Marin Theatre Company's Family Series continues this fall with their original production of The Jungle Book, opening next Saturday, October 29 for 10 performances only! Adapted by Greg Banks from the beloved stories by Rudyard Kipling and directed by Logan Ellis, this production is special in that MTC will be featuring the protagonist Mowgli as a girl! Here's what MTC Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis says about this artistic choice:
"We, led by director Logan Ellis and our cast and crew, feel it is imperative to give our girls the opportunity to see themselves portrayed onstage in a classic adventure story normally reserved for boys. We doubly believe it is important for young boys to see girls in powerful hero roles this year as our national conversation is rife with bullying, sexism and gender discussion."
For a fun family day out this summer (or any time of year, actually), head east over the Richmond–San Rafael Bridge and up into the Berkeley Hills, where you'll find Tilden Park, a 2,000-acre playground where there's literally something for everyone. Part of the East Bay Regional Parks system, Tilden is so big and there's so much to do here, that it really bears repeat visits!
From hiking trails and campgrounds to a historic carousel and scale steam trains, you'll find a lot to do here. Best of all, many of the attractions are free or very inexpensive. Here are our favorite things to do when visiting Tilden!
Take your family to UC Berkeley on Saturday, April 16, from 9 am to 5 pm to see all that the university has to offer at their annual Cal Day open house. Explore over 400 lectures, demonstrations, and tours taking place across campus, and learn about everything from architecture to zoology.
Learn about Cal spirit and traditions; listen to live music by the Cal Band and other performers; tour museums, like the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the Lawrence Hall of Science, and the Museum of Paleontology; and learn about science, engineering, technology, and more with hands-on fun. Prospective Cal students will also have a chance to learn about admissions, programs and resources at the university.
Over the past 36 years, thousands of students have spent their summers learning through UC Berkeley’s Academic Talent Development Program (ATDP), pursuing areas of interest such as architecture, computer programming, law, calculus, seashore science, and endless other disciplines. Our students, ranging in ages from 5–17, come to ATDP ready to learn and willing to be challenged.
ATDP courses are taught by outstanding public school, private school, and university instructors, who are passionate and extremely knowledgeable about the subjects they teach. Students with budding interests in specific areas receive a unique opportunity to interact and learn from teachers and peers with similar interests as their own. By the end of the summer session, students think and understand their subject matters more deeply.
Attention new parents and parents-to-be! Boobie-Palooza, the first Bay Area baby event focusing on wellness-based education, informed pregnancy, and early childhood natural health, is coming to Berkeley on Sunday, February 22. This amazing new event offers panels, workshops, and expert presentations on the topics of attachment parenting, breastfeeding, birthing options, sleep techniques, and more, as well as exhibitors, entertainment, and family-friendly fun.
Boobie-Palooza is organized by Bay Area birthing and early childhood specialists Dahlia Frydman, a board-certified lactation consultant, and Moorea Malatt, founder of Savvy Parenting Support and certified post-partum doula. This day-long event takes place at Berkeley's Ed Roberts Campus on Sunday, February 22, from noon to 5 pm.
One of our favorite Bay Area destinations for hand-on science fun Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science. Located in the hills high above the UC Berkeley campus, this science center has entertained and educated generations of kids, and continues to offer fun science exhibits and activities. We visited this week to check out their awesome new exhibitXtreme Bugs and had a great time.
Xtreme Bugs, on view at the Lawrence Hall of Science through September 1, 2014, allows visitors to get an up-close view of the fascinating world of bugs through giant insect and arthropod models that move and buzz. You'll find over 100 of these enormous animatronic bugs situated throughout the museum and even outside, and you'll encounter such critters as an orchid mantis, a monarch butterfly, a tarantula, honeybees, and a 15-foot-long Japanese hornet.
Not only can you examine these big bugs up close, but you can listen to the sounds they make, watch them move and learn how they play a critical role in our environment. My kids loved the extreme size and realistic look of these amazing bugs. It's truly fascinating and engaging for kids and grownups of all ages. Some of the bugs were accompanied by an interactive iPad component, too. This part of the exhibit is located in one of the rooms in the back of the building on the first floor. You can visit some of the giant robotic bugs' real-life counterparts in the Backyard Zoo, which features a tarantula, a scorpion, a giant Madagascar hissing cockroach, and an Argentine ant colony.
Down at the Berkeley Marina you'll find one of the Bay Area's all-time classic kids' attractions: the Adventure Playground. This unique place at the foot of University Avenue is no ordinary playground, however. At first glance, it actually looks more like a junkyard than a playground, but it's actually an amazing outdoor wonderland where kids can let their imaginations and creative energy run wild and build with hammers, saws, nails, paint, and recycled materials.
Don't worry—it's not a Lord of the Flies-style free for all. Plenty of helpful young people from the playground's staff are on hand to help, encourage, and make sure everyone has a great safe time. The Adventure Playground is like a big vacant lot full of wood, tires, old boats, and more. Kids can work on their own projects or cooperate to work on larger ventures like adding on to one of the playground's forts.
It's the kind of environment that many kids these days don't really have a chance to experience, and it's been delighting Bay Area children for almost 35 years. In addition to opportunities to build and create, playground-goers can ride a zip line, slide, and swings, and play on a huge rope climbing structure or on one of the playground's many boats and wooden constructions.
My kids have always loved the books by children's author Mo Willems, especially his Knuffle Bunny series, so we were all excited to see the new Bay Area Children's Theatre production of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley.
This high-energy, fast-moving, and funny production expands upon the Knuffle Bunny story but remains true to the book, thanks to the witty song lyrics and script penned by Willems himself.
Knuffle Bunny tells the story of what happens when Dad (Derek Travis Collard) tries to give Mom (Michelle Drexler) a break and takes tricky toddler Trixie (Allison Johnson) and her stuffed animal Knuffle Bunny with him to the laundromat.
Overconfident Dad thinks the trip will go without a hitch, but stressed-out Mom knows otherwise but agrees with the plan anyhow. All goes well until Trixie realizes something is wrong and tries to tell Dad, who can't understand her babble and thinks she just needs her diaper changed.
One of my kids' favorite books is Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems. On Saturday, this hilarious Caldecott Honor book comes to life on stage in the Bay Area Children's Theatre production of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical.
In Knuffle Bunny,Dad learns that it can be tricky to do the laundry with toddler daughter Trixie and her beloved stuffed animal, the titular Knuffle Bunny. See washing machines burst into life and clothes dance up a whirlwind at the laundromat in this delightful production that's fun for the whole family.
We've seen several productions from Bay Area Children's Theatre, and they never disappoint! It's definitely worth the trip over to Berkeley, and the Freight & Salvage is a wonderful intimate venue in which to see a show like this.
The opening performance of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical takes place at the Freight & Salvage on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 2 pm. The show plays Saturdays at 2 pm and Sundays at 11 am and 2 pm through May 5.