sky and the hills for wildlife. Location: Tennessee Valley Road, Mill Valley. For more info, call Marco at (415) 453-1000 ext. 17 or visit their website.
  • The 29th Annual Berkeley Kite Festival
    Cesar E. Chavez Park, Berkeley Marina
    Saturday and Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    The Berkeley Kite Festival is an amazing free family event with fun for all! From the terrific food and arts and crafts booths to the Kids' Zone, free kite making and candy drop, the Berkeley Kite Festival has something for everyone. Parking is $15 per day at Golden Gate Fields, which includes a free shuttle to event. For more info and directions, visit their website.

It's Time for Peace and Love at the 2014 Sonoma County Fair

July 22, 2014

Sonoma County FairIn case you missed or just didn't get enough of the Marin County Fair, you'll be happy to know that the 2014 Sonoma County Fair starts Thursday, July 24 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, and runs through Sunday, August 10. It's worth checking out if you've never been: it's bigger and a lot different than Marin's smaller, more intimate fair, and has more of an agricultural focus, which is natural for a more rural county like Sonoma. The Sonoma County Fair also features the largest themed flower show in the country, which is usually pretty stunning—this year's theme is "Peace, Love & Fair."

The fair includes a kids' area with free appropriate entertainment and activities, including craft projects, a dress-up area, creative hands-on-activities, and plenty of lawn and shade. This year's kids' area theme is "Blast Off to Outer Space", so expect plenty of space-themed fun, and even an astronaut training school! There's also a parents' rest station with changing tables and chairs for nursing.

The fair also holds a daily parade around the grounds at 5 pm that all can participate in—if you want to join in, show up by the Milk Barn at 4:45 pm. Of course you'll also find plenty of other things to see and do, including the usual county fair offerings of concerts, livestock displays, contests, and tons of food, as well as horse racing, rodeos, a even a demolition derby. The fair also boasts two carnivals: a kiddie carnival for the little ones and five acres of more thrilling attractions for older fair-goers.

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