Marin & Bay Area Earth Day Events 2016

April 15, 2016

Stinson Beach Earth DayEarth Day 2016 takes place on Friday, April 22. It’s a great time to celebrate and teach our children the importance of preserving our planet’s resources. Families will find plenty of ways to observe the occasion here in Marin County and the Bay Area, and we've created a list of local events that either celebrate Earth Day or help families learn about nature and the planet.

Fun Events for Earth Day

  • STEAM Saturday: Earth Day
    San Rafael Public Library
    Saturday, April 16, 11–11:45 am

    STEAM powered stories, rhymes, songs, crafts, experiments, and sensory experiences for preschool children ages 3–6 and their caregivers. Please wear comfy clothes that are OK to get messy! Register at the Children’s Reference Desk, or at (415) 485-3322. Location: 1100 E Street, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.

Shopper's Guide to Pesticides on your Fruits and Vegetables

April 14, 2016

2016 EWG Dirty Dozen and Clean 13I usually try to buy organic produce for my family because I'm very concerned about the dangers of pesticides used on fruits and vegetables. I recently read an article that discusses the dangers of pesticides and how they can adversely affect people, especially during periods of fetal development and childhood when exposures can have long lasting effects.

The scientists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) are concerned, too, and they tested for pesticides on fruits and vegetables collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For 2016, the EWG has categorized produce into either the "Dirty Dozen" or the "Clean 15"—the 12 fruits and vegetables (plus two extras) that you should always buy organic and the 15 with the lowest pesticide levels.

Some of the produce with the highest pesticide loads included family staples like strawberries, apples, celery, peaches, spinach, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Needless to say, you should always seek out the organic versions of these foods. It's a great argument for knowing where your food comes from and knowing your farmer.

See What UC Berkeley Has to Offer at Cal Day 2016

April 13, 2016

Cal Day 2016Take your family to UC Berkeley on Saturday, April 16, from 9 am to 5 pm to see all that the university has to offer at their annual Cal Day open house. Explore over 400 lectures, demonstrations, and tours taking place across campus, and learn about everything from architecture to zoology.

Learn about Cal spirit and traditions; listen to live music by the Cal Band and other performers; tour museums, like the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the Lawrence Hall of Science, and the Museum of Paleontology; and learn about science, engineering, technology, and more with hands-on fun. Prospective Cal students will also have a chance to learn about admissions, programs and resources at the university.

Easy Mountain Biking Trails for Families in Marin

April 12, 2016

Mountain biking in Marin at China Camp State Park

It goes without saying that mountain 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 healthy 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.

Head to Sonoma Valley for Wine Country Family Fun

April 12, 2016

Sonoma Plaza and Town Hall

Living in Marin, we're lucky to have Sonoma Valley and its world-famous Wine Country as a next-door neighbor. While many think of Sonoma Valley as a destination for wine tasting, spas, and other grown-up activities, it's also one of our favorite local places to go for family fun. There's so much for families to do here, from visiting historic sites to riding trains at Sonoma TrainTown that a single day trip doesn't do it justice.

To get your Sonoma day trip planning off to a great start, here are 10 of our favorite things to do in the Wine Country.

Have a Picnic and Play on the Sonoma Plaza

The historic Plaza is the very heart of the town of Sonoma, and it's the perfect place to spend a relaxing day in the shade. Pack lunch and bottle of wine, snag a picnic table, and hang out all day while the kids feed the ducks and put the playground through its paces. Buy your picnic supplies at local institutions like the Sonoma Cheese Factory and Basque Boulangerie, both located right across from the Plaza. Read more about it here.

Strawberry Shortcake Is a True Taste of Springtime

April 12, 2016

Strawberry ShortcakeOne of the best things about spring is knowing that you can get fresh, sweet, locally grown organic strawberries at the farmer's market or grocery store. To celebrate, we love to make this easy and delicious strawberry shortcake dessert. This simple combination of lightly sweet shortcake, fresh strawberries, and vanilla flavored whipped cream is a hit with just about everyone, and is suitable for every occasion, from a fancy Easter dinner to a kids' tea party.

These shortcakes are kind of like sweet (but not too sweet) buttermilk drop biscuits, and don't take very long to put together. If you're really in a hurry, you can use whipped cream from a can, but it doesn't take too much time or effort to make some fresh whipped cream with your electric mixer, and it tastes so much better, too.

