Marin Weekend Family Fun for April 17, 18 & 19

April 17, 2015
Stinson Beach Earth Day
Celebrate Earth Day this Saturday at Stinson Beach. Photo: Marco Sanchez.

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this weekend, including Earth Day celebrations and activities around the Bay Area. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, April 17

  • West Marin Storytimes
    Pt. Reyes Library
    Friday, 11 am
    Join West Marin storyteller Judy Buchanan for some great children's stories. Location: 11435 CA-1, Point Reyes Station. For more info, call (415) 663-8375 or visit their website.
  • Friday Night Jazz
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Friday, 6–9 pm

    Enjoy live music on Fridays in the Marin Country Mart courtyard! This Friday, FivePlay Jazz with special guest Ron Horton plays fresh, original music for hungry ears! The compositions by band members range from swinging bebop, Afro-Cuban, and Brazilian grooves to atmospheric ballads, and more. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, April 18

  • Free Entrance Days: Muir Woods National Park
    Mill Valley
    Saturday & Sunday, 8 am–5 pm

    America's Best Idea—the national parks—is even better when it's free! Get into Muir Woods National Monument for free over this weekend, the first weekend of National Park Week. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family BikeAbout
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday, 8:30–10 am

    Families can bring their bicycles to the Zoo for this informative one- and one-half hour, docent-led cycling tour. It’s great to be in the Zoo ahead of the crowds and watch the animals start their day. Registration includes parking and Zoo admission. Participants must bring a bicycle; the SF Zoo does not provide bicycles to rent. Cost: SFZS Members: $18 per peddler and Non-Members: $23 per peddler. Children piggy-backing on their parents' bikes are free. Pre-register here. Location: 1 Zoo Road, San Francisco. For more info, call (415) 753-7080 or visit their website.
  • Olompali Bird Walk
    Olompali State Historic Park, Novato
    Saturday, 8:30 am–noon

    Take a family walk and explore the birds of Olompali State Historic Park. Beginning and experienced birders are invited to join leaders Rich Cimino and Janet Bodle of Yellowbilled Tours to view Olompali's diverse avian residents as we walk the old ranch road past the park's reservoir.  Families are welcome! Event is free; parking $8 per car. Meet In the Olompali parking lot at 8:30 am. For more info, visit their website.
  • Earth Day Celebration
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday, 9 am–5 pm

    Join the Bay Area Discovery Museum on Earth Day to celebrate the natural beauty of our environment. Every day, the museum seeks to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards by encouraging children to immerse themselves in our unique place by the Bay. All activities included with admission unless noted otherwise. See schedule here.
  • Cal Day 2015
    UC Berkeley
    Saturday, 9 am–5 pm
    Introduce your family to the wide world of Berkeley. Watch dancers move and groove, hear the boom of the Cal band, hug a robot and get some hands-on science experience. Cal Day will light up their minds. Free! No advance registration is required to attend Cal Day—just show up! For more info, visit their website.
  • Mt. Tam Habitat Restoration
    Saturday, 9 am–noon

    Help remove French broom along the Moore Trail in Fairfax. Marin Stables will be serving "cowboy chili" for volunteers at noon. For ages 8 and up. Volunteers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, everyone under 18 must bring a permission form signed by a parent or guardian. Please wear close-toed shoes and long pants, dress for variable weather and bring a reusable water bottle. Hosted by MMWD, who will provide breakfast snacks, water, tools, parking passes and inspiration! For more info, visit their website.
  • Healthy Kids Day
    Marin YMCA, San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm

    Healthy Kids’ Day is a free day giving kids and families a chance to engage in active play, have fun and access resources for healthier living. It will be a day filled with fun activities and education that will leave you and your kids feeling empowered to make healthy lifestyle changes. Location: 1500 Los Gamos Drive, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Earth Day San Francisco
    22nd Street between Mission & Valencia
    Saturday, 10 am–7 pm
    San Francisco's Earth Day celebration features informative and interactive learning experiences, including green jobs information, cutting-edge eco-fashion shows, eco artist grove, organic food cooking demos, a huge green kids zone, and an eco-carnival. Find more info here.
  • Creativity Day in San Francisco
    Children's Creativity Museum
    Saturday, 10 am–4 pm
    Enjoy a variety of activities and programs designed to build creative confidence in all youth and families! This year’s theme, “S.T.E.A.M. Powered Creativity” features innovative programs designed to promote creative thinking in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Families are invited to meet Bay Area innovators and community partners, and enjoy a variety of activities that nurture creativity through hands-on learning experiences and play. Free admission. Location: 221 4th Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sebastopol Apple Blossom Festival
    Downtown Sebastopol
    Saturday, 10 am–6 pm
    & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm
    The 69th Annual Apple Blossom Parade is a delight for the entire family. Sebastopol comes alive as the flower-adorned floats, high-stepping horses, marching bands, and five-year-old dancers march proudly down Main Street. The parade starts at 10 Saturday morning at Analy High School and continues South on Main Street and ends at Calder Ave. Join us in the Rose Garden at the festival for children's activities on the farm. Admission: $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and students 11–17, free for ages 10 and under. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Day Children's Fair
    Northgate Mall, San Rafael
    Saturday, 11 am–2 pm

