Parks and Playgrounds, Sports Activities, Outdoor Activities, Rainy Day Activities, Events and Outings, Summer Camps, Spring Break Camps, Arts and Crafts, 4th of July, Beaches, Hiking, Picnics, Summer Activities, Zoos and Wildlife Centers, Enrichment, Parent-and-Child Classes, Gardening, Drop-in Activities, Snow Sports, Bicycling

Walk or Bike on the Bay Trail at Hamilton in Novato

July 10, 2017

The Bay Trail Novato Hamilton

The Bay Trail opened in the summer of 2014 in Novato's Hamilton neighborhood, and it's one of our favorite Marin spots for short hike or bike ride with the kids. With easy access from several points in Hamilton and stunning views, this is a great place for families to head outdoors for an active outing.

10 Fun Things to Do With Preschoolers in Marin and the Bay Area This Summer

July 10, 2017

Toddler fun Marin

Keeping the little ones busy this summer is a high priority for parents, and if they can learn something in the process then so much the better. Bonus points if you have a great time, too. If you nees some inspiration, here are 10 things to do with preschool-aged children in and around Marin and the Bay Area this summer.

Nature for Kids Hikes with Marin County Parks Are Fun and Fascinating

July 9, 2017

Nature for Kids Marin Parks David Herlocker

Spending time in the outdoors as a family this fall can be both fun and educational: get some exercise, explore Marin County's many parks and open space preserves, take advantage of our often lovely fall weather, and learn about the natural wonders that can be found all around us. A fantastic and eye-opening way to get out and experience nature in Marin is to take part in one of the naturalist-led family outings offered by Marin County Parks.

The parks department's Nature for Kids outings take place at Marin's many open space areas, and feature a leisurely, kid-paced hike with plenty of opportunities to stop and explore along the way. The hikes are informal and unstructured, and perfect for kids of all ages, although they seem geared for kids ages 3 to 12.

Marin Family Weekend Fun for July 7, 8 & 9

July 7, 2017

Terwilliger Nature Trail Stafford LakeHike the Terwilliger Nature Trail at Stafford Lake Park with Marin Parks rangers on Sunday.

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, July 7

  • Free Children's Garden Series: Crosspulse
    Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
    Friday, 11 am & 12:15 pm

    Using finger snaps, tight slaps, chest thumps, foot drags, hand rubs and percussive dance steps, Crosspulse performances are designed to enchant children with an international array of rhythms, instruments and obscure musical practices. Creating a joyful noise that is sure to entrance adults as well as kids, Crosspulse is a Bay Area treasure known for bringing body music into classrooms, theaters and nightclubs around the world.. For more info, visit their website.
  • AVP Pro Beach Volleyball
    Pier 30/32, San Francisco
    Friday & Saturday, 9 am–6 pm, Sunday, 9 am–5:30 pm

    One of four tournaments held in California, the San Francisco event is unlike the other three. As opposed to the deep sands on the natural beaches in Southern California, this competition takes place on a pier with the scenic Bay Bridge looming overhead. General admission is free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Mom & Baby Yoga
    Pomegranate, San Anselmo
    Friday, 11 am

    Enjoy your baby, reconnect with your body, and meet other new moms in our postnatal mama and baby yoga class. Class is most successful with pre-crawling babies but all are welcome to try out a class and discuss exceptions with the instructor. We want mamas to be able to get out of the house, meet other moms, and enjoy the support and exercise of a yoga class. Cost: $23 for drop-in class. Sign-up online here. Location: 25 Tamalpais Avenue, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Feather, Fur and Scales
    Fairfax Library
    Friday, 1:30–2:30 pm

    WildCare Rehab Specialists will share rescue stories about sick & injured animals. Meet a rescue animal and learn how to live peacefully with local wildlife. This program is suitable for all ages. Thanks to Friends of the Marin County Free Library for funding this Summer Challenge event. For more info, visit their website.
  • Build-o-Rama
    Mill Valley Library
    Friday, 2:30–4 pm

    Calling all young artists, architects, and engineers! We have the tools to help you creatre skyscrapers, scultures, and structures: MagnaTiles, Strawbees, Connectagons, Legos, Sculpture in a Box, Keva, and more! You'll have limitless possibilities to design and build. All ages! No registration required. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Nights at the de Young
    de Young Museum, San Francisco
    Friday, 5–8:45 pm

