Marin Family Weekend Fun for October 3, 4, & 5

October 1, 2014

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.

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

Friday, October 3

  • Peter Pumpkin Patch
    Spring Hill Jersey Farm, Petaluma
    Friday–Sunday, 9 am–6 pm

    Pick your own organic pumpkin, dig for potatoes, take a tractor ride, visit farm animals, taste homemade ice cream and Spring Hill cheese, milk a cow, and get lost in the hay maze. Peter Pumpkin Patch also ofers fresh fruits and vegetables and picnic baskets. Free parking. This is a wonderful and fun pumpkin patch on a real working farm. Location: 4235 Spring Hill Road (off Bodega Ave.). For more info, call (707) 762-3446 or visit their Facebook page.
  • Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch
    Nicasio
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    The Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch, winner of our 2013 Marin Mommies Pumpkin Patch Poll, offers certified organic pumpkins as well as countless attractions including hay rides, farm animals, pony rides, mechanical bulls, a bounce house and giant inflatable slide, a farm stand, Big Jim's award-winning BBQ and ice cream. Popular children's recording artist Tim Cain performs every Sunday form 11 am–noon. Location: 5300 Nicasio Valley Road (1/4 mile north of Nicasio square). For more info, visit their website.
  • Petaluma Pumpkin Patch
    550 Stony Point Road
    Friday & Saturday, 10 am–10 pm and Sunday, 10 am–6pm
    Over 50 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds, as well as a 4-acre Amazing Corn Maze (admission $5, 5 and under free; $9 on Friday and Saturday nights 6–10 pm), farm animals, a zip line, weekend pony rides, face painting, jumpy houses and inflatables, food vendors, covered snack area, and more. For more info, visit their website.
  • Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
    Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
    Friday 10:30 am–7 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–7 pm
    This free annual music festival of bluegrass, old time, country, and more, founded by the late Warren Hellman, takes place in Golden Gate Park's Hellman Hollow and Marx and Lindley Meadows. This year's headliners include Carlene Carter, Chris Isaak, the Time Jumpers featuring Vince Gill and Lucinda Williams, and the Handsome Family. For more info, visit their website.
  • Kids' Pajama Party with Kathryn Otoshi
    DIESEL, a bookstore, Larkspur
    Friday, 6–7 pm

    Pull on your PJs and bring your teddy bear to the bookstore! Author and illustrator Kathryn Otoshi will be here to read you a bedtime story. Get cozy in front of the fireplace, listen to a story or two, have some milk and cookies and get your books signed before heading home for bed. Kathryn Otoshi is a cat lover and an award-winning author and illustrator who lives in the Bay Area with her husband, Daniel, and two cockatiels. Location: Marin Country Mart, 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, October 4

  • Museums on Us Free Day
    Various Museums
    Saturday & Sunday

    Bank of America cardholders can visit the following Bay Area museums for free! Enjoy the Contemporary Jewish Museum, de Young Museum, the Legion of Honor, and the Chabot Space and Science Center. Photo ID and a valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card must be presented. For more information, visit their website.
  • Mill Valley Film Festival Children's Filmfest
    Mill Valley and San Rafael
    Saturday and Sunday, various times
    The 37th annual Mill Valley Film Festival's Children's Filmfest features a lineup of unique children's films from around the world. Visit their website for times and program details.
  • CSRG Charity Challenge
    Sonoma Raceway

    Saturday and Sunday, 8:30 am–5:30 am
    Vintage race cars from the '50s through the '70s compete at Sonoma Raceway this weekend. Visit the paddock to look at cars and talk to the drivers. It's like a museum on wheels! Adults $25, children free. Sonoma Raceway is located at Highway 37 and 121 between Sonoma and Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Fall Toddler Days
    Slide Ranch, Muir Beach
    Saturday, 9 am–noon

    A popular day at the farm for families with toddlers and babies! Enjoy milking a goat, holding a warm egg from the chickens, and hearing the baa of the sheep. Activities are toddler appropriate, but all ages welcome on this very friendly day. Fee: $30 per person; children 12 months and under are free. 15% discount for families of 4 or more. Register here. Location: 2025 Shoreline, Muir Beach. For more info, visit their website.
  • Tiburon Challenger: USTA Free Kids' Day!
    Tiburon Peninsula Club
    Saturday, 9–11 am

