Marin Weekend Family Fun for August 22, 23 & 24

August 20, 2014
China Camp State Park San Rafael
Celebrate China Camp State Park as its annual Heritage Day this Saturday.

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, August 22

  • Infant Sleep Solutions
    Parents Place, San Rafael
    Friday, 10 am–noon

    Learn some great techniques to help your little one (birth to 12 months)—and you!—sleep. We will discuss baby sleep needs and the best ways to help young ones learn good sleep habits. Pre-crawling babies welcome. With infant sleep expert Sarah Middelton, MA, CD, PCD. Cost: $40. Preregistraion required. Location: 600 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael. To register, visit their website.
  • Children's Room End-of-Summer Party
    Amphitheater & Peter Dreyfuss Garden, Mill Valley Public Library
    Friday, 2:30–4 pm

    Celebrate the end of summer with your friends and library staff under the redwood trees. Hula hoops, crafts, bubbles, face painting, Mika Scott Drumming Circle, and free ice cream will be available for your enjoyment. All Ages, no sign-up needed. Free. Location: 375 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, call (415) 389-4292 x4741 or visit their website.
  • End of Summer Bash
    Bay Area Discovery Museum
    Friday, 5–7:30 pm

    Say goodbye to summer with us as we go out with a bang! Grab a drum and groove with Rhythm Child, participate in a bilingual storytime and bring a picnic blanket to reflect on the fun days of summer. Bean Sprouts Cafe will be open until 7:30 p.m. to purchase snacks, drinks and dinners. General $12, baby ages 6–11 months $11, and Infants under 6 months free. Performances and activities free with admission. Food available for purchase. For more info, visit their website.
  • Picnics on the Plaza
    Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo
    Friday, 5–8 pm

    In its fifth year, the popular Picnics on the Plaza events feature music and family fun in downtown San Anselmo. Bring your picnic basket or buy food at the event. Sponsored by the San Anselmo Economic Development Committee. Location: 525 San Anselmo Avenue, Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marinwood's Music in the Park Series
    Marinwood Park, San Rafael
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    Marinwood’s most popular event is back! Enjoy Friday evenings in the park, featuring live music with Shelby Earl, delicious food by Marinwood Market, wine and beer. Free; food, wine, and beer may be purchased. Location: 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 479-0775 or visit their website.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Friday, 6:30–8:30 pm

    Jazz & Blues by the Bay at Gabrielson Park in Sausalito is a free event. Lawn seating available (first-come first-served). This Friday, Eugene Huggins and Friends, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Saualito. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, August 23

  • Learn How to Pier Fish at Paradise Park
    Paradise Beach Park, Tiburon
    Saturday, 9 am–1 pm

    Join rangers, and a few of our experienced local anglers, to learn the secrets and tricks of the trade when fishing from a pier. A limited number of fishing poles and bait will be provided first-come, first-served to beginners, thanks to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. A valid California fishing license is required when fishing from the shore, not from the pier. Location: Paradise Beach Park, 3450 Paradise Drive, Tiburon For more info, call Ranger Mike Maraccini at (415) 435-9212 or 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, Baby Food Cooking & Nutrition Demonstration, 10:30-12:00, and Rythm Child from 10:30 am-noon, as well as fresh produce, prepared foods, and great local restaurants.  For more info, visit their website.
  • 20th Annual Bodega Seafood, Art and Wine Festival
    16855 Bodega Highway, Bodega
    Saturday,10 am–6 pm & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Live music, dance floor, and a kids' entertainment and games. $15 adults, $13 seniors 60+, $11 ages 12–18, kids under 12 free. Tickets available at the gate (or discounted tickets online). Food and drink not included in admission price. No dogs allowed. Free parking. Event takes place at Watt's Ranch. For more info, visit their website.
  • WildCare Family Adventures at Indian Tree
    Indian Tree Open Space Preserve, Novato
    Saturday, 10 am–12:30 pm

    Enjoy a day out in nature with the entire family! WildCare naturalists will lead fun family programs full of discovery. We’ll look for butterflies, flowers, birds, and much more. This is one of the best preserves to visit during a summer heat wave as the trails up the north facing slopes are cloaked in forests of oak, bay, and madrone. Location: Vineyard Road, Novato; check website for directions. For more info, call Marco (415) 453-1000 ext. 17 for details and to reserve space. Visit their website for more info.
  • China Camp Heritage Day
    China Camp State Park, San Rafael
    Saturday, 11 am–4 pm

    This all-day event brings the community together to celebrate Chinese-American heritage, seafaring culture, and the natural history of our beautiful park. Heritage Day features musical and dance performances, including Lion Dancers and Chinese folk dancers. There are arts and crafts for sale, with 20% of the proceeds going to help Friends of China Camp. Location: 100 China Camp Village, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.