    Friday Nights at the de Young are after-hours art happenings that include a mix of live music, dance and theater performances, film screenings, panel discussions, lectures, artist demonstrations, hands-on art activities, and exhibition tours. The café offers a special menu and specialty cocktails, and the Hamon Tower observation level is open until 8 pm. For more info, visit their website.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Jazz & Blues by the Bay at Gabrielson Park in Sausalito is a free event. Lawn seating available (first-come first-served). This Friday: Pamela Rose (blues). For more info, call (415) 289-4100 or visit their website.
  • Tam Valley's Creekside Fridays
    Tennessee Valley Cabin, Mill Valley
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Bring the family, pets, chairs, and blankets to the weekly free musical event. This Friday: Illumination. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or visit their website.
  • Marinwood's Music in the Park Series
    Marinwood Park, San Rafael
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    Join us this summer for live music, food, and fun for the entire family at Marinwood Park! Enjoy delicious BBQ by Marinwood Market and a bar for the adults. Bring your picnic blanket and your appetite and kick off the weekend Marinwood-style. This Friday: Waterstrider. Location: 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 479-0775 or visit their website.
  • Seussical: The Musical
    Alcazar Theatre, San Francisco
    Friday & Saturday, 8 pm

    Now one of the most performed shows in America, Seussical is a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza! Tony winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Lucky Stiff, My Favorite Year, Once On This Island and Ragtime) have lovingly brought to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie, and a little girl with a big imagination—Jojo. The colorful characters transport us from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos. Tickets: $20–$100. Location: 650 Geary Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Movies in the Park: The Princess Bride
    Old Mill Park, Mill Valley
    Friday, 8 pm

    Celebate the 30th anniversary of the classic movie The Princess Bride. Please bring your blankets, low beach chairs, flashlights and picnics. Movie begins at sunset. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, July 8

  • Cotati Kids Day Parade & Festival
    Downtown Cotati
    Saturday, 7 am–2 pm

    The 25th annual Cotati Kids Day Parade & Festival kicks off with a free pancake breakfast from 7 to 10 am at Church of the Oaks followed by a parade at 10 am that goes from Cotati City Hall to La Plaza Park. The festival includes a jump house, live music, entertainment by host Fiz-Nick Rick, free games and prizes, diaper derby, arts and crafts, and more. Free! For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10 am–2 pm, face kids' crafts from 9 am–2 pm, children's music or storytelling from 9:30–10:30 am, and live music from 11 am–12:30 pm. For more info, visit their website.
  • Equine Expo 2017
    Novato Horsemen, Novato
    Saturday, 9 am–4 pm

    This one-day horse expo features all things equine including demos, vendors, and horse clubs and organizations from Marin, Sonoma, Napa, and beyond. Free admission. Location: 600 Bugeia Lane, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Exhibit: "Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: A Grr-ific Exhibit"
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday & Sunday, 9 am– 5 pm

    In "Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: A Grr-ific Exhibit" children ages 2 to 6 enter the world of Daniel Tiger and friends to explore the Neighborhood. Through immersive experiences, visitors collaborate to solve problems, use their imaginations to transform their surroundings and play along with Daniel’s singable strategies as they learn life’s little lessons. Museum admission applies. Location: 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • Concert for Kids & Tot Art in the Park
    Robin Sweeny Park, Sausaltio
    Saturday, 10:30 am

    Sausalito Parks and Recreation is pleased to bring back Concert for Kids & Art in the Park. Sponsored by the Sausalito Lions Club, this annual children's entertainment series takes place on Saturday mornings once a month from July through October at Robin Sweeny Park. These summer and fall performances feature music, art, fun and laughs for children of all ages. Bring your family, a blanket and enjoy these free concerts. Location: 420 Litho Street, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bay Area Children's Theatre presents: The Rainbow Fish Musical
    Children's Fairyland, Oakland
    Saturday, 10:30 am & 2 pm and Sunday, 10:30 am & 4 pm

    Come with us under the sea for The Rainbow Fish Musical, a world premiere based on the award-winning book by Marcus Pfister about the joy of finding friendship through sharing. Book, music and lyrics by Austin Zumbro. Playing in Oakland and San Francisco. Tickets: $20 per person. Location: 699 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland. For more info, visit their website.
  • Creepy Crawlies & Insect Safari
    Martin Griffin Preserve
    Saturday, 11 am–4 pm

    It is true that insects comprise at least 90% of the animal forms on Earth. That’s 6-10 million species. It is also true that arachnophobia is the #1 phobia in the United States. How, ever, will humanity survive!? Start by finding out that every creepy crawly has a story that it wants to tell. What do I eat? Where do I live? What do I have to do with the price of coffee? Eddie Dunbar will demystify our friend, the insect and insect allies, and put us all onto a path of healing through the amazing world of insects. $20, $15 members and students, free for children under 18. For more info, visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: Balancing Butterfly Mobiles
    Presidio Officers Club, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–4 pm
    Drop in for imaginative craft-making based on the Presidio’s natural and cultural heritage. Featuring different crafts every weekend! The Presidio is home to many beautiful butterflies, from Monarchs to the Green Hairstreak butterfly. Come learn about the Presidio's different butterflies by making your own mobile and then get out in the park to find some of our flying friends.  Registration not required, but preferred. Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, Presidio of San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Wine Country Big Q
    Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, Petaluma
    Saturday, 1–5 pm

    Everyone loves barbecue and some of the best pit masters will be here to serve you up a slice. Sample great “authentic” barbecued meats, world class wines, award-winning brews while enjoying great rock and blues music. Bring all of your senses to life as you wander amongst the teams to see, smell and taste mouthwatering barbecue. Location: 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family STEM Saturdays
    Habitot Children's Museum, Berkeley
    Saturday, 2:30–4:30 pm
    Encourage hands on science explorations with activities that build a foundation for understanding physical properties, mathematics, and engineering principles. Come experiment, build, and create. All ages welcome.This Month: make your own playdough. All ages welcome. Admission applies. Location: 2065 Kittredge St, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.

