Marin Weekend Family Fun for December 29–January 1

December 29, 2017

Point Reyes LighthouseVisit the Point Reyes Lighthouse this weekend to watch for migrating gray whales.

It's whale watching season! Read more about visiting Point Reyes National Seashore to look for these migrating giants. There's also holiday ice skating at numerous locations throughout the Bay Area.

Friday, December 29

  • Holiday Ice Skating in Union Square
    San Francisco
    Friday–Monday, 10 am–11:30 pm

    Union Square, San Francisco's main shopping district, gets into the ice skating spirit during the holiday season with an outdoor ice rink sponsored by Safeway. 90-minute sessions start on every even hour. Admission: $11 for adults, 7 children 8 and under. Skate rental $6. For more info, call (415) 781-2688 or visit their website.
  • Reindeer Romp
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday–Monday, 10 am–4 pm
    Santa is sending his favorite reindeer, Belle, Holly, and Peppermint to spread holiday cheer at San Francisco Zoo & Gardens! Until January 1, majestic reindeer will be romping at SF Zoo's Playfield Lawn, near the spectacular Elinor Friend Playground. Zoo admission applies. Location: Sloat Blvd. at the Great Highway, San Francisco. Event details.
  • Bay Area Children's Theatre: Elephant and Piggie's "We Are in a Play!"
    Children's Creativity Museum, San Francisco
    Friday, 10:30 am, 1:30 pm & 6:30 pm, Saturday & Sunday 10:30 am & 1:30 pm

    Expect happy high jinks galore—and a wonderful time, with music and rhyme—as Mo Willems’ two most unlikely pals cavort through the joys and trials of friendship in Elephant & Piggie’s "We Are in a Play!" Back by popular demand at BACT for the holidays! Tickets: $27 adults, $22 children 2–14, $25 seniors 65+. Location: 221 Fourth Street, San Francisco. Event details.
  • Marin on Ice
    Northgate Mall, San Rafael
    Friday & Sunday, noon–9 pm; Saturday, noon–10 pm

    Hit the ice at Marin's only outdoor ice skating rink (open New Year's Day). This season's rink features 6,400 square feet of real ice. Cost: $15 per person all-day; skate rental included. Location: Oak Tree Plaza, Northgate Mall, San Rafael. Event details.
  • Skate Rink at Conerstone Sonoma
    Sonoma
    Friday, noon–7 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–7:30 pm, Monday, 2–6 pm

    Join us on the ice at Cornerstone this holiday season! Our ice rink is open Thanksgiving Weekend through the New Year. We're spreading the cheer and bringing the holiday magic to Sonoma. Help us do some good - we're looking for sponsors to join us! Ice rink profits to benefit fire victims and relief efforts. Admission to our ice rink is broken into 2-hour intervals and includes skate rentals. Cost: Adults (13 years or older) | $20 per 2-hour period, includes skate rentals, Children (12 years or younger) | $10 per 2-hour period, includes skate rentals. Purchase tickets here. Location: 23570 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. Event details
  • Film: Lady and the Tramp
    Walt Disney Museum, San Francisco
    Friday & Sunday, 1–2:30 pm

    When a pampered pooch living in luxury with her human family crosses paths with a fun-loving stray from the wrong side of the tracks, she finds exciting new adventures and a little romance await her just outside of her comfort zone. Join us for this heart-warming classic just in time for the holidays. (Run time: 76 minutes). Cost: $5 members or with general admission, $10 adults, $8 student and youth. Purchase tickets here. Location:104 Montgomery Street in the Presidio, San Francisco. Event details
  • San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker
    War Memorial Opera House
    Friday, 2 & 7 pm, Saturday, 11 am & 4 pm

    San Francisco Ballet’s awe-inspiring production is like no other, with colorful, larger-than-life scenery, over 200 dazzling costumed characters, and of course Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score performed live by the world-class San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Ticket prices start at $65. For more info, call (415) 865-2000 or visit their website.
  • San Francisco Zoo Lights
    San Francisco Zoo
    Friday–Saturday, 5–8 pm

    ZooLights takes you on a magical trip to a destination like no other—with Santa Claus, reindeer and seasonal delights. Lovely music will fill the air and bright lights will shine the way as you leave the city behind and retreat to a holiday hideaway. Don’t miss a ride our historic Dentzel Carousel set to traditional holiday music. Event details.

