The Spectacular Christmas House at San Rafael's West End Nursery

November 6, 2016

West End Nursery Christmas House San Rafael

Traditionally, our first holiday outing in Marin is always to the famous Christmas House at West End Nursery in San Rafael. We checked out this season's edition yesterday during its opening weekend and, once again, it's a spectacular as ever. As a matter of fact, I think it might be the best version to date—it just keeps getting better every year.

Try Cross Country Skiing With the Family This Winter

November 5, 2016

cross country skiing

With more snow moving into the Sierras, it's time to start thinking about winter sports family fun in the mountains. While downhill skiing and snowboarding are synonymous with snow sports to many people, cross country skiing is a fun and low-key alternative to the lift lines. Cross country skiing is fun, easy to learn, and requires a minimum of equipment. Dress in warm active clothing, put on your boots and skis, grab your poles, and you're good to go!

We tried out cross country last winter, and had a great time. My kids picked it up right away—after 20 minutes on the practice loop they were off and hitting the trails. The whole family can join in, too—you can even get a jogging stroller on skis and pull your little one along, and many cross country trails allow dogs, too. An added bonus: cross country skiing is one of the best aerobic exercise activities you can do. It's a great way to get active and enjoy the beauty of the mountains in winter.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for November 4, 5 & 6

November 4, 2016

The Bay Area Science Festival 6th Annual Discovery Day is this Saturday at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

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, November 4

  • Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center
    San Francisco
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–9:30 pm

    Get ready to skate under the sun and stars along the beautiful waterfront at the largest outdoor rink in San Francisco. Admission: $11, $6 children 7 and under, skate rental $5. For more info, visit their website.
  • French Storytime (L'Heure du Conte)
    San Anselmo Library
    Friday, 11–11:30 am

    For children of all ages and their parent or caregiver. Talk, sing, read, and play together. Share books, stories, rhymes, music in French. No registration required. Parents/caregivers are expected to stay with children during all storytime sessions. Free. Location: 110 Tunstead Avenue, Council Chambers, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Friday Fun Days
    South Novato Library
    Friday, 3–4 pm

    Enjoy an afternoon of fun with the family at the South Novato Library. Whether it’s story, art, music or science, this drop-in program promises to be packed with fun! Location: 931 C St., Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Camp at the Point Bonita Y!
    Point Bonita YMCA, Sausalito
    Friday, 4 pm–Sunday, 1 pm

    Join the Point Bonita Y for our Family Camp Weekends, focused on getting outdoors and playing, learning, serving and working in our National Park. The weekend will offer activities for families to do together, kid-specific activities while parents get some time to themselves, and service projects to give back to and preserve our parks. All meals and accommodations provided. $275 per family. For more info, 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. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Family Movie Night: Zootopia
    Presidio Community YMCA, San Francisco
    Friday, 5:30–8:30 pm

    Bring the family for an evening of fun. There will be food trucks, popcorn, It's-It ice cream and more. Movie shorts start at 6:30 pm; feature film at 7 pm. Location: 1151 Gorgas Ave, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Movie Night: Zootopia
    Mathnasium of Mill Valley
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    Stop by Mathnasium on the first Friday of the month for movie night. Free pizza and soda will be served. Students, parents, and friends welecome. Location: 247 Shoreline Highway, Suite A3. For more info, visit their website.
  • Spaghetti Bingo
    Tam Valley Community Center
    Friday, 6:15 pm

    Bring the family for a night of fun-bingo and dinner. Doors open at 6:15 pm and bingo starts at 6:45 pm. Dinner includes a 3-course spaghetti dinner and dessert. Cost:
    $8/person includes dinner & bingo. Arrive early because event does sell out. Location: 203 Marin Avenue. For more info, visit their website.
  • Disney's High School Musical
    142 Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley
    Friday, 7:30 pm (doors open at 7 pm)

    Throckmorton Youth Performers opens their new season with Disney’s High School Musical!  Perfect for the entire family. Tickets: general $20, students $15 and reserved $35. Purchase tickets here. Location: 142 Throckmorton Ave., Downtonw Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, November 5

  • 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.
  • Free Yoga at Old Mill Park
    Mill Valley
    Saturday, 9–10 am

    The Mill Valley Recreation Department is offering a free Hatha flow yoga class the first Saturday of the month at Old Mill Amphitheater. Prepare to sweat, breathe, align and stretch in this fun, unique environment. Designed for students of all levels, this class will be held in all weather conditions except severe rain. Bring a mat, water bottle and comfortable clothing. Meet at the Old Mill Amphitheater 10 minutes prior to class. Location: Throckmorton Ave and Old Mill Street. For more info, call 415-383-1370 or visit their website.