    This unique event will feature a special exhibition performance, intimate “courtside conversations” with some of the featured players and lots of fun games and activities on court. Soft serve ice-cream cones will be provided by Tiburon Peninsula Club on the café patio following Kids’ Day and all participants return home with a gift on behalf of USTA NorCal. Kids are welcome to come watch qualifying matches after playday. For more info, visit their website.
  • Nature for Kids: Deer Island
    Deer Island Open Space Preserve, Novato
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm

    This is a Healthy Parks Healthy People Event. Follow the 2.3 mile loop trail around this “island” as you walk through oak forests and open meadows. This beautiful little ridge that rises above the surrounding marshland is a great place to enjoy an autumn day with the family. Don’t forget to bring your lunch! For questions, contact David Herlocker at (415) 893-9508. Meet at the gate on Deer Island Lane in Novato. For more information, visit their website.

Visit a Museum for Free in October

September 30, 2014

Fun at the ExploratoriumDid you know you can visit most of the Bay Area's major museums and cultural attractions for free every month? Just about all museums have one day a month set aside as a free day. They all aren't on the same day, too, so if you plan it right you can take in several museum outings without having to pay a thing.

Note that most museums charge for admission to special exhibitions, although the general admission fee is usually deducted from the total; see details with each museum listing below.

Also, groups are generally not admitted on free days; check with each museum for their free day group policy.

First Wednesday of the Month—October 1

Family Halloween Events & Fall Festivals in Marin & the Bay Area

September 30, 2014

Halloween Girls in Witch CostumesHalloween is one of our favorite holidays, and there's so much family fun to be had at this time of year. Find the Halloween event or fall festival that's right for you! We'll keep updating our list of events for Marin and beyond as we find more this fall. If you have an event you'd like to see added to the list, please contact us.

Marin and Sonoma Events

  • Tween Movie Afternoon: Coraline
    Sausalito Library
    Wednesday, October 1, 4 pm

    A young girl walks through a secret door and discovers an alternate, seemingly much better, version of her life. When her adventure turns dangerous, her counterfeit parents try to keep her forever and Coraline must use her resourcefulness and bravery to get back home. For ages 10–13. Location: 420 Litho Street, Sausalito in the Edgewater Room. For more info, call (415) 289-4121 or visit their website.
  • Not Afraid of the Dark Hike
    Old St. Hilary, Tiburon
    Friday, October 10, 6–7:30pm

    Halloween is coming but we’re not scared; come enjoy Old St. Hilary’s at night! Join Ranger Felicity Hartnett for a short one-mile hike at sunset with beautiful views of San Francisco. This hike is ideal for young adventurers and their families as an introduction to night hiking. Dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring a flashlight or headlamp. RSVP’s are appreciated but not required at FHartnett@marincounty.org. Meet at the gate at the end of Lyford Drive in Tiburon. For more info, visit their website.
  • Harvest Celebration
    Slide Ranch, Muir Beach
    Saturday, October 11, 10 am–4 pm

    Celebrate the season of bounty with Slide Ranch. Family activities: scare crow workshop, coastal hikes, goat milking, seed harvesting, cob oven bakeshop, wool crafts, cotton spinning and a beekeeping workshop with the Planet Bee Foundation. Featuring live bluegrass, acoustic jamming, Sophie Rox and Donna's Tamales! Fun for all ages is guaranteed. Tickets are $30 per person and children 24 months and under are free! For more info, visit their website.

Sopa de Albondigas - Mexican Meatball Soup

September 29, 2014

sopa de albondigas - Mexican meatball soupWith fall here and the evenings getting cooler, it's time to make some delicious comfort food for dinner. This classic Mexican soup features little meatballs cooked in broth with tons of fresh vegetables. It's tasty and healthy, too!

For this version, I added green beans and chunks of summer squash to complement the usual carrots and potatoes. One of the great things about this dish is that you can vary the vegetables depending on what's available or what your family likes. Cabbage, kale, corn, and peas would all be welcome in the pot.

We used lean ground beef for the meatballs, but you can use half beef and half ground pork, ground turkey, or even chicken. My kids love to get involved and help make the meatballs, too.

The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Farm in Petaluma

September 29, 2014

Great Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Cheese in PetalumaOne 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 eight 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.

