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

Kid-friendly bike paths in Marin

August 8, 2007

There are countless spectacular views in Marin and many of those views can be enjoyed on the many bike paths that the county has to offer. Growing up in Marin gave me the chance to try a lot of the different bike paths, and of course now I take my children to them as well. Most of the paths are mixed-use, and are appropriate for bikes, walking, big wheels, tricycles, strollers, and other kid-friendly conveyances.

Summer Series for Kids at Local Children’s Museums

July 30, 2007

Summer’s still here, and if you’re looking for fun and educational things to do with your kids during the month of August, then look no further than your local children’s museum. The Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito and the Habitot Children’s Museum in Berkeley are two of our favorites.

The Bay Area Discovery Museum offers a Special Summer Series that includes art, science and music workshops on Wednesdays at 2:00 pm for ages 4 and up.

August 1: Seaside Songs
August 8: Science by the Bay
August 15: Masterpieces, Summer Drawing Series
August 22: Prolific Puppetry

A Family Stroll along the Corte Madera Creek Path

July 27, 2007

I rediscovered a wonderful scenic walking path a few weeks ago that is perfect for the babies in strollers or for kids on foot or on a bike. The starts at Creek Park, which is right across from Marin General Hospital. Parking can be a little tricky, depending on the time of the day, but it’s worth the trip. As soon as you get out of your car, you can’t miss the spectacular view of Mount Tamalpais. The nice wide bike path is great for strollers, and follows Corte Madera Creek. The creek has lots of birds, like egrets, blue herons, and black-crested night herons, as an assortment of ducks swimming around in the water, so there’s some nature involved for children to see. The path leads to the College of Marin and on into Ross if you follow it far enough.

Peter Pan at the Marin Center

July 9, 2007

Peter Pan at the Marin CenterThe beloved and timeless tale of Peter Pan comes to life as Sharon Boucher brings 100 of Marin’s most talented children together to perform this magical tale. Watch Peter Pan fly with Wendy, John and Michael to Neverland as he encounters Captain Hook and the pesky pirate crew. The performances will be from Thursday, July 26 to Sunday, July 29, 2007 at the Showcase Theater at the Marin Center in San Rafael, so bring the entire family. The performance days and times are as follows:

7/26 Thursday: 7:30 pm
7/27 Friday: 7:30 pm
7/28 Saturday: 2 pm and 7:30 pm
7/29 Sunday: 1 pm and 5 pm

Prices are $16 in Advance and $19 at the door. For more info or to purchase tickets, go to their website or call the Marin Center Box Office at 415-499-6800.

The Nut Tree: Revisiting a Childhood Favorite

June 5, 2007

The Nut Tree train(They have closed) Over the long Memorial Day weekend, I talked my family into visiting one of my childhood favorites, the new Nut Tree in Vacaville. I still remember this California landmark vividly when I would visit as a child, so I didn’t know what to expect now that it has reopened. We decided to first have lunch in the old Black Oak Restaurant that I’ve always seen on the other side of I-80, which is a family-friendly coffee shop style place (similar to a Dennys, but with nicer décor).

When we first pulled up to the new Nut Tree, I was a little disappointed. It is now one big shopping mall, replete with Old Navy, Borders, Starbucks, and other familiar retail outlets, with the family park area situated in the back. The Family Park is a small but clean and well thought out park with sort of an old-fashioned fell to it. It’s free to get in and roam around, but you have to purchase tickets to go on the rides. Some of the rides are:

Baby and Toddler-Friendly Sunscreens

May 30, 2007

kid on the beachWhen my family hits the great outdoors for a walk, hike, or swim, I always try to remember to put lots of sunscreen on them. I usually don’t do much more than buy what’s on sale, and make sure it has an SPF of at least 30 to 40. I decided to do a little research on the subject to find out what really is the best sunscreen for children. One thing I discovered is that it’s important to buy a sunscreen or sunblock with either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. I also found out the sunscreen and sunblock are totally different; I thought the two terms were interchangeable, and they aren’t. Sunblock physically blocks the sun's UV rays, whereas sunscreen actually absorbs the ultraviolet light so it doesn’t reach your skin.

When you buy a sunscreen with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide (which is recommended) it sits on top of the skin and forms a barrier against the sun's rays. When using a chemical sunscreen without either of those two ingredients, your skin actually absorbs the sunscreen, which may cause irritation or allergic reactions. It doesn't matter if you buy a so called "broad-spectrum" product, just make sure that it contains the all important zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both.

Rodeo Beach and the Marin Headlands

May 18, 2007

marin headlandsFor Mothers Day, I decided that we were going to have a picnic at the beach, so we ended up going to Rodeo Beach at Fort Cronkhite in the Marin Headlands. I hadn’t been there in a long time, and since it was such a nice day I thought it would be a really fun beach to revisit. It’s also a little closer than schlepping all the way out to Point Reyes, where we usually go. My kids loved the long tunnel you use to enter onto Bunker Road and the open space of the Marin Headlands. I had forgotten how beautiful the drive was out to the beach.

A Day Out at the Bay Area Discovery Museum

May 15, 2007
Lookout Cove at the Bay Area Discovery MuseumOne of my kids favorite places to go, hands-down, is the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito. If you haven’t been there, they are located in the beautiful Golden Gate National Recreation Area at Fort Baker in Sausalito, which overlooks San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, and the views are amazing.

Tomatomania at Cornerstone Festival of Gardens

April 12, 2007
tomatoesThe whole family, or at least the ones that like tomatoes, will enjoy this special event at Cornerstone Festival of Gardens near Sonoma this weekend, April 14-15. Tomatomania will include a huge heirloom tomato seedling sale, with colorful varieties like Green Zebras, Cherokee Purples, Black Krims, and Dixie Golden Giants. Children can learn about all the varieties of tomatoes and how to maintain a wonderful vegetable garden. Some of the free activities for children will include crafts, making vegetable garden markers, and making a scarecrow for the organic vegetable garden.
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