Welcome to the Marin Birthday Party Guide! Children's birthday parties are big events and big business. Browse our directory to find Marin and Bay Area birthday party venues, bounce houses, supplies, services, and entertainers, as well as articles from our web site about birthday party-related topics.

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Celebrate Your Child's Birthday at the California Academy of Sciences

April 4, 2011

Birthday cupcakes at the California Academy of SciencesDoes your child dream of having his or her birthday party in the midst of fascinating nature exhibits and 38,000 live animals? You're in luck, because the California Academy of Sciences, Northern California's premier natural history museum, now offers children’s birthday parties on Saturdays and Sundays! Your party of up to 40 guests can enjoy a private group tour of the Academy, interactive activities, birthday cupcakes, and more in a private party space that's yours to enjoy for two hours. It's guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience for your birthday child.

Each birthday party begins with snacks (and coffee for the grownups) from the Academy's acclaimed Moss Room restaurant in a private lounge decorated with festive environmentally-friendly party decorations. Next, an expert tour guide takes your group on a half-hour tour

Music Classes and Parties with Ali Weiss and Mini Music

March 23, 2011

Ali Weiss and Mini MusicStill looking for a great music class for your little one? Check out the offerings from Mini Music, run by local singer/songwriter Ali Weiss. Ali teaches interactive music classes for children ages 0–5 at locations throughout Marin County—including Mill Valley and San Rafael—and in Petaluma and Sebastopol.

Children attend classes with a parent or caregiver and receive a CD at the beginning of the ten-week session. Over the length of the session participants learn all the songs on the CD and explore them through singing, movement, and instrument play accompanied by both live and recorded music. The CD, produced by Ali and featuring her and various other musicians, includes mostly traditional, as well as some modern children's songs, and original material.

Music Together of Marin

January 9, 2011

Music Together of MarinMusic Together of Marin's winter session starts on January 7 and runs through March 23. Music Together is an award-winning international music and movement enrichment program for children ages infant to 5 years. Classes meet once a week for 45 minutes of musical joy.

Music Together classes are based on the recognition that all children are musical. All children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat and participate with confidence in the music of our culture. Central to the Music Together approach is that young children learn best from the role model of parents/caregivers who are actively making music. The program brings families together by providing a rich musical environment that can continue at home and throughout the context of daily life. Each session families receive  new materials, including a CD and book, to use at home. Come preview a free class and become part of a growing musical community.

Novato's Magic Bus Music Studio Now Open

December 8, 2010

Party at the Magic BusThe Bus has arrived! Magic Bus Music Studio, Marin's newest early childhood music studio is now open in Novato at 1530 Center Road Suite 12, inside the Nautilus of Marin Building. The “Bus” offers Kindermusik classes, birthday parties, fundraising events and playgroup outings for families with children ages newborn to 4.

The Magic Bus Music Studio is owned by Melissa Ayotte, who has been teaching piano and Kindermusik in Marin for over 11 years. Joining Melissa is her long time friend and colleague Dee Dee Lawtonwho has also been teaching Kindermusik for over 11 years with “maestro programs” (in the top five percent world wide) in San Francisco and Napa. Dee Dee also offers instruction in flute and piano. For more information, call (415) 721-1929 or visit www.magicbusmusic.com.

Here are some of the programs offered this winter at Magic Bus Music Studio:

  • Birthdays at The Bus
    For your 1-, 2-, or 3-year-old
    Cost: $125 for up to 12 children
    Start your child’s special day with 45 minutes of magical musical fun at the studio, where a licensed Kindermusik educator will delight your guests with live guitar and singing, lots of movement and dancing, playing with balls, hoops and parachute, and, of course, playing instruments! When the music ends, take your group right next door to Round Table for pizza, presents, and playtime! To make a reservation for your child’s 2011 Birthday Party call (415) 721-1929 or email m1@musicwithmelissa.com
  • Musical Playgroups
    For children Newborn to 4 years old
    Cost: only $10 per child

Holiday Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides from Indian Valley Carriages

November 20, 2010

Indian Valley Carriages covered wagonIf you live in Novato or spend time there, especially around the holidays, you can't help but notice the beautiful horse-drawn carriages traversing the length of Grant Avenue, and making their way around town in search of the most magnificent holiday light displays. These classy but decidedly old-fashioned vehicles are owned and operated by Novato resident Gary Sello and his Indian Valley Carriage Company. If you're looking for a family outing in Marin that is truly unique, fun, and stress-free, then you should consider the offerings of Indian Valley Carriage.

Based in Novato's rural Indian Valley neighborhood, Gary and Indian Valley Carriage operate several different carriages, including a formal black and maroon vis-à-vis (where up to six passengers sit facing each other), a three-seat surrey (with a fringe on top!) that can carry four to six passengers, and a large covered wagon that seats up to twelve.

