Lights, Camera, Fair! at the 2016 Sonoma County Fair

July 18, 2016

Sonoma County Fair carnival

In case you missed or just didn't get enough of the Marin County Fair, you'll be happy to know that the 2016 Sonoma County Fair starts Friday, July 22 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, and runs through Sunday, August 7. It's worth checking out if you've never been: it's bigger and a lot different than Marin's smaller, more intimate fair, and has more of an agricultural focus, which is natural for a more rural county like Sonoma. The Sonoma County Fair also features the largest themed flower show in the country, which is usually pretty stunning—this year's theme is "Sonoma Cinema".

The fair includes a kids' area with free age-appropriate entertainment and activities with the theme "Let's Put on a Show!" Young fairgoers can take part in a show three times a day, which might feature pirates, clowns, astronauts, or even dinosaurs. There’s plenty of lawn and shade as well as a parents rest station with changing tables and chairs for nursing. The Kids Area is open from 11 am to 8 pm, with activities and entertainment from noon to 6:30 pm.

Quills Creative Writing Camp at San Domenico School

July 17, 2016

Quills Creative Writing Camp Marin Mommies presents a sponsored shout-out from Quills Creative Writing Camp at San Domenico School in San Anselmo.

Quills Creative Writing Camp started 4 years ago when Elizabeth Stoner, a Marin native, UC Berkeley alum, and educator, decided that summer camp needed to diversify.

After years of running successfully positive volleyball camps that produced happy, improved, and engaged athletes, Elizabeth wanted to provide similar results for an underserved group: the young writer. As a creative writer herself and imaginative child, she found that sometimes school didn't allow the space for unencumbered creativity and wanted to provide the platform for young writers to not only explore their own creativity, but to improve upon it.

Wine Country Family Fun at Cornerstone Sonoma

July 16, 2016

Cornerstone Sonoma

One of our must-visit Wine Country family destinations is Cornerstone Sonoma. It's a fun, family-friendly place where you can explore, play, and take in the beauty of their six acres of gardens and art installations. Of course this being Sonoma 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.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for July 15, 16 & 17

July 15, 2016

Diego's Umbrella at Summer Nights Marin Osher JCC
Diego's Umbrella performs Gypsy rock at the Osher Marin JCC's Summer Nights concert series 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, July 15

  • Flower Piano
    San Francisco Botanical Garden
    Friday–Sunday, 7:30 am–6 pm

    Visitors are encouraged to seek out the twelve pianos tucked among the many flower-filled gardens within the Garden's 55 acres and play what they like, from chopsticks to Tchaikovsky. On weekend days, professional pianists and a whole host of other musicians will be scheduled to perform as well, and the public is welcome to watch and listen. Free after admission. Location: 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Children's Garden Series: Pi Clowns
    Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
    Friday, 11 am & 12:15 pm

    This free event is part of the Children's Garden Series at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. Silliness is very serious business for the Pi Clowns. A company dedicated to knock-about physical comedy, these performers don’t tell jokes. They embody them with robust and timeless antics. Blending mime, theater, acrobatics, juggling, and improvisation, the Pi Clowns deliver delightful and original clown vignettes. This show will takea place the Children's Garden. For more info, visit their website.
  • Circuit Craze
    South Novato Library
    Friday, 3–4 pm

    Come join us for a morning of simple science learning and fun for the whole family! We’ll have fun making simple circuit art projects together. Best for children of all abilities ages 4-10 with caregivers. Location: 931 C Street, Novato. For more info, call
    415-506-3165 or visit their website.
  • Friday Nights at the de Young
    de Young Museum, San Francisco
    Friday, 5–8:45 pm

    Friday Nights at the de Young are after-hours art happenings that include a mix of live music, dance and theater performances, film screenings, panel discussions, lectures, artist demonstrations, hands-on art activities, and exhibition tours. The café offers a delicious prix-fixe menu and specialty cocktails, and the Hamon Tower observation level is open until 8 pm. This Friday, Getting There: Celebrating Ed Ruscha and the Great American West. For more info, visit their website.
  • Fantastical Family Night
    Jack London State Park, Glen Ellen
    Friday & Saturday, 5:30 pm
    J
    oin us for everyone's favorite annual night of magic and fun. This inspirational evening of dream-living will be filled with Broadway, Disney and everything in between. Featuring special performances by the kids of Transcendence Kids Camp, pre-show adventures, and more. Bring a picnic before the performance. Puchase tickets here. Location: 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. For more info, visit their website.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Jazz & Blues by the Bay at Gabrielson Park in Sausalito is a free event. Lawn seating available (first-come first-served). This Friday: Gator Nation Band, Zydeco. For more info, call (415) 289-4100 or visit their website.
  • Tam Valley's Creekside Fridays
    Tennessee Valley Cabin, Mill Valley
    Friday, 6:30–8 pm

    Bring the family, pets, chairs, and blankets to the weekly free musical event. This Friday, Dedicated Maniacs will be performing. Food available for purchase. For more info, call (415) 289-4152 or visit their website.