  • Oakland Zoo Lights
    Oakland Zoo
    Friday–Monday, 5:30–9 pm
    Hundreds of thousands of LED lights brighten Oakland's night sky. Highlights include a candy cane lane themed rides area, a night time adventure on the Outback Express train, rocking around the Christmas trees and a light show that's sure to blow out any bah-hum-bugs. ZooLights is a separate event and is not included in regular Zoo Admission. $8 adults, $7 children 2–14 and seniors 65+, free for children under 2 and adults over 80. Event details.
  • Rombeiro Christmas House
    Devonshire Drive, Novato

    Friday–Sunday, 6–10 pm
    Their home is something that truly has to be seen to be believed, and photos don't really do it justice. There are something like 140,000 lights as well as countless figurines, dioramas, and decorations adorning the front and side yards, walls, and roof of the Rombeiro house. If you think the outside is impressive, then you need to go on inside and get a healthy dose of Christmas spirit. You'll find model trains, more figurines, Christmas trees, and the biggest lighted holiday village you've ever seen. Location: 34 Devonshire Drive, off of Center Road, Novato. For more info, read about our visit here.
  • Tactile Dome Special Evening Hours
    Exploratorium, San Francisco
    Friday & Saturday, 6:15 & 7:30 pm

    The museum closes at 5 pm, but the after-hours interactive fun continues. Take an excursion through total darkness in the Tactile Dome. Crawl, slide, and bump your way through the pitch-dark Dome using your sense of touch as your only guide through its chambers and mazes. For ages 7 and up. Admission: $15, $12 members. Event details.
  • Snow White: A Holiday Musical Comedy
    Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley
    Friday, 7 pm & Saturday, 2 pm
    Snow White is a spectacular musical comedy for the whole family! This enchanting fairytale with a twist is a must-see. Featuring marvelous puppetry, thrilling dance numbers, hilarious punchlines and music from The Beatles, AdeleThe Doors & more. Tickets: $15–$35. Purchase tickets here. Location:142 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley. Event details.

Saturday, December 30

  • Holidays Along Farm Trails
    Sonoma County
    Saturday–Monday, various times
    'Tis the season to celebrate with our community. Join Sonoma County farmers and producers as they open their gates and barn doors to offer a behind-the-scenes peek at life on the farm. Shop their unique farmstands for your holiday meals, cut your own Christmas tree, make a gift at DIY workshops, greet farm animals, and so much more. Free. Register online for a list of each weekend's participants. Event details.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy the best local and organic produce, flowers, pastured meats, seafood, organic cheeses, yogurt and milk, breads, baked goods, pasta, confections, olive oil, and brunch and lunch offerings! Kids can take a pony ride and visit the petting zoo (10 am–2 pm), try out some arts and crafts (9 am–2 pm) and listen to music (9:30–10:30 am). Enjoy complimentary latkes from the Hanukkah Hut, too. Event details.
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse
    Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 9:30 am–3:30 pm
    Go see the whales out at the Point Reyes Light House and Chimney Rock. Shuttle buses leave Drakes Beach every 15–20 minutes. The cost is $7 per person. Children under 16 are free. No cars allowed at Point Reyes Light House on weekends and holidays December 26, 2015 through late March 2016. Event details.
  • Creek Walk to See Spawning Coho Salmon
    Samuel P Taylor Park, San Geronimo
    Saturday & Sunday, noon–2 pm
    With the first hard rains in the watershed comes the beginning of spawning season for Coho salmon. SPAWN-trained naturalists lead creek walks to explore the majesty of the Lagunitas Creek Watershed. Tour will meet at the front Kiosk of Camp Taylor and embark on a journey to multiple creek sites in search of some of these critically endangered salmon. Tours are open to all ages and abilities. Cost: $10 per person donation requested. Register here.
  • Experience Elephant Seals
    Elephant Seal Overlook, Chimney Rock, Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 11 am–4 pm
    View an elephant seal colony through binoculars and scopes. A special 30-minute slide program about elephant seals may be available at the Lifeboat Station at Chimney Rock, depending on staffing availability. Check at one of the Visitor Centers for whether the slide program is being offered. Visitors will need to take the winter shuttle bus from Drake's Beach. For more info, call (415) 669-1534 or visit their website.
  • Seaweed and Sea Vegetables: Who Eats What?
    Stillwater Cove Regional Park, Jenner
    Saturday, 2–4 pm

