Parks and Playgrounds

Parks and outdoor recreation activities.

Another Marin Indoor Play Space Gone? Gymboree Play & Music in Mill Valley to Close!

March 22, 2009

baby playing in the tunnel at Gymboree in Mill ValleyFor a county with a relatively large number of families, Marin has never had a surplus of indoor play spaces for young children. While our weather is usually nice enough for outdoor play, indoor spots are appealing during cold, rainy, or hot weather, and also because of the classes and programs that many of them offer in addition to being a place to play.

Over the last year, we've lost two great resources, Playtime Safari in Novato and San Anselmo's Playdate Café, victims of unfortunate circumstance and the sputtering economy. This week, we've learned that Mill Valley's Gymboree Play & Music, a longtime favorite spot of many Marin parents, will be most likely closing its doors for good at the end of the month! The current owner of the Gymboree Play & Music franchise has decided to close it, but it was apparently bought back by Gymboree itself (which was founded in Mill Valley and is currently headquartered in San Francisco) with the intention of keeping the facility open. Unfortunately, they have not been able to renegotiate a lease with the landlord at Strawberry Village, where it is located.

Help Save Playtime Safari! (Business has closed)

September 29, 2008

Playtime SafariIf you're a parent with small children in Novato, then you probably know all about Playtime Safari, the wonderful indoor children's playspace on Nave Drive at the south end of town. If you don't know about it, you can read about it here. Created and run by Marin mompreneur Yvonne Goodrich, Playtime Safari offers families a big 4,000-square-foot indoor playspace, as well as classes, workshops, concerts, birthday parties, and more. It's a great resource, and unfortunately it's about to go away. It seems Playtime Safari has been given a 60-day notice to terminate its lease, in an effort to get it to sign a long-term lease that will nearly triple its existing rent. So as of now, Playtime Safari will close its doors forever on November 5, 2008. If you would like to support the business and let the landlords know how you feel about Playtime Safari closing, please contact them at:

Kahl & Goveia Commercial Real Estate
c/o Bruce Kahl & Joe Goveia
250 Brooks Street
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 376-1100

There will be a signature drive at Playtime Safari, so you can stop by during opening hours and sign a letter along with other local parents. Attached below is a copy of the letter if you'd like to use it for the basis of your own message. Playtime Safari is located at 5470 Nave Drive in Novato, and is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:30 am to 3 pm and Wednesday from 9:30 am to 6 pm.

A Few Ways to Beat the Heat (Playdate Cafe and Playtime Safari have Closed)

July 9, 2008

When it's way too hot, like it has been this week, I'm always trying to figure out things to do and places to go that will keep me and the kids cool. Playtime Safari in Novato is a 4,000-square-foot indoor play space for kids 0-6 that has air conditioning, and they are open 4 to 6 pm on Wednesday. You can read more about Playtime Safar in our article here. Another indoor play space is the recently opened Playdate Cafe in San Anselmo. This is a really fun and unique place that has a cafe for the moms (and kids) and a play space with a pirate ship and medieval castle. For more info, read our feature on Playdate Cafe.

Two Ways to Beat the Heat

May 16, 2008

Heart's Desire BeachIt's too hot for the park, so we went and spent the morning playing at Playtime Safari in Novato. Everyone had fun, and it has air conditioning. You can read more about Playtime Safari, and indoor play space for kids 0–6 that's great anytime, but especially when it's raining or sweltering, in our article here.

Another favorite place to head to in hot weather is one of our favorite spots in West Marin: Heart's Desire Beach. Located just north of Inverness in Tomales Bay State Park, if features a sandy beach with calm, shallow, and relatively warm water that's perfect for wading, splashing, and swimming. Read all about it here.

Playdate Café Now Open in San Anselmo (has closed)

May 12, 2008

Playdate Cafe castleUnfortunately, Playdate Café has closed it’s doors due to the poor economy.

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