Saturday, July 16

  • 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. Location: 1 Zoo Road, San Francisco. For more info, call (415) 753-7080 or visit their website.
  • Civil War Days
    Casini Ranch Family Campground, Duncans Mills
    Satuday, 9 am–5 pm and Sunday, 9 am–3 pm

    Come and experience Civil War living history in the Sonoma County town of Duncans Mills. Interact with soldiers and civilans and see battles, period demonstrations, and even a speech by President Lincoln. Admission is $12 for adults, $6 for juniors 6–12, and free for kids 5 and under. Parking is $5 per car. For more info, visit their website.
  • Teddy Bear Tea with Friends!
    Oakland Zoo
    Saturday, 9:30 am–noon

    Bring the kiddos (ages 4-8), adult and your stuffie, and learn all about one of our Zoo’s special animals. Enjoy a morning of snacks, activities, books and play while making and delivering an enrichment gift straight to the zoo animal you’ve been learning about. When the fun is done, your child will receive a surprise-filled treat bag to take home. Cost: $23 member childfren, $26 non-members; $12 member adults, $15 non-members. Parking Fee: $8 non-members, free for members. Registration required here. For more info, visit their website.
  • 36th Annual Big Time Festival
    Bear Valley Visitor Center, Point Reyes
    Saturday, 10 am–4 pm

    This free family event celebrates traditional Native American festivals that would bring together local tribes during the summer months. Throughout the day demonstrators will exhibit their skills in basketry, flint knapping, clamshell bead making, and more. Traditional dancers from the Intertribal Pomo group and Dry Creek Pomo will also perform a variety of traditional dances. Vendors will also be selling a wide variety of crafts. This free event is great for the whole family. For more info, visit their website.
  • Petaluma Rivertown Revival
    Steamer Landing Park, Petaluma
    Saturday, 11 am–8 pm

    This is a unique, arts-based thematic festival that sustainably highlights and celebrates the Petaluma River, benefitting the Friends of the Petaluma River. This community festival includes over 100 musicians, an art boat flotilla, art boat drag races, aerial acts on the river, artisan merchants, $5 weddings, local food vendors, theatrical performances, and children's activities. Cost: $10 adults, $5 children. For more info, visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: Build Your Bridge
    Presidio Officers Club, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–4 pm

    Drop in for imaginative craft-making based on the Presidio’s natural and cultural heritage. Featuring different crafts every weekend! Do you know the length of the Golden Gate Bridge? Come learn the answer and other fun bridge facts as you design your very own San Francisco bridge Registration not required, but preferred. Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, Presidio of San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • The Breastfest Beer Festival
    Marin Center, San Rafael
    Saturday, noon–4 pm
    60 breweries, local food purveyors and Bay Area musicians join together to help women gain access to alternative means of cancer therapy. Attendees get endless eats, bottomless cups, and live music. Proceeds will benefit low-income women with breast cancer. $55 advance, $65 at the door. For more info, visit their website.
  • Water Safety Day
    Mill Valley Recreation
    Saturday, 12:30–5 pm

    Water Safety Day is a family event filled with both fun and safety information. Enjoy free admission to the pool from 12:30 to 5 pm. Activities and demonstrations take place from 2 to 5 pm and include lifeguard demos, airbrush tattoos, coloring, a bounce house, water games, a kids' nail salon, music, a raffle, and lifejacket fittings. In addtion, firefighters from the Southern Marin Fire Protection Disctrict will present a water rescue demonstration from 2 to 4 pm. Come prepared with your water safety-related questions! Location: 1Water Safety Day is a family event filled with both fun and safety information. Location: 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley.
  • Disney's The Little Mermaid
    Berkeley Playhouse
    Saturday, 1 & 6 pm, Sunday, noon & 5 pm

    Ariel has always dreamed of leaving her underwater kingdom to see what lies beyond the sea. When she falls in love with a handsome prince who lives on land, she's willing to give up everything to be with him. Based on the Hans Christian Andersen story and the Disney film. Tickets: $23–$60. Location: 2640 College Avenue, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.

Eight Spectacular Stroller Hikes in Marin

July 14, 2016

Stroller hike in MarinJust because your kids are too small to go on a hike doesn't mean you can't! Fortunately for outdoor-minded parents of babies and toddlers Marin County has many outdoor destinations that are perfectly suitable for a hike with your stroller.