    Visit Northgate in Oak Plaza for free live entertainment, including Smart Start Gymnastics, Scott the Storyteller, Amazing Athletes, and more! Featuring over 20 booths presented by local schools and other community organizations, this event is fun for the whole family! For more info, visit their website.
  • Art in the Park
    Paradise Beach Park, Tibruon
    Saturday, 11 am–1 pm

    Bring the whole family out to picturesque Paradise Beach Park to paint the beautiful scenery and wildlife that surrounds us while looking out at the San Francisco Bay. All skill levels are welcome and no experience is necessary. Dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes. Supplies, smocks, and healthy snacks provided. Free; park entrance is waived for participants. For more info, contact Ranger Sarah Burkhart at or visit their website.
  • Annual Free Create-with-Nature Earth Day Celebration
    Stinson Beach
    Saturday, 11 am–3 pm
    Celebrate Earth Day by creating art on the beach! Join in as community members, professional artists, and passers-by construct sculpture using sand, rocks, shells, seaweed and other beach treasures. The event starts with beach cleanup (bags and gloves supplied). Find more info here.
  • Earth Day: Celebrating Urban Biodiversity
    San Francisco Zoo

    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–3 pm
    Celebrate the fifth anniversary of Greenie’s Conservation Corner at the Zoo. Not only has this space been a focal point of conservation and education, it’s been a fun, hands-on learning space for Zoo visitors and Members alike. Come to the Zoo on April 19 for a special Earth Day Celebration to mark this milestone. For more info, visit their website.

Rock the Ropes at the San Francisco Zoo!

April 16, 2015

Rockin' Ropes Course at the SF ZooThrough June 14, 2015, kids ages 4 to 14 can experience the Rockin' Ropes Adventure on weekends and school holidays in the San Francisco Zoo's Pachyderm Building. Kids can zip, swing, jump, step, and slide around this challenging elevated ropes course. It's a fun addition to your family's visit to the zoo!

We had a chance to check out the Rockin' Ropes Adventure last weekend, and the kids had a blast. The course offers plenty of challenges for all age levels and takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to make your way around it, and you get to go through twice. My kids really loved the feeling of being up high above the ground, and enjoyed the challenge of maneuvering around the various obstacles and making their way along the narrow ropes.

Unique All-Girls Sports Camp Experience for Your Daughters!

April 14, 2015

Prime Youth Sports CampsMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Prime Youth Sports Camps.

Is your daughter interested in becoming more involved with sports but lacks confidence? Does your child want to explore athletic activities that she has not played before? Does your daughter want to take her game to the next level? If so, Prime Youth Sports (PYSC) is the camp for her!

PYSC offers a unique experience for girls to learn, play, and have fun in an all-girls environment. In its second year, PYSC provides girls with a strong foundation of sports fundamentals and skills, knowledge, character and leadership development—and a love for athletics! PYSC emphasizes FUN and comradery in an respectful environment that drives passion for athletic activities. PYSC employs unique games and challenges that enhance skill development in and sport - basketball, soccer, softball - and more!

Easy Mountain Biking Trails for Families in Marin

April 14, 2015

Mountain biking for families in MarinMountain biking is an extremely popular activity in Marin, and for good reason—it was invented right here on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais! There's really nothing quite like a ride down the trail, and it's a great activity for the whole family.

Get your kids started on cross-country cycling by trying out some of these easy, bike-friendly Marin trails. All you'll need is a mountain bike or other off-road capable bicycle and a helmet. (Make sure you bring plenty of water and some snacks, too.)

All these trails are designated for bicycles, and have minimal hills and technical sections for easy riding and maximum fun for family riding.

One of the other benefits of riding off-road is the absence of cars and other related hazards. My daughter actually learned to ride her bike on some of these trails. Get them started early, and they'll be shredding in no time!