    Hike half a mile through a redwood forest down to the water at low tide. Learn about the seaweeds that provide food for the ocean’s creatures. Learn to gather seaweed safely and responsibly, then stay after the hike for a taste of seaweed soup. Parking fee: $7; free for Regional Parks members. Location: 22455 Highway 1, Jenner. Event website.
  • Marin on Ice (see Friday for details)
  • The Rombeiro Christmas House (see Friday for details).
  • Holiday Ice Skating in Union Square (see Friday for details).
  • Oakland Zoo Lights (see Friday for details).

Sunday, December 31

  • Noon Year's Eve
    Bay Area Discovery Museum
    , Sausalito
    Sunday, 9 am–2 pm
    Ring in the New Year with your little ones at the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s Noon Year’s Eve! This kid-friendly affair includes music by DJ Mancub, a celebratory ball drop at noon, dancing, and various art activities like glitter crown and chandelier making. In addition, enjoy access to the museum’s indoor and outdoor exhibits like Lookout Cove and Bay Hall. Event details.
  • Annual Japanese New Year's Bell Ringing Ceremony
    Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
    Sunday, 9:30–2 pm

    Ring in the New Year by taking a swing at a giant 2,100-pound, 16th-century, Japanese temple bell at the Asian Art Museum. Participants may take turns ringing the museum’s bronze bell to leave behind any unfortunate experiences, regrettable deeds, and ill luck of the previous year. Museum members get to ring from 9:30 am–11:30 am; everyone else can join in a 11:30. First come, first served. Pick up tickets to ring the bell at the admission desk. Location: 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco. Event details.
  • Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!
    Charles M. Schulz Museum, Santa Rosa
    Sunday, 10 am
    4 pm
    Ring in the New Year with Snoopy, a balloon drop, and root beer toasts at noon and 3 pm. Enjoy hands-on activities for kids! Featuring Santa Rosa's only up-down and baby balloon drops. The Charles M. Schulz Museum is located at 2301 Hardies Lane in Santa Rosa. Event details.
  • Holiday Fun at Embarcardero Plaza
    Embarcadero Plaza, San Francisco
    Sunday & Monday, 11 am–1 pm

    Free sports activities, including slacklining and Bocce Ball games, will be available to everyone this December at Embarcadero Plaza. All free activities are available at first-come-first-serve basis. Event details.
  • New Year's Eve Balloon Drop
    Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland
    Sunday, 11 am–4:30 pm
    Ring in the New Year without staying up all night! Come to Chabot and celebrate strokes of midnight from around the world at 11 am, 1 pm, and 4 pm! Kids count down and catch hundreds of colorful balloons as they drop from the ceiling and participate in fun activities to receive a special prize. Now the kids can ring in the New Year without staying up past their bedtime! Balloon drops divided by age group. Cost: $5 after museum admission. Space is limited, call (510) 336-7373 or visit online to reserve your spot. Event details.
  • New Year's Eve Day Party
    Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley
    Sunday, 11 am, 1 & 3 pm
    Bring the whole family to the Hall on New Year’s Eve day! Ring in another year of scientific discovery and fun at the Hall's annual New Year’s Eve balloon drop celebration. There will be three timed and ticketed balloon drops, at 11 am, 1 and 3 pm. Pre-registration is required. Free with admission. For more info and to register, visit their website.
  • Bouncy Ball New Year
    Downtown Novato
    Sunday, Noon

