Marin Family Weekend Fun for October 9, 10 & 11

October 7, 2015

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.

Halloween pumpkin patches in Marin and Sonoma counties are now open—see our list here.

Friday, October 9

  • Fleet Week 2015
    San Francisco
    Friday–Sunday, various times

    Fleet week returns to San Francisco, along with the Blue Angels, who will perform over San Francisco Bay on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 3 pm. Fleet Week also includes a parade of ships (Friday, noon–1 pm), ship tours, band concerts, and more. Free admission; airshow bleacher seat tickets at Marina Green $50–$60. For more info, visit their website.
  • Children's FilmFest
    Mill Valley Film Festival
    Friday, Satuday & Sunday, various times

    Tour the world with your family at the MVFF Children’s FilmFest, celebrating its 21st year of showcasing the finest family films from around the world. Location: various theaters within Marin. For a complete listing of films, visit their website here.
  • Free Outdoor Film: Big Hero 6
    Presidio Main Post, San Francisco
    Friday, 5:30–10 pm

    Grab the kiddos, a blanket and enjoy a fun, free outdoor movie under the stars. The event will be held on the lawn behind the Presidio Dance Theatre, 386 Arguello Boulevard, on the Presidio's Main Post. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, October 10

  • San Domenico School Garden Faire
    San Anselmo
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm

    Bring the family to this year's community garden family faire. There will be live music, farmers' market, eco-exhibits, crafts, games and gourmet foods. Fun for all ages. Admission is free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Off the Grid Fleet Fest
    Pier 80, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    Join us for tours of ships from the United States Navy and Coast Guard bringing over 900 sailors and Coasties to the Dogpatch neighborhood this week. Portside, enjoy a festival atmosphere of San Francisco food truck culture, live music, art and educational military displays. A great way to experience the day to day of sailors’ lives and to celebrate the men and women who serve our Nation. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bon Air Invitational Car Show
    Bon Air Center, Greenbrae
    Saturday, 10 am–4 pm

    Over 100 of the finest vintage cars in the area have been invited to show at Bon Air Center’s car show. The event is free to the public. Location: 50 Bon Air Center, Greenbrae. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Junior Chef Classes: Baking with Pumpkin
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am

    Pumpkins aren’t just for carving jack-o’-lanterns. There are also varieties (with fun names like Sugar Pie and Baby Bear) that are wonderful for eating! In this class we’ll have fun making waffles, cupcakes and other tasty pumpkin treats. Suitable for ages 8–13. Call the store to reserve your spot (415) 924-6799. Location: The Village at Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Theatre Company presents Cinderella
    Mill Valley
    Saturday & Sunday, 10:30 am, 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm
    This Saturday and Sunday, the Marin Theatre Company presents Cinderella as you've never seen it before in a production by the award-winning Great Arizona Puppet Theater. This production is recommended for families with children ages 4 and up, and runs for 45 minutes. Tickets cost $18 for children under 14 and $22 for adults. Order online at, by phone at  (415) 388-5208, or in person at the MTC box office, 397 Miller Avenue in Mill Valley. Visit their website for more info.
  • Leap's 32nd Annual Sandcastle Contest!
    Ocean Beach, San Francisco
    Saturday, 10:30 am–4:30 pm

    Bring the family to check out some amazing sand castles. Leap hosts this spirited competition between teams of architects, designers, contractors, corporations, engineers and local elementary school students each October on Ocean Beach. The Sandcastle Contest is a fundraiser to support Leap's arts education programs, but admission is free to the community. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Music Open House
    Frieight & Salvage, Berkeley
    Saturday, 11 am

    Bring the kiddos to sing and dance to local children's entertainers. Some of this year's entertainers include a musical storyteller, Asheba, Bug Family Band, Little Folkies, and an instrument petting zoo. This event is free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Pixie Park Open House
    Marin Art & Garden Center, Ross
    Saturday, 11 am–noon

    Open Houses are a great way to learn about the history of Pixie Park and what it means to belong to this co-op playground. The new member open house is conducted in a casual environment where you can speak to a board member about the benefits and responsibilities of being a Pixie family, as well as ask questions and meet other prospective families. After learning about the park, interested families can sign-up and receive their key. Location: 30 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Ross. For more info, visit their website.

Don't Miss "Cinderella" This Weekend at Marin Theatre Company

October 6, 2015

Cinderella at Marin Theatre CompanyThis Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11, Marin Theatre Company presents Cinderella as you've never seen it before in a production by the award-winning Great Arizona Puppet Theater. Don't miss this enchanting story of pumpkin coaches, glass slippers, and handsome princes told by puppets! This production is recommended for families with children ages 4 and up, and runs for 45 minutes.

Performances of Cinderella take place at 10:30 am and 12:30 and 2:30 pm. Tickets cost $18 for children under 14 and $22 for adults. Order online at, by phone at  (415) 388-5208, or in person at the MTC box office, 397 Miller Avenue in Mill Valley.

As an added bonus, Marin Theatre Company is partnering with Amazing Fairytale Parties to offer young theatergoers a chance to meet and have their photos taken with a real life Cinderella.

Our Top 10 Spooky Halloween Movies for Families

October 6, 2015

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were RabbitHalloween is a few weeks away, and there's nothing much better than watching a spooky (but not too scary) movie with the family and sharing a big bowl of popcorn. I polled everyone in our family to find out what their favorite Halloween movies were, and we came up with this list of ten that we think are must-sees.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (G)

This Halloween classic has been family favorite since 1966, so you probably watched it when you were a kid. Charlie Brown still gets nothing but rocks while trick-or-treating, Linus is always positive that the Great Pumpkin will pay a visit to the pumpkin patch, and it's still funny and touching. For all ages.

