With more snow moving into the Sierras, it's time to start thinking about winter sports family fun in the mountains. While downhill skiing and snowboarding are synonymous with snow sports to many people, cross country skiing is a fun and low-key alternative to the lift lines. Cross country skiing is fun, easy to learn, and requires a minimum of equipment. Dress in warm active clothing, put on your boots and skis, grab your poles, and you're good to go!
We tried out cross country last winter, and had a great time. My kids picked it up right away—after 20 minutes on the practice loop they were off and hitting the trails. The whole family can join in, too—you can even get a jogging stroller on skis and pull your little one along, and many cross country trails allow dogs, too. An added bonus: cross country skiing is one of the best aerobic exercise activities you can do. It's a great way to get active and enjoy the beauty of the mountains in winter.
Even though it's an activity that you can do year-round, ice skating seems to be something that's especially appealing around the holidays. Marin on Ice is back at Northgate in San Rafael for another season of outdoor ice skating, so you don't have to leave Marin County to go skate! It's the only rink in the county, but you'll find more opportunities to skate in San Francisco, Santa Rosa, and the East Bay. Here's our list of places to hit the ice in the Bay Area this holiday season.
Marin on Ice
Marin on Ice outdoor skating rink in San Rafael's Northgate Mall returns to offers al fresco skating from Wednesday, November 9, 2016 through January 8, 2017. The rink will once again be located near the center's Oaktree Plaza and features 6,400 square feet of real ice. Skating costs $15 per person, which includes skate rental and all-day in-and-out privileges. "Skate Buddies" (the blue plastic chair-like supports) are available for beginnners. Discount ticket books (10 tickets for $120) are available, too.
Interested in the sport of synchronized swimming? AquaMarin Synchro, Marin County's only synchronized swimming (or synchro) team offers girls ages 10 to 18 the opportunity to learn the sport's techniques and and even compete against other teams in the area.
Swimmers develop strength, flexibility, artistic interpretation, timing, body awareness and confidence in individual and team competition. They also learn to help each other so good habits in the water get reinforced and bad habits get recognized early so they aren't practiced. Swimmers need to be comfortable in the water year round, love music and enjoy the power and grace that the modern sport of synchro demands.
GymWorld offers fantastic Birthday Parties for little gymnasts and their friends! We also offer great programs for our youngest gymnasts ages 18 months to 4 years during the week. We have Open Gyms for Toddlers on a drop in basis three days a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 10:30 am–12:30 pm. Come run, jump, bounce, swing, use the foam pit and trampoline!
GymWorld also has great instructors teaching classes for ages 2–4 years. Classes are on Tuesday and Friday mornings and at 2:45pm Mon,Tues,Thurs.
Work up an appetite for Thanksgiving dinner at the Marin Turkey Trot on November 24.
Running is a fantastic way for the whole family to get outside, get fit together, and enjoy the beauty of the Bay Area. Families have plenty of opportunities to race together in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area this fall, from family fun runs and walks to cross-country half-marathons! There's something for every fitness and experience level.
Clo-Cow Half Marathon
Sunday, September 18
The 6th running of the Clo-Cow Half Marathon & 5K is set for September 18, 2016 in Historic Downtown Petaluma. This beautiful half-marathon course takes you through rural Sonoma County farm country, over rolling hills where you'll be cheered on by sheep, horses, and of course cows! The trip out there is a challenging one, but the inclines just make the views even more rewarding! Find event details and registration here.
Marin Color 5K
Saturday, October 1
Indian Valley College, Novato A 5K walk, run, hop, skip, leap, mosey on a designated route. Along the way, participants go through stations where they are sprayed with colored powder. After the 5K, everyone will gather for a fun festival. Find event details and registration here.
Keep your kids' swimming going this fall on the Tritons USA Swimming team at the Rolling Hills Club! The season has just started, so now is a great time to join and see what the USA Swimming experience is all about. With a passionate and experienced coaching staff led by new Head Coach Richard Nicholls, it's a great way for kids ages 5 to 18 to take their swimming skills to the next level, learn advanced techniques, and compete.
Coach Richard brings nearly 30 years of international swim coaching experience to the Tritons, who practice at the beautiful Rolling Hills Club in Novato. With a focus on smaller groups and individualized coaching and instruction, the team utilizes new techniques and training methods to help swimmers achieve their goals. It's ideal for swimmers of all ages and levels. Swimmers can compete in USA Swimming meets that take place throughout Northern California, at every level from rookie to Junior Olympics.
When the summer temperatures start to heat up, then it's time to find a place to cool off with the kiddos. Here are our favorite ways to beat the heat with the family on hot day in Marin and the Bay Area.
Take a ferry ride to Angel Island
Hop on the ferry in Tiburon and take a refreshing ferry ride over the Bay to Angel Island State Park. Explore historic sites, splash on the beach in Ayala Cove, have a picnic, or just relax.
Marin's own boys of summer, the San Rafael Pacifics, continue another season of fantastic baseball action at downtown San Rafael's Albert Park. This Wednesday, July 20, is Kids Day: All kids 12 and under are admitted to the game free and all supervisors get in at half price! In addition to enjoying the game, kids can take part in fun activities like an ice cream sundae eating contest, a home run derby, and much more!
Wednesday's game starts at 12:35 pm at Albert Park in downtown San Rafael, and the Pacifics take on their North Bay Rivals, the Sonoma Stompers. Albert Park's intimate setting is the perfect venue for old-fashioned, family-friendly, and affordable local baseball. General admission tickets are just $12, grandstand reserved seats are $25. Find out more about the San Rafael Pacifics and order tickets at www.pacificsbaseball.com.
Did you know that drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1 to 4? Lean how to be safe this Saturday, July 16 from 12:30 to 5 pm at the Mill Valley Aquatic/Fitness Center. Water Safety Day is a family event filled with both fun and safety information.
Enjoy free admission to the pool from 12:30 to 5 pm. Activities and demonstrations take place from 2 to 5 pm and include lifeguard demos, airbrush tattoos, coloring, a bounce house, water games, a kids' nail salon, music, a raffle, and lifejacket fittings. In addtion, firefighters from the Southern Marin Fire Protection Disctrict will present a water rescue demonstration from 2 to 4 pm. Come prepared with your water safety-related questions!
Mill Valley Community Center is located at 180 Camino Alto in Mill Valley. For more information on Water Safety Day, call (415) 383-1370 or visit www.cityofmillvalley.org.