    Everyone is invited to Downtown Novato to celebrate the New Year by watching 18,000 small bouncy balls get dropped onto the street from a ladder truck 40 ft high in the air. This event is free to attend and will take place rain or shine. All kids will get a souvenir “hard hat” and can keep as many bouncy balls as they can get their hands on. If you’re worrying you won’t be able to stay awake until midnight to celebrate 2018, this event is perfect for you. Event website
  • Street Magic Live New Year's Eve Family Matinee
    The Shelton Theater, San Francisco
    Saturday, 3 pm

    Can't figure what to do with the kids this New Year - Problem solved! Come to our special Family Matinee! Ladies and gentlemen! It is that time of year again for our 3rd Annual Street Magic Live New Years Edition show. This show sold out last year and will this year. It features everything from magic, juggling, danger stunts and much more! This is a family friendly show that starts early and ends early so you can go bring in the new year with an amazing memory and still enjoy those fireworks! Tickets: $45. Event details.
  • Willy Wonka's New Year's Eve Bash
    BACT Berkeley Center
    Sunday, 6–9:30 pm

    This one-night-only fundraising event is sure to delight children and adults alike with surprise guests, festive food and treats, a special performance of Willy Wonka, fun activities, amazing games and prizes, 9 pm New Year’s Eve toast, dancing, and more! Proceeds from the event will support Bay Area Children’s Theatre programming! Tickets: $85 donation adults, $55 donation children. Location: 2055 Center Street, Berkeley. Event details and tickets
  • A Family Friendly New Year's Eve Party
    Playland-Not-At-The-Beach, El Cerrito
    Sunday, 8 pm–12:30 am

    Playland throws a New Year's celebration the entire family can enjoy! There will be a "quiet room" for sleepy young partiers and countdowns for each American time zone (Eastern through Pacific) with sparkling cider provided as well as a few live magic shows. Play pinball, carnival games, and arcade games, too! Guests pay one low price to enter and play all night: $30 for everyone ages 3 and up (no reservations required). Guests are welcome to bring snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. Location: 10979 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito. Event details.
  • New Year's Eve Fireworks Celebration on the Bay
    Ferry Building near Pier 14, San Francisco
    Sunday, 11:30 pm

    Celebratory fireworks will launch from barges located 1,000 feet out in the Bay near Pier 14 (at Mission Street and the Embarcadero). Prime viewing spots will be south of the Ferry Building along the Embarcadero between Mission and Folsom Street or up high on one of the hills or upper Market Street.
  • Whale watching in Point Reyes (see Saturday for details).
  • Experience Elephant Seals (see Saturday for details).
  • Marin on Ice (see Friday for details)
  • Reindeer Romp (see Friday for details)
  • The Rombeiro Christmas House (see Friday for details).
  • Holiday Ice Skating in Union Square (see Friday for details).
  • Oakland Zoo Lights (see Friday for details).

Monday, January 1 — New Year's Day

  • Garden Free Day
    San Francisco Botanical Garden
    Monday
    , 7:30 am–4 pm
    The San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park offers free admission for all on New Year's Day. Location: 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way, San Francisco.  Event details.
  • Happy Newt Year!
    Spring Lake Regional Park, Santa Rosa
    Monday, 10 am–noon

    Start the New Year off with a magical adventure to frog pond. Explore this special habitat used by California newts each winter to meet mates and lay eggs. Meet at the Shady Oaks Picnic Area. Parking fee: $7; free for Regional Parks Members. Event details
  • Whale watching in Point Reyes (see Saturday for details).
  • Marin on Ice (see Friday for details)
  • Reindeer Romp (see Friday for details)
  • The Rombeiro Christmas House (see Friday for details).
  • Holiday Ice Skating in Union Square (see Friday for details).