When my kids were little, my husband and I must have racked up thousands of miles on our trusty Kelty jogging stroller, which we used on sidewalks, paths, and unpaved trails.

Many of these hikes are over paved trails, so they're suitable for just about any kind of stroller. Just because they are on more civilized paved surfaces doesn't mean they aren't in some of the most spectacular outdoors areas of Marin, so make sure you check them out.

  • Muir Woods National Monument near Mill Valley features majestic old-growth redwoods and has been one of Marin's top tourist attractions for over a century. Stop by during the week to avoid the crowds and take in the wonder of it all in relative peace and quiet. Take your stroller on the main trail loop through Cathedral Grove, it's paved or on a wooden boardwalk the entire way.

Three Nutrition Tips to Getting Back Your Body After Baby

July 13, 2016

Marin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin personal trainer and nutritionist Gina Parenzan.

Drink Lots of Water

Listen to your thirst; it’s there for a reason! Often signs of hunger are mistaken for dehydration. Before grabbing a food snack, try downing a glass of water. Water will fill your stomach and ease those hunger signals. It is essential for keeping the body hydrated and will reduce water retention. The general recommended daily amount is 64 ounces, so don't be afraid to drink up!

Mild to moderate dehydration can include these signs:

Ross Valley Players Present Robin Hood at the Barn Theatre

July 13, 2016

Robin Hood Ross Valley PlayersThis weekend, Ross Valley Players presents its production of the family favorite Robin Hood by Ivey Award-winner Greg Banks. This classic tale of good versus evil follows the legend of Robin Hood and his merry band, who rob from the rich and dishonest to give to the poor. This story of resiliency, compassion and heroism is told with an easygoing and humorous twist that both children and adults will love. Robin Hood begins with a preview this Thursday, July 14 and runs through Sunday, August 14. Opening night is Friday, July 15 at 8 pm.

Robin Hood and his merry band of underground heroes rally to support those who cannot fight for themselves. But when they run afoul of the greedy Prince John, the deceptive Sheriff of Nottingham devises an elaborate plot to discover Robin’s hideout and capture him once and for all. Full of swordfights and wordplay, this modern take on the classic story is a high-powered, action-packed, fun adventure. Robin Hood is directed by Cris Cassell, and features cast members Nicholas Schwager (Robin Hood), Cory Anderson (Little John, Soldier), Pablo Hamlin (Prince John, Will, Friar Tuck), Izaak Heath (Sheriff of Nottingham), and Ariana Mahallati (Maid Marian, Much).

Water Safety Day at Mill Valley Community Center

July 11, 2016

Did you know that drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1 to 4? Lean how to be safe this Saturday, July 16 from 12:30 to 5 pm at the Mill Valley Aquatic/Fitness Center. Water Safety Day is a family event filled with both fun and safety information.

Enjoy free admission to the pool from 12:30 to 5 pm. Activities and demonstrations take place from 2 to 5 pm and include lifeguard demos, airbrush tattoos, coloring, a bounce house, water games, a kids' nail salon, music, a raffle, and lifejacket fittings. In addtion, firefighters from the Southern Marin Fire Protection Disctrict will present a water rescue demonstration from 2 to 4 pm. Come prepared with your water safety-related questions!

Mill Valley Community Center is located at 180 Camino Alto in Mill Valley. For more information on Water Safety Day, call (415) 383-1370 or visit www.cityofmillvalley.org.

Hands-on Fun for Fall at Slide Ranch

July 11, 2016

slide ranch spring flingSlide Ranch is a wonderful place for everyone in the family. We tried out one of their family farm days in the past and my kids had a great time petting the sheep, planting seeds, milking a goat, and making nature crafts. They offer guided tours and lots of hands-on activities, including collecting eggs from chickens, planting seeds, sampling from their organic garden, learning to make crafts and food just like the early farmers, and exploring the nearby tide pools.

Slide Ranch is located off of Shoreline Highway in Muir Beach. Here is a list of their upcoming events for fall, 2016. Their programs do fill up quickly, especially popular ones like the fso you need to plan ahead if you are interested in participating. Register for programs online at www.slideranch.org.

Friday Night Slide

Come see what evenings are like at Slide Ranch. Enjoy a delicious catered dinner and then explore the ranch's nature trails and participate in family-friendly events in this evening program. Bring headlamps or flashlights. Activities offered will be for kids of all ages. Adults can BYOB. Cost: $60 per adult, $40 per child, including dinner; free for children 35 months under.

  • Friday, September 16, 5–8 pm: Owls
  • Friday, October 7, 5–8 pm: Creatures of the Night
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