Peter Pumpkin Patch has plenty of pumpkins—you'll find a vast field of on-the-vine pick-it-yourself pumpkins as well as pre-picked specimens, too. This year, farmer Larry Peter expanded the scope of the pumpkin patch and mixed things up by planting gourds, turban squash, and several different varieties of pumpkin out in the field. Wander through and you never know what you'll stumble upon. It's kind of like a squash and gourd treasure hunt!

Recycle Your Electronics for Free at the GreenCitizen Eco-Center in San Rafael

September 28, 2014

Green Citizen San RafaelIf you were wondering what to do with all those old obsolete electronic devices, look no further—Marin County now has a full-time place for e-waste recycling! GreenCitizen recently opened its first location in at 777 Grand Ave in San Rafael. This new Eco-Center provides a place for Marin residents and businesses to recycle their old electronics for free and learn about e-waste recycling. The center is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm all year long.

GreenCitizen decided to open its San Rafael center after seeing many Marin County residents recycle at its Eco-Centers in Berkeley and downtown San Francisco. While new to Marin, GreenCitizen has helped over 250,000 residents recycle their electronics and performed over 20,000 e-waste pick-ups from businesses since it opened nine years ago.

GreenCitizen tries to extend the lifetime of the electronics that come through its doors, and 30% of the items recycled there are fixed up so they can be reused. What cannot be reused is responsibly recycled within 150 miles of San Francisco.

Our Favorite Halloween Books for Kids

September 27, 2014

Halloween NightFall is here, and what is a better way to celebrate its arrival than with a good book? My kids and I love to go to the library and pick out some great Halloween children's books to read together, and fall is definitely one of our favorite times of year.

Here are some of our favorites that we've enjoyed over the years. All of these books should be available at public libraries throughot Marin. You can look to see if your local library has these titles available at marinlibrary.org.

Babies & Toddlers

Peek-a-Who by Nina Laden: Little ones love to play peek-a-boo and guess who's hiding in the pages of this fun board book, which includes an owl, a ghost, and a mirror.

Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino: This Halloween version of the traditional counting rhyme features bold and colorful illustrations that little ones will love.

Marin Family Weekend Fun for September 26, 27 & 28

September 26, 2014
Pumpkin Patch
Get a head start on fall at some of our favorite pumpkin patches opening this weekend!

Here are our other 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, September 26

  • Petaluma Pumpkin Patch
    550 Stony Point Road
    Friday & Saturday, 10 am–10 pm and Sunday, 10 am–6pm
    This is the opening weekend for the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch. Over 50 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds, as well as a 4-acre Amazing Corn Maze (admission $5, 5 and under free; $9 on Friday and Saturday nights 6–10 pm), farm animals, a zip line, weekend pony rides, face painting, jumpy houses and inflatables, food vendors, covered snack area, and more. For more info, visit their website.
  • Parents Night Out
    Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
    Friday, 5–9 pm

    Drop off the kids and enjoy a night out! While you relax, the kids will be having fun with the Marinwood Camp staff this Saturday evening. This event often sells out—register early! For ages 3–10. Cost: $22; $4 sibling discount. For more info, visit their website.
  • Seals & Slippers: Sleep under the Stars
    The Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito
    Friday, 6 pm to Saturday 10 am

    The sleepover is aimed at children ages 6–12. The overnight stay includes eating feeding season with the seals, guided hike around Rodeo Lagoon, dinner, dessert, and continental breakfast. Cost: $85 per person. Register by contacting Kristin Ku at KuK@TMMC.org or (415) 289-7330. For more info about the sleepover, visit their website.
  • Film Night in the Park: The LEGO Movie
    Creek Park, San Anselmo
    Saturday, 8 pm

    This Friday's movie is The LEGO Movie (PG). Arrive by 8 pm—films begin at dusk. Popcorn, candy, and sodas will be sold. Bring blankets, pillows, backrests, and low chairs. Film Night suggests leaving pets at home. Donations are appreciated. Creek Park is located in San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, September 27