Theme Birthday Parties at Tiburon's Ark Row Center

August 9, 2010

Theme birthday party at Ark Row Center in TiburonIf you're looking for a place to hold a children's birthday party in southern Marin, check out Tiburon's Ark Row Center for Enrichment. In addition to offering numerous enrichment classes and programs for both children and adults, this facility in downtown Tiburon offers fun theme birthday parties.

Choose your party theme (superheroes, princess, surfing, sports, etc.) and Ark Row Center will provide an activity or project, including art, dance, games, and more. All supplies are included. You bring the cake and paper goods, and pizzas are welcome, too. Parties take place in the spacious art studio room or the large outdoor patio.

Theme parties cast $200 for two hours for 8 children and $18 for each additional child. Party time slots are from 10 am to noon, 1 to 3 pm, or 4 to 6 pm. Call Robin for your party consultation at (415) 435-2200.

Ark Row Center for Enrichment is located at 122 Main Street in Tiburon. For more information on the center and their wide variety of programs and classes, visit www.arkrowcenter.com.

Cool Cooking Birthday Parties with Pine Point Cooking School

February 18, 2010

Pine Point Cooking School birthday partyLooking for a unique hands-on birthday party for kids ages 9–15? Celebrate your child's birthday with a fun and delicious cooking party at Sausalito's Pine Point Cooking School! The guests and birthday girl/boy will learn to prepare a tasty Mediterranean-inspired lunch or dinner, and of course eat it, too.

Partygoers will cook appetizers, marin courses, side dishes, and dessert. Possible dishes include Greek cheese triangles, roast polenta, chicken saltimbocca, and pizza. The menu is planned with the birthday honoree's tastes in mind. The lesson turns into a party as everyone eats what they've cooked around the dining table (parents are invited, too). The celebration wraps up with party favors and a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday" over dessert!

Get Your LEGO Fix at Play-Well TEKnologies—Parties, Classes, and Drop-in Fun

January 11, 2010

LEGO creation at Play-Well TEKnologies“Wow!” my son shouted as we walked in the door and laid eyes on all the LEGO kits and pieces in the room at Play-Well Teknologies in San Anselmo. We have been trying to visit “the LEGO place” (as my son calls it) and try one of their drop-in open-play sessions for a while now, but something always seemed to come up. We finally made it there last week with some friends for a playdate, and we all had a blast.

Play-Well TEKnologies' Marin Engineering Center features a large area dedicated just for the drop-in play. In fact, it's the largest drop-in LEGO center in the country. My son was in awe—they seemed to have every type of LEGO imaginable. Dozens of bins keep the LEGO pieces, reportedly over a million in all, organized by color, size, type, or theme, including wheels, ships, planes, engines, pirates and much, much more.

Tutu School Dances Across the Bridge to Larkspur!

September 10, 2009

Popular San Francisco-based ballet school Tutu School is now open in its second location in Larkspur! At Tutu School, children ages 18 months to 8 years have the unique opportunity to learn basic motor skills and build rhythmic awareness through creative movement, ballet, and storytelling, all set to the classical tunes of great composers like Bach and Tchaikovsky.
Tutu School's mission is to provide a magical space and nurturing environment for children to develop a positive relationship with both music and movement through the exploration of ballet. Each class concludes with "Ballet Story Time," where students' imaginations take them to places where fairies, princesses, and whirling dervishes take flight.
In addition to their "Exploring Ballet" program, Tutu School offers "Tutu Toddlers" classes for toddlers to take with a parent or nanny; custom birthday party packages; and "Tutu Camp" during the summer months. Tutu School Larkspur will continue to provide a safe haven for toddlers and kids to learn ballet, while allowing their parents to relax at the neighboring shops and restaurants of the Larkspur Landing Shopping Center.

Pony Party at Morning Star Farm

September 9, 2009

Riding a pony at a Morning Star Farm pony partyWhat child doesn't dream of being a cowgirl or cowboy, riding their pony across the range? When my daughter was invited to a Pony Party for a friend's birthday at Novato's Morning Star Farm, we were all pretty excited. In case you're not familiar with it, Morning Star Farm is the large equestrian facility that you'll see in west Novato at the corner of Novato Boulevard and Sutro Avenue, directly across the street from San Marin High School.

Morning Star's Pony Parties are for children ages 3 and up, and our suitable for children up to 9 years old, although older kids can be accomodated with larger mounts if needed. The Pony Parties include one hour of hand-led pony rides, a trip to the farm's petting zoo—which includes goats, lambs, pigs miniature horses, ducks, and bunnies, and play time on their large play structure. Each child's pony ride lasts five to seven minutes and takes them through Morning Star Farm's scenic grounds.

Top Birthday Party Spots

What are Marin's top birthday party spots? Here are six most popular places to hold a birthday party in our Marin Birthday Party Guide.