  • China Camp State Park near San Rafael is a popular destination for local mountain bikers. It's one of the few places in the Bay Area that has single-track trails open to cyclists, but families with beginning bikers will want to head for the wide easier paths like the Shoreline Trail. There's a $5 day-use parking pass fee here. On weekends, swing by the historic Quan Brothers Snack Shop in China Camp Village for post-ride ice cream and other treats.

Wine Country Family Fun at Cornerstone Sonoma

April 13, 2015

Cornerstone SonomaOne of our must-visit Wine Country family destinations is Cornerstone Sonoma. It's a fun, family-friendly place to explore, play, and take in the beauty of their six acres of gardens and art installations. You can shop, dine, and wine taste here, too. We always make a point of visiting whenever we head up to the Wine Country. It's constantly changing, and there's always something new to see. Best of all, admission to the gardens is free!

You'll find Cornerstone just outside the town of Sonoma, across from the Gloria Ferrer winery on Highway 121, so it's easy to get to. Look for the long white picket fence and Big Blue Chair on your right as you head towards Sonoma, and you'll know you're there.

A Family That Eats Together: Rocket Pesto with Linguine

April 13, 2015

Rocket PestoMarin Mommies presents this week's guest recipe from Nicole Cibellis, Marin mom and author of the blog A Family that Eats Together, where she shares meal plans and recipes that will please foodies and children alike.

Did you know that many countries around the world call arugula "rocket"? Well, that is how I sold this dish to my son. "Rocket Pasta"—he loved the name and the dish. I use baby arugula, which is peppery like its relatives but sweeter in taste. Using walnuts tones down the peppery flavor and makes it smooth like a more traditional basil pesto. Your whole family will be surprised at just how good this quick and easy recipe really is.

Serves: 4–6
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes


10 Fun Family Outing Ideas for Spring Break

April 13, 2015

Drum bridge at Japanese Tea GardenWhat are you doing on your time off from school next week? Here are a few of our picks for fun things to do with the family around Marin County, the Bay Area, and Northern California during Spring Break. Enjoy!

Marin Parents Place Helps New Parents Embrace the Monumental Changes in Their Lives

April 12, 2015

infant yawningParents Place in San Rafael has been a valuable resource for countless Marin County parents and families. They offer a wide variety of programs and classes for parents and children throughout the year. Here is a guest article by Rebecca Wood Breen, LCSW, Parents Place Coordinator, Marin County.

You are expecting a new baby, or your precious bundle of joy has just arrived. Congratulations! You must be over the moon.

But beyond euphoria, you may be experiencing many other feelings—fatigue, fear, confusion, and a sense of being overwhelmed—all mixed in with the excitement of your firstborn (or second, third, or fourth child!).

Not to worry. All of these feelings are common and understandable. There are also many techniques and tips available to help you and your spouse or partner manage the new changes in your and your baby’s life.

At Parents Place in San Rafael, we offer many services and programs to help you adjust to the monumental change that has occurred in your life: your new son or daughter! Here are a number of our offerings that will smooth your way:

  • A New Mom Discussion Group. Join other new mothers to discuss the joys and challenges of becoming a mom, make new friends, and network. We will discuss both practical and emotional issues of parenting, including breast and/or bottle-feeding; changing relationships with friends, family, and partner; helping your baby sleep through the night; and taking care of yourself. Babies welcome. With Rebecca Breen, LCSW.  Four-week series. Free, but preregistration required. Wednesdays, Apr. 22 – May 13.

The Week of the Young Child in Marin!

April 11, 2015

week of the young child flier imageThis coming week, April 12-18, 2015, has been declared “Week of the Young Child” by the County of Marin Board of Supervisors! Join the County, along with the Marin Child Care Council, in a week of fun to recognize how important early childhood education and great teachers are to everyone.

The week kicks off on Sunday, April 12 from 10 am to 2 pm at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito with a celebration jam-packed with fun literacy, math, and science school readiness activities for little ones. A variety of community partners from throughout Marin and the Bay Area, including UCSF, the California Highway Patrol, First 5 Marin, and the Marin County Free Library, will be on hand to discuss everything from car seat safety to new parent education. Free medical screenings will be provided, too.

Later in the week, families are encouraged to partake in a variety of fun themed activities, including Music Monday, Taco Tuesday, and Work Together Wednesday. On Friday, “Wee Read” will feature local legislators visiting preschools to spend time and read stories.

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