Create Colorful Leaf Prints for Fall

November 3, 2016

Leaf PrintsCreating colorful leaf prints is one of my children's favorite simple fall craft projects. We love to take advantage of Marin's great fall weather and go on family hikes and walks at this time of year. Along the way, the kids collect interesting autumn leaves, which we bring home to use as decorations and to make leaf prints.

Making leaf prints is an easy project that kids of all ages can do, and the results can be really beautiful. To make them you’ll need:

Where Academics and Character Are Classmates: Character Building Tools at Home and at School

November 3, 2016

Marin Horizon School

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Marin Horizon School, which offers education for children from toddler through 8th grade in Mill Valley.

Children as young as two years old are already beginning to build social awareness and an understanding of their place in the world. Parents often chose schools with strong character-building programs, like Marin Horizon, because they value having their children educated in a culture of integrity, respect, and responsibility. It is in the heartfelt partnership between parents and schools that children are taught the core values and skills that create strong character.

Horse-Drawn Tours of Novato's Holiday Lights with Indian Valley Carriage

November 1, 2016

Indian Valley CarriageWant to tour Novato's spectacular holiday lights the old fashioned way this winter? Book a trip via horse-drawn carriage or wagon from Gary Sello and Indian Valley Carriage. Novato residents have probably seen Gary and his team cruising the streets at Christmas time, especially near the famous Rombeiro Christmas House on Devonshire Drive.

50-minute tours start at Center Road and Wilson Avenue (across from Miss Sandie's School) at 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30 pm, and include a pass by the famous Rombeiro house on Devonshire Drive (and maybe even a stop to tour the inside, depending on schedule and how busy the house is). Gary's carriage seats six average size adults, and his large covered wagon seats twelve. The wagon also has rain protection, although tours will be canceled in the event of heavy rain or wind. Reservations are required, and tours do sell out during the holiday season, so reserve your spot early!

We've ridden in Gary's covered wagon before, and it's spacious and comfortable with plenty of room, and it's also a lot of fun. So get your friends and family together and book a tour before they're sold out.

Visit a Museum for Free in November

November 1, 2016

Visit a Bay Area Museum for freeDid 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 and usually only the special exhibition fee is charged on free days; 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 Tuesday of the Month—November 1

Help Feed the World's Largest Turkey at Town Center Corte Madera

November 1, 2016

Giant Turkey Town Center Corte Madera

This holiday season, Town Center Corte Madera proudly welcomes back the World’s Largest Turkey, who will gratefully collect your donations of canned food, non-perishable items, and toiletries. Donations will be distributed by the SF-Marin Food Bank to Marin families in need this holiday season. This year marks the Giant Turkey’s 23rd annual appearance at Town Center—this year the Turkey will be “roosting” in the Center Court under the clock tower across from Blue Barn.

Family Holiday Performances at Marin Center

November 1, 2016

Stapleton Ballet Nutcracker at Marin Center this Holiday SeasonYou can always count on finding a variety of wonderful holiday performances for the whole family at Marin Center in San Rafael, and the 2016 season is no exception. There’s definitely something for everyone, so bring the family to one of these Marin holiday classics. Many of these productions sell out early, so order your tickets soon to avoid disappointment.

Marin Center is located off Civic Center Drive at 10 Avenue of the Flags in San Rafael, adjacent to the Marin County Civic Center. It comprises two of Marin County's premier performance venues: the 1,960-seat Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium, which hosts major concerts, performances, and events, and the smaller, more intimate 315-seat Showcase Theater.

For more information on Marin Center, including seating charts, tickets, directions, and a full schedule of events and performances, visit the County of Marin's Cultural Services website.

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