You can make the shortcakes and whipped cream in advance and let diners assemble their own strawberry shortcake creations at the table, if you like. It's fun for both children and adults. Whipped cream keeps fine in the refrigerator for a few hours, and you can make it extra-thick and rich by putting it in a strainer over a bowl and letting some of the water drain out.

Marin County Farmers' Markets 2016

April 11, 2016

Spring has arrived, and that means it's time to head to your nearby farmers' market to buy fresh organic produce and other locally grown and produced goodies. Marin has some year-round farmers' markets, but the majority of them start up again in spring after going on hiatus in the fall. Here is a list of of year-round and opening dates for a variety of local farmer's markets throughtout Marin and the North Bay. Please note that not all dates and times are finalized, so make sure you check before you go.

Year-round Marin County farmers' markets:

  • Civic Center Farmers' Market in San Rafael takes place every Thursday and Sunday morning from 8 am–1 pm. They have lots of organically grown produce, breads, eggs, and fresh cut flowers. The Thursday farmer's market is located next the Civic Center duck pond and the Sunday one is located in the Civic Center parking lot.
  • Corte Madera Farmers' Market takes place every Wednesday from noon–5 pm. This farmers' market is located at the Corte Madera Town Center off Highway 101.
  • Fairfax Community Farmers' Market: Sundays, 10 am–2 pm in the Fairfax Library parking lot, 2097 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

Create a Marin Family Tradition at Pixie Park's Spring Fair

April 10, 2016

Pixie Park

Spring has sprung at the Marin Art and Garden Center and Pixie Park’s Spring Fair is about to bloom! In fact the Fair has blossomed at MAGC each year for the last 58 years making its occurrence almost a rite of spring. While many generations of Marinites have enjoyed the Spring Fair, you don’t have to be from Marin to soak in its nostalgia. Kids of all ages are welcome to step back in time and explore the Fair’s Candy Land, Autopia, and Tot Town. The fair also offers families rides on an old-time train, storytelling performances, and a petting farm. Admission is free so there is really no reason not to make Pixie Park’s Spring Fair a new family tradition.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for April 8, 9 & 10

April 8, 2016
Audubon Canyon Ranch
Take a guided nature hike at Audubon Canyon Ranch's Martin Griffin Preserve in Stinson Beach.

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 throughout the Bay Area in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, April 8

  • Breakfast with Enzo
    Sports Basement, San Francisco Presidio
    Friday, 10 & 11 am

    Enzo Garcia plays guitar, banjo, accordion, musical saw, Jew's harp, enzotar, appalachian dulcimer, slide flute, percussion and more. Recommended for children 7 and under. Drop in any time. Cost: $15 for one child & $10 per each additional child siblings under 7 months free For more info, call (415) 652-2474 or visit his website.
  • 15th Annual Tiburon International Film Festival
    Tiburon Playhouse
    Friday, 4 pm–Sunday

    Don't miss the 14th Annual Tiburon International Film Festival, a showcase for independent feature and short films from around the world.Check out a complete schedule of films here. Location: 40 Main Street, Downtown Tiburon. For more info, visit their website.
  • Mother-Son Dinner Dance
    Corte Madera Community Center
    Friday, 7–9 pm

    The annual Mother-Son Dinner Dance will be an "out of this world" cosmic celebration. It's a night of food, dancing, and fun. Tickets: $47. Location: 498 Tamalpais Avenue, Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • Guys and Dolls Jr.
    Marin Center Showcase Theater, San Rafael
    Friday, 7:30 pm & Saturday, 5 pm
    Good Shepherd Lutheran Schools Musical theater department present Guys and Dolls Jr. This show is performed by the incredible talents of GSLS 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students under the direction of Gretchen Simon. Considered by many to be the perfect musical comedy, Guys and Dolls follows Salvation Army crusaders and high rollers from the streets of Times Square to Havana and back again. Tickets: $25 adults, $15 students 8th grade and under. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, April 9