Indoor Drop-in Activities for the Little Ones for Marin & Beyond

August 19, 2014

Indoor playWhether it's too hot outside, too cold, or too rainy, I’m always looking for places to take the kids to get them out of the house and burn off all that extra energy. Here are a few ideas for fun indoor drop-in activites in Marin County and beyond:

Mill Valley

  • Jump Indoor Playday
    Mill Valley Community Center
    180 Camino Alto
    (415) 383-1370

    Drop-in for children ages 1–5 every Wednesday from 9 am–noon. All the mats will be out with push and pull toys, balls and obstacles to play on. Parents and/or caregivers must attend. The cost is $5 child or $7 for the family. No registration necessary. Exact change appreciated. No class: 11/26, 12/24, 12/31. For more info, call or visit their website.
  • Dance and Creative Movement with Jamaroo
    Sprout San Francisco
    12 Miller Ave., Mill Valley
    (415) 389-1312

    This class takes place every Thursday from 10–10:30 am. In class children will dance to a large variety of multicultural music and will also be exposed to many different dance styles found around the world. Kids will have the opportunity to use scarves, rhythm sticks, beanbags, bells, and other equipment. These drop-in classes are $10 per family. For more info, visit their website.


  • Cal Star Gymnastics Indoor Power Play
    70 Digital Drive, Suite #3, Novato
    (415) 382-7827
    Weekday drop-in starts September 3; weekend offered all year

    Cal Star Gymnastics offers drop-in fun for ages 5 years and under on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:30–11:30 am starting September 3. Weekend drop-in takes place Saturday and Sunday from 9–10:30 am. Participants can run, jump and play in an open gymnastics environment. The cost is $13 per child and $110 for a 10-visit saver card. Cal Star Gymnastics. For more info, visit their website.

Let the Farm Come to You With a CSA or Organic Grocery Delivery in Marin

August 19, 2014

Bloomfield Organics CSA shareAs a parent, especially a new one, simple tasks like just going grocery shopping can be inconvenient, if not downright difficult. Fortunately, you can get healthy, organic food delivered right to your doorstep or to a convenient local pickup area here in Marin through a local farm's CSA or an organic grocery delivery service. These services all feature locally grown or produced, sustainable food—perfect for the locavore family!

Local CSAs

What's a CSA? CSA stands for "community supported agriculture", and it's a way for consumers to get involved with local farms and food producers, support their efforts, and get great seasonal food, too. Every week, or month, or whatever time period you choose, you'll get a box full of fresh produce, eggs, meat, and more, ready to be incorporated into your family meal plan. Some farms, like Petaluma's Tara Firma Farms, offer other benefits to their CSA members, like special events and farm tours.

Most of the time, the farms choose what goes in subscribers' boxes, but that's usually a good thing, since they know what's at the peak of season. Prices for CSA boxes vary depending on the farm and the size and frequency of the box.

Sound interesting? Here's our list of local CSAs that deliver to areas within Marin County. Many of them deliver or offer drop off sites in San Francisco, Sonoma County, and the East Bay, as well (check their websites for exact locations). We've made sure to note which CSAs offer delivery right to your door, too.

Go Beyond Organic at Green String Farm in Petaluma

August 18, 2014

Green String FarmWhenever we visit Petaluma, we stop by the farm store at Green String Farm to do some grocery shopping. Located just east of town on Old Adobe Road, this sustainable local farm is just overflowing with amazing fresh produce, especially in late summer. Their fruits and vegetables are amazing and affordable, and their farming practices actually exceed organic guidelines—they even have their own "Green String" certification program. If you haven't shopped here, it's definitely worth the trip up to Petaluma.

