Children’s Museum of Sonoma County Opening Soon

March 27, 2014

Children's Museum of Sonoma CountyMarin Mommies presents a guest article from Marin mom Michelle Carpenter, who recently had a chance to get a sneak peek at the soon-to-open Children's Museum of Sonoma County in Santa Rosa.

I came away giddy from a “sneak peek” at Children's Museum of Sonoma County, which is in the final stages of construction on Phase I and on schedule to be open March 29 on weekends only through end of May. In June, it will open six days a week.

I couldn’t believe that this Marin parent of five, who works in the science industry, and who is on a constant quest for learning opportunities as well as birthday sites had heard nothing about this fabulous endeavor. We are all in for a treat!

Marin Weekend Family Fun for March 28, 29 & 30

March 26, 2014

Ring moumtainHere 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, March 28

  • Biodiversity Festival
    Crissy Field, East Beach
    Friday, 9 am–5 pm & Saturday, 9 am–4 pm

    This family-friendly festival features science demonstrations and exhibits, live animals, hands-on activities, National Geographic-led photography workshops, food, entertainment, and art. Explorers of all ages can enjoy the festival and “graduate” from Biodiversity University by participating in activities. Enjoy music by the Banana Slug String Band, live animal demonstrations, science rappers, storytellers, and more. Free. 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 or (415) 289-7330. For more info about the sleepover, visit their website.
  • Performing Arts Academy of Marin Presents The Wizard of Oz
    Showcase Theatre, Marin Center
    Friday and Saturday, 7:30 pm & Sunday, 1 pm

    In this unique and colorful fantasy, Dorothy is swept away to a magical land! Follow the Yellow Brick Road as she embarks on a quest with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion to find the Wizard of Oz who can help her return home. This musical production features performers ages 9 and up. Tickets: $20 Adults, $16 seniors 65+ and children 12 and under. To purchase tickets, visit their website.

Saturday, March 29

  • 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.
  • Spring Fling at Moscone Recreation Center
    San Francisco
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    This Annual Spring Carnival takes place rain or shine! Egg coloring, jumpy castles, egg hunt, cookie decorating, arts and crafts, and more! Fun for all ages! Location: 1800 Chestnut St, San Francisco. For more info, call (415) 292-2046 or visit their website.
  • Biodiversity Family Farm Day
    Slide Ranch, Muir Beach
    Saturday 10 am–2 pm

    Here at the farm, experience hands on activities that show how biodiversity is important for growing food sustainably. Explore Slide Ranch’s amazing natural resources, varied habitats and diverse species. Fee: $30 per person; age 2 and under free Discounts apply for families of 4 or more. Register here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Spring Kids Concert Series: The Bug Family Band
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday, 11 am

    The Bug Family Band plays tunes that get kids and former kids dancing, laughing, and maybe even thinking. Their shows feature rockin’ original songs along with sing-along favorites like the Sesame Street classic Ladybug Picnic, which inspired the Band’s name. Members $5, general $16 (Includes museum admission). Purchase tickets here. Location: 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito. For more info, call (415) 339-3900 or visit their website.
  • Radio Disney Road Crew Celebrates Muppets Most Wanted
    Strawberry Village Shopping Center, Mill Valley
    Saturday, noon–1:30 pm

    Strawberry Village and the Radio Disney Road Crew celebrate Muppets Most Wanted! One free movie pass to the first 50 kids ages 3–11. Free Muppet-themed games, arts and crafts, and prizes, plus the Marin FLAGship Mobile Learning Center will be on hand for storytelling and a Books-for-Tots Drive. Bring a new or gently used book for children. For more information, visit their website.
  • Coastal Camp Open House
    NatureBridge at Golden Gate, Fort Cronkhite
    Saturday, noon–3 pm

    Come learn more about the upcoming 2014 Coastal Camp season. Meet staff, participate in a family hike, and touch the tidepool creatures in the marine lab. Free.  Location: 1033 Fort Cronkhite, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • Stapleton Ballet Presents Peter and The Wolf & Repertory Works
    The Playhouse in San Anselmo
    Saturday & Sunday, 1 pm and 5 pm