Exploring Angel Island with Kids

July 6, 2017

Angel Island with kids

One of San Francisco Bay's most prominent landmarks, Angel Island has played a considerable role in the history of California and is now one of the Bay Area's favorite spots for hikers, tourists, history buffs, and anyone who just wants to get away from the busy life on the mainland. It's a great place for a family day trip, with plenty of opportunities to picnic, hike, ride a bike, learn, and just take in the surrounding natural beauty, plus there's a boat ride involved, too!

Angel Island is just a short boat ride away via the Angel Island–Tiburon Ferry. The ferry ride is quick and efficient, and it's half the fun of the trip. After the short 12-minute trip, you disembark at Ayala Cove and get ready to explore the island.

The Family Friendly Summer Nights Outdoor Music Festival Returns to the Osher Marin JCC

July 5, 2017

Summer Nights at the Marin JCC

This summer, the Osher Marin JCC reprises its most popular event series: the Summer Nights Outdoor Music Festival. Bring your picnic, blanket, low-backed lawn chairs, and dancing shoes—there's fun for the whole family! Concerts take place on Saturday evenings from July 8 through August 5, 2017 at 7 pm. Dinners from a variety of local pop-up restaurants will be available for purchase, along with beer, wine, non-alcoholic drinks, and snacks.

25 Inexpensive (or Free) Things to Do for Families in July

July 5, 2017

McInnis Park

July is here, and there's so much for families to do in Marin and the Bay Area. You don't have to break the bank to have a great time with the kiddos, either! Here are 25 great ideas for great affordable activities and outings in Marin and the Bay Area in July, all of which are free or really inexpensive. Keep in mind some of these activities require advance registration, so check before you go.

  1. See some art for free at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. Fridays through August 18, 5–8:30 pm
  2. Play 18 holes of mini golf with the kiddos at McInnis Park. Open daily.
  3. Visit the seals and sea lions the Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands. Open daily, 10 am–4 pm
  4. Admission to the Bay Area Discovery Museum is free on the first Wednesday of the month. July 5, 9 am–5 pm
  5. Magician Brian Scott performs at the Mill Valley Library. July 5, 3:30–4:30 pm

2017 Marin 4th of July Parades, Fireworks and More…

July 4, 2017

4th of July

Celebrate Independence Day the Marin County way! Communities across the Marin observe the 4th of July in their own unique ways. Here’s what’s going on in your community on Tuesday, July 4. We will be updating the list as we learn of new events, so please check back. Please keep in mind that event details can change without notice, so please check the event links or call before attending.

You can also add your local Independence Day event to our Family Events Calendar.

Corte Madera and Larkspur

  • The Corte Madera-Larkspur festivities celebrate start off with at the 65th Annual Independence Day Pancake Breakfast—with pancakes, sausages, fruit, coffee, orange juice, and milk—at Larkspur's American Legion Twin Cities Post 313 at 500 Magnolia Avenue. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under, with famous 1928 recipe gin fizzes and the Post 313 Renowned Mimosa for $5 each. Breakfast is from 8–11 am; flag raising ceremony at 7:45 am. Info: call (415) 924-6283 or  www.americanlegion313.org
  • Don’t miss this year’s Corte Madera-Larkspur 4th of July Parade and Festival! One of the biggest 4th of July events in Marin, the parade boasts the elaborate floats, precision drill teams, classic cars, and the Corte Madera Town Band. This year's parade celebrates the Corte Madera's centennial! The parade starts at 10:30 am. Accompanying festivities at Corte Madera's Town Park from 9 am–5 pm include arts and crafts, food and drink, carnival games, children's activities, bounce houses, and stage shows. The parade leaves Redwood High School and winds through downtown Larkspur from Magnolia Street and into Corte Madera by way of Tamalpais Street until it reaches Corte Madera Town Center. The streets will close at 10 am. Info: (415) 924-0441 or www.cortemadera.org.

Watching the Fireworks in Marin

July 3, 2017

Marin County Fair FireworksFireworks at the Marin County Fair. Photo: Marin County Fair

For families with young children, the ritual of watching 4th of July fireworks can be a little inconvenient. Babies and toddlers are often scared of the noise (if you're close enough to hear), the summer sunset at around 9 pm means most kids are up way past their bedtime. It's even worse if you decide to wake them out of a deep sleep in time to see the fireworks (trust me, I've been there). Nothing's quite as crabby and grumpy as an overtired child, no matter how great the fireworks are.

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