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (G)

Wallace and Gromit, the ever-charming cheese-loving claymation duo, star in this clever sendup of monster movies, where something horrible ravages gardens and threatens a village's veggie-growing competition. Cute and clever with plenty of jokes (including a few that only grown-ups will get). Ages 3 and up.

The Blue Angels Return to San Francisco for Fleet Week 2015!

October 5, 2015

Blue Angels perform in San Francisco for Fleet WeekCome and celebrate the men and women who serve in our country’s Navy and Marine Corps at San Francisco Fleet Week 2015. Fleet Week features a variety of events, including a parade of ships, an air show, live music, ship tours, and of course exciting performances by the Navy’s popular Blue Angels precision flying team.

Events take place in a variety of locations on the San Francisco waterfront from October 8–12. The Blue Angels practice on Thursday, October 8, from noon to 4 pm, and they'll perform over San Francisco Bay on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 9, 10 and 11, at 3 pm. They can be seen from a variety of locations on the Bay, including Angel Island and Fort Baker in Sausalito. The Blue Angels' performance is part of a Fleet Week airshow that also includes the US Navy Leap Frogs parachute team, a Coast Guard rescue demonstration, the Patriots jet team, the Red Star Pilots formation team, and more.

The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Farm in Petaluma

October 5, 2015

The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Farm

One of our favorite local pumpkin patches is the annual Great Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Farm, located in the Two Rock Valley area just outside of Petaluma. The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch is a classic old-time pumpkin patch that's kind of out in the middle of nowhere (which is part of the fun). It's on a real working farm that produces the yummy organic Spring Hill Jersey cheese that you may have seen in farmers' markets or stores around town.

We've been going there for over 10 years, and we've watched it grow in size and scope to be a major fall production. Peter Pumpkin Patch is also quite popular with our readers, as it was the runaway winner in our 2009 Pumpkin Patch Poll has been consistently popular ever year since.

Healthy Slow-Cooker White Bean Soup with Ham

October 5, 2015

Slow cooker ham and bean soupThis healthy and tasty white bean soup with ham is a hit with everyone in our family. It's also a breeze to make; one of those slow-cooker recipes that's truly easy.

Put everything in the slow cooker in the morning, set it on "low" and walk away. Then come back later to dish up a delicious hearty soup at dinnertime, one that's perfect for these chilly winter evenings. It freezes well, too.

This version includes smoked ham, which you could easily leave out for a vegeterian or vegan version.


  • 1 pound dry white beans like Great Northern, Navy, or Cannellini
  • 1 large onion, chopped

Be Prepared with kidSTAT and babySTAT First Aid Kits from Three Mommy Doctors

October 4, 2015

Three Mommy Doctors First Aid KitsA first aid kit is a household must-have, especially for families with kids. Wouldn't it be great if you knew some doctors, who also happened to be parents, who could recommend first aid kit essentials for you? The new kidSTAT and babySTAT first aid kits are exactly that! Created by three moms who are also emergency room doctors (hence their company name Three Mommy Doctors, or 3MD), these kits contain everything a parent needs to be prepared for almost any emergency situation.

We got to check out a review sample of the 3MD kidSTAT kit, and it's really a fantastic resource, stocked with hospital-grade first aid items and detailed instructions and packaged in a neat plastic case. The case is divided into different sections—"aches + sprains", "bites + burns", and "cuts + scrapes"—and each section is packed with the supplies needed to treat injuries in each category, with plenty of bandages, pads, an instant cold pack, burn gel, ointments, and even a pair of EMT shears. There are 91 items—way more than we can list here, but you can get a complete rundown on their website.

A Visit to Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch

October 4, 2015

Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch

This weekend we paid a visit to the popular Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch, a certified organic pumpkin patch that has been a Marin County tradition for 20 years! Located in the small west Marin village of Nicasio, the farm is just west of the Nicasio Village Square right on Nicasio Valley Road. Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch is open seven days a week through Halloween from 10 am to 6 pm, and it's always worth a visit.

Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch offers a wide variety of certified organic pumpkins spread out in an expansive meadow on the farm. Pumpkin varieties ranged from your standard Halloween jack-o-lantern types to white ones, green Italian and Australian varieties, and flat European "Cinderella" style squash. The farmstand also offers of gourds, squash, and decorative cornstalks, apples, as well as drinks and snacks.

Experience Life on the Farm at McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch

October 3, 2015

McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin

McClelland's Dairy is a family-run, certified organic dairy farm located just west of Petaluma, and their annual Halloween pumpkin patch just keeps getting better and better every year. McClelland's offers a lot of fun for families, especially if you have small children or are looking for a genuine farm experience. If you haven't been there yet, it's definitley worth putting on your fall family itinerary. This year McClelland's has added a wide range of new attractions, from a giant slide to a pumpkin blaster.

The entrance to McClelland's can sneak up on you a little, so keep an eye out for their signs as you head down Bodega Road into the Two Rock area west of Petaluma. Turn into the dirt driveway and parking it to your immediate left. On your right you'll see their big pumpkin patch, where you're welcome to go pick that perfect Halloween pumpkin off the vine.

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