  • Weekend Along Farm Trails
    Sonoma County
    Saturday & Sunday
    This Saturday and Sunday dozens of Farm Trails members are opening up their barnyard gates to give you a sneak preview of life on the farm. Several Farm Trails member businesses are also offering discounts and specials for visitors this weekend. Register for free and you'll get a map and the itinerary. This is an unique opportunity to meet your farmers and producers on their treasured turf and learn how your food is grown and produced. Offerings include tours, demonstrations, classes, samples, meals, hayrides, animal petting and feeding, to name a few. Plus, picnic spots abound. For more info and to register, visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    This weekend, Kids Love to Cook! DirectionFive will be joining the Marin Country Mart Farmers' Market for a cooking demonstration and tasting with hands-on participation with children of all ages from 10:30–11:30 am. Enjoy the best local and organic produce and more at this fantastic farmers market. Kids can take a pony ride and visit the petting zoo (10 am–2 pm), crafts by SCRAP, and children's entertainment (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • Peter Pumpkin Patch
    Spring Hill Jersey Farm, Petaluma
    Saturday & Sunday, 9 am–6 pm

    Pick your own organic pumpkin, dig for potatoes, take a tractor ride, visit farm animals, taste homemade ice cream and Spring Hill cheese, milk a cow, and get lost in the hay maze. Peter Pumpkin Patch also ofers fresh fruits and vegetables and picnic baskets. Free parking. This is a wonderful and fun pumpkin patch on a real working farm. Location: 4235 Spring Hill Road (off Bodega Ave.). For more info, call (707) 762-3446 or visit their Facebook page.
  • Blackie's Hay Day 
    Blackie's Pasture, Tiburon
    Saturday, 9 am–4 pm

    Blackie's Hay Day has become a community tradition that children look forward to every year. Designed for children of all ages, Blackie's Hay Day is reminiscent of an old fashioned country fair with pony rides, relay races, toy tractors, jumpies, a climbing wall, live entertainment, food trucks, and more. General admission $10. Activity tickets $1 each. Children under 2 free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Museum Day Live! at the Bay Area Discovery Museum
    Fort Baker, Sausalito
    Saturday, 9 am–5 pm

    The Bay Area Discovery Museum is participating in the Smithsonian's Museum Day Live! On Saturday, the museum will grant free admission to Museum Day pass holders. To obtain a free pass, visit here. Location: 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito. For more info, call (415) 339-3900 or visit their website.
  • Garden Pizza Party! Family Campout
    Slide Ranch, Muir Beach
    Saturday 10 am–Sunday 1 pm

    Celebrate this international day of cleaning waterways and the ocean with family-friendly ocean themed activities. Special overnight programs featuring camping in a spectacular coastal meadow. Activities include crafts and nature exploration, farm fun, a family potluck dinner, a campfire under the stars, and much more. The Slide Ranch overnight camping trip is an educational, unique, fun, and hassle-free way to camp for the whole family! Cost: Fee: $75 per person; age 2 and under free. Register here. For more info, call (415) 381-6155 or visit their website.
  • Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival & Kids Carnival
    Sonoma Plaza on the Square
    Saturday 10 am–8 pm
    & Sunday, 10 am–4 pm
    The Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival is Sonoma Valley’s annual tradition of celebrating the harvest of wine grapes and the yearly crush. California’s oldest festival, this Sonoma tradition is held on the historic town square and is fun for all ages. Festivities include Opening Night Gala, blessing of the grapes, reenactment of the Bear Flag Revolt, firefighters' water fight, family grape stomp, parade, kids carnival, tiny tacks race and 5k run/walk. For more info, visit their website.

Celebrate Fall in Tiburon with Blackie's Hay Day

September 26, 2014

Blackie's Hay DayBring your family to come celebrate fall this Saturday, September 27, from 9 am to 4 pm at Blackie's Hay Day. This annual fundraiser and community tradition is reminiscent of an old-fashioned country fair and helps raise money for children's and youth programs at the Belvedere-Tiburon Library.

Blackie's Hay Day takes place, naturally, at Blackie's Pasture, which is located off Tiburon Boulevard near Trestle Glen. Blackie's Pasture is named after Blackie, a swaybacked horse who stood in the pasture for nearly 30 years and became a Tiburon mascot, after stints in the rodeo and the US cavalry.

The family fun on Blackie's Hay Day will include pony rides, a petting zoo, a rock climbing wall, jumpies, face painting, a spa tent carnival games, a train ride, and more. The event will also include live musical entertainment, including by Doc Kraft & Company, the Wronglers, and others.

Syndicate content