    This year's program will pair the story ballet Peter and the Wolf with repertory works. Peter and the Wolf will captivate audiences of all ages as Stapleton Ballet Pre Junior and Junior Company dancers reenact the classic tale, written and composed by Sergei Prokofiev and with narration by Sean Connery. Tickets: $20 general, $14 students/seniors 65+. Location: 27 Kensington Road, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • The Wizard School Scavenger Hunt
    Legion of Honor Museum, San Francisco
    Saturday, 2 pm

    Follow in the footsteps of young wizards on a field trip to the Legion of Honor, in search of art that echoes characters, places, and enchanted objects in the Harry Potter books and movies. Be prepared to track down serpents, swords, Dumbledore look-alikes, and eerie figures as scary as any Death Eater or Dementor. Recommended for ages 10 and up. Cost: $16–$19. To purchase tickets or for more info, visit their website.
  • Free Family Concert: Mozart to Madonna
    Randall Museum, San Francisco
    Saturday, 2 & 3:30 pm

    The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra offers this 45-minute introduction to classical music with Squid, Inc. Rock ‘n’ roll meets classical with this dynamic ensemble, who offer original tunes and arrangements of everything from Lady Gaga to Britney Spears, with a little Beethoven and Mozart thrown in. Free; seating is first-come, first-served, and doors open 30 minutes before concert time. Location: 199 Museum Way, San Francisco. For more info, call (415) 692-3367 or visit their website.

A New Salon for Kids in Marin: Purple Monkey Hair in Tiburon

March 25, 2014

Purple Monkey Hair TiburonGetting the little ones' hair cut can often be a trying experience, so a special salon dedicated to kids is always great to find. Southern Marin now has Purple Monkey Hair, a kids' salon located in the Boardwalk Shopping Center in Tiburon.

Opened by Marin mom Megan Marietti Heller, Purple Monkey Hair offers haircuts for kids (and the whole family, for that matter) using high quality natural hair care products. The salon is equipped to keep everyone entertained, with infant toys and even iPads loaded with movies and apps. Watch Frozen while getting your hair styled like one of the characters from the movie! There's even a custom shampoo table designed for relaxation—you can watch movies or photos on the screen above you while you get your hair washed.

Kids' haircuts cost $30 and include a shampoo, cut, blow-dry, style, and even extras like braids, sparkles, or colored gel! Each haircut includes an organic lollipop or other small prize and a photo. Other services, including adults' haircuts, teen cuts, and swimmers' detoxifying treatments are offered as well. Purple Monkey Hair is an official sponsor of the non-profit Locks of Love (which provides hairpieces for children with long-term medical hair loss), and offers a free haircut with a hair donation of at least 10 inches.

Spring is in Bloom at the Japanese Tea Garden

March 25, 2014

Japanese Tea GardenSan Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden is a favorite spot for tourists in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, but it's also a great spot for local families. I've been visiting since I was a small child, and I've made sure that I introduced it to my children, too. Before I took them there, I had forgotten how magical this place is.

It's especially worth a visit at this time of year when the sakura, or flowering cherry trees, and azaleas are in full bloom. It's a magnificent and colorful spring sight that's really worth the effort to see. The kids love to explore the grounds and get some tea and a Japanese snack at the tea room.

The Japanese Tea Garden is lush and tranquil with all its spring flowers blossoming, and even with the many tourists roaming around it still had the feeling of being a peaceful retreat from the bustle outside. We always try to make it a point to visit every time we're in Golden Gate Park, no matter what the time of year.

Rainy Day Drop-in Activities for the Little Ones for Marin & North Bay

March 24, 2014

Indoor playWith children bouncing off the walls at home on a rainy or cold day, I’m always looking for places to go to get them out of the house and burn off all that extra energy. Here are a few ideas for fun rainy day drop-in activites in Marin County and beyond:


  • Pavilion Playgroup in Fairfax offers drop-in indoor play for ages 0–5 years Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9:30 am–12:30 pm. Bring the little ones for some indoor playtime during the rainy season and meet other moms at this drop-in play. Come play with toys, scooters, soft blocks, and more. November through April based on weather. Cost: $6 per child per visit or $50 for a 10 visit punch card and babies under 8 months are free. For more info, visit their website.

Mill Valley

  • The Mill Valley Community Center Jump Indoor Playday 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. The Mill Valley Community Center is located at 180 Camino Alto. For more info, call (415) 383-1370 or visit their website.