Green String Farm's farm store is situated in the middle of their 140-acre agricultural plot. Take in sweeping views of cultivated fields, orchards, vineyards, and the Sonoma County hills beyond. The farmstand carries just about every local seasonal fruit or vegetable you can imagine, from apples, Asian pears, and stone fruits to peppers, heirloom tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, greens, beets, eggplant, squash, and fresh herbs.

Fresh Summer Vegetable Pasta

August 18, 2014

summer vegetable pastaAfter our last trip to Petaluma's Green String Farm, I wanted to create a recipe that showcased some of the fantastic vegetables that we bought at the farm store there. My kids picked out a lot of cute little baby summer squash, and we had ripe red tomatoes, and a beautiful purple onion, too. Of course I wanted to make something that the kids would eat, too! We created this recipe that showcases these delicious summer vegetables.

We decided to make a creamy summer vegetable pasta with the little cheese ravioli from Trader Joes—my daughter loves them and insisted on having them for dinner. If you don't want to use the ravioli, you could use any kind of pasta shape for this recipe; penne or bow ties would be perfect.


  • 1 bag dried Trader Joe's cheese ravioli, or 1 lb pasta of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Apple Walnut Bread is Delicious and Easy to Make

August 17, 2014

Apple walnut breadIn the late summer and fall we love to go apple picking at farms in Marin and Sonoma County. It's so much fun to choose and pick your own fruit, but sometimes you end up with more apples than you know what to do with. I've been trying to figure out different creative ways to use apples, since I hate to see any go to waste.

Fresh-baked apple walnut bread is delicious, easy to make and a great way to use up extra apples. It also makes the house smell amazing while it's baking. It's good as part of breakfast, as a snack, or even dessert. My kids love to get a slice in their lunchboxes, too.


  • 1-1/2 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Fall Music Classes for Kids in Marin

August 17, 2014

Music ClassIt's now time to sign up for fall music classes in Marin. My kids have always really loved music, and I think that's due in part to taking music classes like these starting when they were really little. We tried a few different classes around Marin and the North Bay, and really like the Kindermusik programs offered here in Novato by Music with Melissa and the Mary Ann Hall's Music for Children. Regardless of which program you choose, there is a music class for every child from newborn to grade school.

If you’re thinking of getting your child involved in a music class, then now’s the time to sign up. Many classes will resume their sessions in September. Here’s an updated list we’ve put together of a variety of local music programs and classes. If we’ve left out your favorite class then please let us know, or, better yet, leave a comment and tell everyone why you and your kids love it!

Corte Madera

Make Your Own Easy and Delicious Applesauce!

August 16, 2014

ApplesauceAs you're probably aware, it's apple season, and after a few apple-picking outings and gifts from our neighbor's apple trees, we've realized that we have a real surplus of apples in our kitchen. What's an easy way to use up some of the fruit? Applesauce, of course!

Homemade applesauce is very easy to make, and really beats that stuff you get in a jar at the supermarket.

Serve it to the kids as a snack, or as a side dish with potato pancakes, pork roast, and more. You can also use it as an ingredient to make other tasty treats like applesauce muffins.


  • 4–5 large apples, peeled, cored, and cut up
  • 1 cup water

Pick Your Own Apples in the North Bay!

August 16, 2014

Picking apples at Twin Hill Ranch in SebastopolLate summer marks the start of apple season, and plenty of the tasty and popular fruits can be found in the North Bay, especially in the area around Sebastopol in western Sonoma County. Sebastopol is the de facto apple capital of the Bay Area, and it's justifiably famous for its Gravenstein apples, a variety that you won't find grown commerically anywhere else.

While it's fun to eat and cook with apples, it's even more fun (and educational) to head out into an orchard and pick them yourselves!

If you're not lucky enough to have an apple tree growing in your backyard, then head up to one of the local apple farms that offers a u-pick experience. It's a fun family outing, and prices and quality are usually bettter than you'll find in the supermarket. There's nothing quite like an afternoon on the farm, too.

This year, apple season kicks off in early August with local favorite Gravensteins, and continues through the late summer and fall with varieties like Golden Delicious (September and October), Granny Smith (October and November), and Fuji (October through December). Like any other crop, apples are dependent on a variety of factors, so make sure you check with farms before you decide to visit to make sure there's something available to pick.

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