Zoos and Wildlife Centers

Winter Break Camps in Marin and Beyond

February 9, 2017

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 the Bay Area. All the camps listed below offer day camp or drop-in camps.

  • Andrew's Day Camp
    400 Tamal Plaza, Corte Madera
    Ages: kindergarten and up
    Andrew's Camp offers games, crafts, sports and more. Camps take place from 9 am–5 pm with extended care from 8–9 am and 5–6 pm. Bring lunch and snack. For more info,call (415) 446-8946 or  visit their website.
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum
    557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito

    Ages: 4–8
    The BADM is offering a Winter Discovery Camp that focuses on learning through project-based, hands-on activities designed to intentionally boost creativity, STEM skills, and critical thinking. Camps hours:  9 am–2 pm; extended care from 2–4 pm (extended care $50/per day). For more info, call (415) 339-3900 or visit www.baykidsmuseum.org.
  • N.Y. Broadway Training Programs
    625 Arthur St., Novato High School
    Ages: 7–15

    Broadway Camp includes classes in ballet, jazz, tap, theatre dance, hip hop, acting, voice, musical theatre, arts & crafts, fun & games, special events and workshops. Mini performance on the last hour on Friday. Pizza party. Daily snack. Register here. For more info, visit www.marissajoyganz.com.

Family Road Trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium

December 20, 2016

Monterey Bay Aquarium

One of our favorite family getaways is a visit to the Monterey Peninsula and the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. It's about a three-hour drive from Marin, making it possible as a day trip, but even better as an overnighter or long weekend with the family. Winter may even be the best time to visit, since you can avoid the coastal fog that blankets the area in the summer and the tourist season crowds have subsided a bit.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is widely considered to be one of the best in the world, and we're willing to bet that it is. The exhibits reflect the aquarium's mission to research and educate the public about the biodiversity of Monterey Bay and the California coast, and they're fascinating.

An Overnight Wildlife Adventure at Safari West

September 28, 2016

Safari West

Wouldn't it be great if you could take your family on an amazing African Safari adventure, but still have the convenience of being in the Bay Area? Safari West, a wildlife preserve and private zoo located near Santa Rosa offers just that!

Tour this 400-acre preserve in Sonoma County's rolling hills and get up-close-and-personal with giraffes, rhinos, zebras, monkeys, cheetahs, and a huge variety of birds and African antelopes. Not only can you tour Safari West, but you can stay overnight in one of their luxury "glamping" tent cabins. We had a chance to stay over at Safari West and take one of their Classic Safari tours, and it was an unforgettable experience.

Wildlife Centers and Preserves in Marin and the Bay Area

June 27, 2016

WildCare San Rafael

This summer, take the kids out to visit some of the San Francisco Bay Area's local wildlife! The best way to do this is to pay a visit to one of our local wildlife centers or preserves. Some of these centers serve both as rescue resources for sick and injured wildlife and education resources for the community, too, while other seek to preserve the natural habitats of our wild neighbors. Visiting a wildlife center is a fun alternative to visiting a zoo, and a great opportunity to learn about the animals and birds who live in the amazing place we all call home.

Here's our guide to wildlife centers and preserves in Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area. Many of these centers offer programs like animal feedings and guided tours; check their websites for hours and admission fees, if any.

WildCare, San Rafael

WildCare is an amazing urban wildlife rehabilitation center that helps out thousands of ill, injured, or orphaned wild animals from around the Bay Area. They also undertake wildlife and nature education and operate a 24-hour Living with Wildlife Hotline. The WildCare courtyard and museum are open to the public daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Daily feedings and other programs take place at various times between 11 am and 4:30 pm. The courtyard is always open, but the museum access may be limited when summer camp is in session. Admission is free.

Moms Get Free Admission to the San Francisco Zoo on Mother's Day!

May 7, 2016

Barbro and Ingrid giraffes San Francisco ZooThe San Francisco Zoo and Gardens celebrates Mother's Day, with free admission for all moms. All moms who come to the zoo with their children this Sunday, May 8, 2016, will receive one free admission.