  • Cal Star Gymnastics Indoor Power Play offers drop-in fun for ages 5 years and under on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:30–11:30 am and Saturday and Sunday from 9–10:30 am. Participants can run, jump and play in an open gymnastics environment. Bring the kids in on a rainy day to burn some energy. The cost is $13 per child and $115 for a 10-visit saver card. Cal Star Gymnastics, 70 Digital Drive, Suite #3 in Novato. They will be closed Feb. 17-20. For more info, visit their website.

A Family That Eats Together: Shaking Beef

March 24, 2014

shaking beefMarin Mommies presents this week's guest recipe from Nicole Cibellis, Marin mom and author of the blog A Family that Eats Together, where she shares meal plans and recipes that will please foodies and children alike.

Charles Phan of the Slanted Door made Shaking Beef famous. Its succulent sauce, a perfect salty/sweet combination, is tossed with filet mignon. It might be one of my all time favorite dishes to eat at his restaurant and to make at home. You won’t believe how simple it is to make and your family will go crazy for it! Serve with rice.

Serves: 4
Prep time:
10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes


  • 1½ pounds filet mignon or top sirloin, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 ½ tablespoons sugar

Volunteer to Help End Hunger and Food Waste in Marin with

March 23, 2014

Kerry volunteer at ExtraFood.orgLooking for a fantastic volunteer opportunity that helps feed those in need and reduces food waste in Marin? Become a volunteer food runner for! is a local nonprofit dedicated to helping end hunger and reduce food waste in Marin County. Volunteers pick up extra fresh food from Marin organizations and businesses, like grocery stores, restaurants, congregations, events, and caterers, and deliver it immediately to nonprofit programs that serve the hungry.'s services are free of charge. It's food rescue with "the human touch".

If you're interested, consider joining in to help the 30,000 residents of Marin who don't have access to a secure food supply, and in reducing the millions of pounds of food waste that go into Marin's landfills each year. You can do pickups and deliveries when and where it's convenient for you, or volunteer in other ways. (Pictured in the photo is volunteer and Marin mom Kerry McIntosh with some of the food delivery bags and ice packs used by food runners.)

Splash, Play, and Learn at the Rolling Hills Club Summer Camps

March 22, 2014

Rolling Hills Club Summer CampStill looking for a fun camp for your kids this summer? Novato's Rolling Hills Club has been a favorite spot for summer fun for many Marin families for decades, and this season the club offers a full program of exciting and active summer camps for kids ranging in age from 3 to 13.

Nestled at the foot of Mt. Burdell, the club's seven-acre campus features two outdoor swimming pools, 12 tennis courts, two racquetball courts, an outdoor sports court, an outdoor playground, grassy fields for outdoor play, and more—making it the ideal place for the perfect summer experience.

Summer camps at Rolling Hills Club for 2014 include:

  • Sports & Splash Camp for ages 5–12, features fun weekly themes like "Time Traveler", "Animal Planet", "Wild Wild West", "Ancient Egypt", and "Willy Wonka". Campers will be divided by age into Rookies (5), All Stars (ages 6 and 7), and Pros (ages 8 and 9), and will play basketball, tennis, soccer, and wild and wacky games. Of course swimming, in the form of free swim or group lessons, is offered every day, too. Weekly sessions run from June 16–August 15, Monday–Friday, 9 am–4 pm. $270 members/$320 guests per week, or $60/$70per day for drop-in.
  • Junior Sports & Splash Camp is for kids ages 2–5 and features the same themes as the the version for older children. Campers will participate in games, activities, art projects and more. Snacks will be provided, and junior campers will not participate in swimming. Campers must be potty trained to participate. Junior Sports & Splash Camp takes place Tuesdays and Thursdays June 17–August 14 from 9 am–1 pm. $40 members/$50 guests per day

Six Spectacular Spring Hikes for Families in Marin

March 20, 2014

Ring Mountain WildflowersSpring in California is spectacular, with an abundance of wildflowers, waterfalls (provided it rains), and wildlife. Before the summer heat bakes the new hillside green grass brown, get the family out on the trail at one of these great Marin hiking spots.

These hikes are perfect for a family outing at almost any time of year, but are especially nice during the spring. All the trails mentioned here are easy enough for everyone in the family to tackle, too

Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve near Tiburon is home to spring wildflowers and spectacular views of San Francisco Bay and Mt. Tam. The trails here are great for kids of all ages and even offroad strollers. Best of all, it's located right near Tiburon and Corte Madera.

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