  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy the best local and organic produce, flowers, pastured meats, seafood, organic cheeses, yogurt and milk, breads, baked goods, pasta, confections, olive oil, and brunch and lunch offerings! Kids can take a pony ride and visit the petting zoo (10 am–2 pm), try out some arts and crafts (9 am–2 pm) and kid's storytelling, 9:30–10:30 am. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sausalito Spring City Wide Yard Sale
    MLK Parking Lot in Sausalito
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Come by and see what awesome items you might find. Admission is free. Over 80 different booths! Location: 610 Coloma Street, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • Kids Clothing Swap
    Tam Valley Community Center
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    TCSD presents a Spring Kids Clothing Swap—bring your newborn to age 8 gently worn clothing, seasonal items, Halloween costumes, hats, shoes, and accessories to swap. 2 grocery bags of items gets you free admission (without donations, admission is $10). All admissions can go home with 3 bags of items. Location: 203 Marin Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Uncle Gerry Family Concert
    San Geronimo Valley Community Center
    Saturday, 10 & 11:30 am

    Come and join in the fun with your little one! This family music concert benefits the SGVCC Summer Bridge Program. Family ticket for up to 4 people $25. Presented by Music Together of Marin. Location: 6350 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Geronimo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Spring Zen-a-thon
    Green Gulch Farm, Muir Beach
    Saturday, 10 am–2:30 pm

    Zen-a-thon is a fun day for all ages and a chance for parents to practice together with their children. Participate in many enriching activities, including time in the gardens, movement, kid-friendly mindfulness, and more. Zen-a-thon is also a fundraiser so you can look for sponsors (like a walk-a-thon) or you can just come and enjoy the day, donating as your means allow. Registration required. Location: 1601 Shoreline Highway, Muir Beach. For more info, visit their website.
  • Cardinalpalooza: Stanford Spring Sports Festival
    Stanford University, Palo Alto
    Saturday, 10 am
    Join seven Stanford teams for a full day of free Cardinal sports events. Admission is free to every event, so come out to campus, bring your tailgating or picnic gear, and stroll to your choice of event. Four food trucks will be available in PAC-12 Plaza outside Sunken Diamond from 11 am–2 pm offering a variety of food and beverages. There will be opportunities to meet student-athletes from the teams following each event and parking will be free all day. For more info, visit their website.
  • Explore Martin Griffin Preserve
    Stinson Beach
    Saturday, 10 am–4 pm

    Marin Griffin Preserve is now open to the public. Visitors are encouraged to hike over eight miles of fern-lined trails, discover ponds with newts and other aquatic life, enjoy a picnic under the redwoods and explore the bookstore, as well as take in views of the birds on Bolinas Lagoon. On weekends, volunteer ranch guide naturalists are on hand to lead hikes and answer questions about the history, stewardship and preservation of the Preserve. Suggested donation: $15 per person. For more info, visit their website.
  • Woolly Egg Ranch Spring Farm Tour
    Mill Valley
    Saturday, 10:30 am

    Tour Woolly Egg Ranch, Mill Valley's only working ranch, on their annual Spring Farm Tour and see baby animals, spring flowers, and more. Cost: $5 for kids (little ones free) and $7 for adults. Meet at the Tam Valley Community Center, 203 Marin Avenue, Mill Valley. For reservations and more info visit their website.
  • Jungle Book Bonanza
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday, 10 am–3 pm and Sunday, 11 am–3 pm

    It’s always a jungle inside the Zoo, but Saturday and Sunday, April 9 and 10 will be a Jungle Book bonanza in anticipation of the release of the Disney feature film.  Costumed characters Mowgli and Baloo will roam the grounds to greet visitors and pose for photos (Saturday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm).  Guests can also take pictures at an official Jungle Book backdrop near the Elinor Friend Playground!  On Sunday, we’ll be giving away passes to the April 12 screening at AMC Metreon, along with posters, bags and lots more movie swag.  Location: Sloat Blvd. @ The Great Hightway, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sheep Shearing Day
    Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park
    Saturday, 11 am–1 pm
    The annual Sheep Shearing Day will be held at the Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park on Adobe Road, Petaluma. This event demonstrates sheep shearing, wool carding and spinning. Fun for the whole family! Cost: $3 adults 17 and older, $2 children 6 to 16, free for 5 and under. For more info, visit their website.
  • Pixie Park Open House
    Marin Art & Garden Center, Ross
    Saturday, 10:30 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.
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