Come visit some of the zoo's new animal moms, like Barbro the giraffe, pictured here with her daughter Ingrid, Evita the giant anteater, and Sukari the African lion. Ingrid the baby giraffe was born just last month!

Mother's day guests at the zoo will also enjoy Baby Loves Disco, a daytime disco dance party for kids, which takes place on the Elinor Friend Playground from 11 am to 3 pm. This fun interactive activity also includes arts and crafts, face painting, and more.

For more info on the zoo's Mother's Day celebration and other fun family programs, visit www.sfzoo.org.

Fun Spring Break Camps in Marin and Beyond

February 23, 2016

studio 4 artLooking for something fun for the kids to do over the upcoming spring break? Check out some of the great day camp programs here in Marin. Many of these camps offer drop-in sessions for last-minute fun over the break, as well as before- and after-care.

We've also included a list of community centers in Marin, all of which offer spring break camps and classes for kids.

Marin Community Centers

Underwater Adventure at Pier 39's Aquarium of the Bay

February 16, 2016

Aquarium of the Bay

Aquarium of the Bay, located on San Francisco's waterfront at Pier 39, offers visitors a unique underwater experience. With an emphasis on education and conservation, it's a worthwhile destination for nature-loving Marin and Bay Area families.

Compared to other nearby aquariums, like the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences, the Aquarium of the Bay is a pretty compact affair. But it packs a lot into its relatively small space, and there's a lot for families to see and do. Get oriented in the Discover the Bay exhibit, where you'll learn about the creatures that live under and around the waters of San Francisco Bay. We especially liked the swirling school of anchovies and the moray eel. There's also a small but interesting exhibit called "Sharks of Alcatraz" that explores the different kinds of aquatic predators living in San Francisco Bay.

Fun Mid-Winter Break Camps in Marin and Beyond

February 9, 2016

studio 4 artLooking for something fun for the kids to do over the upcoming midwinter break? Check out some of the great day camp programs here in Marin. Many of these camps offer drop-in sessions for last-minute fun over the break, as well as before- and after-care.

  • Studio 4 Art
    1133 Grant Avenue

    (415) 596-5546
    Camp takes place from February 15–19 from camp times 9 am–noon (ages 4–14) or 9 am–3 pm (ages 7–14). Campers will have the choice of many different projects each day that include painting, drawing, ceramics, mixed media and printmaking, students will create a variety of fine art projects in different art mediums. A sibling discount is offered. Cost: $265. For more info, visit their website.
  • Rolling Hills Club
    351 San Andreas Drive

    (415) 897-2185

    The Junior Polar Bear Camp (ages 3–5) takes place February 16 and 18 from 9 am–1 pm, and Polar Beach Camp (ages 6–12) takes place February 15–19 from 9 am-4 pm. This year's theme is "Random Acts of Kindness". Activities include: stories, sensory crafts, and games. Prices start at $60/day. For more info, visit their website.

Open House and Block Party at Safari West November 15 and December 6

November 10, 2015

Safari WestThis fall, Safari West holds its annual Open House and Block Party. Experience this spectacular zoo and wildlife preserve, located in the hills east of Santa Rosa, and its animal residents, including cheetahs, giraffes, antelopes, lemurs, and a whole aviary of exotic birds.

Hop on the Nairobi bus for a short driving tour through part of the preserve where you'll get up close and personal with some of Safari West's African mammals, including the giraffes. Afterward, take a walk to see flamingos, cheetahs, monkeys, lemurs and more. There will also be exhibits on the lawn and face painting for the kids.

The Open House and Block Party costs $25 for adults, with one child admitted free with each paying adult. Additional children age 12 and younger are $10. The party takes place on both this Sunday, November 15 and Sunday, Decebember 6 with a morning party from 10 am to noon and an afternoon party from 2 to 4 pm. Reservations are required; make reservations by calling (707) 566-3667 or emailing reservations@safariwest.com. The party takes place rain or shine.

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