This Saturday, April 29, 2017, put your imagination in gear and come to Oak View Nursery School for their fourth annual Touch a Truck event! At Touch a Truck, kids (and grownups, too) will get a chance to get behind the wheel of some amazing vehicles and rub elbows with their hometown heroes.
Come and explore and get behind the wheel of your favorite vehicles, including a fire truck, dump truck, police car, school bus, tow truck, ambulance, rescue truck, recycle truck, construction vehicles, and more. There promises to be a parking lot full of cool trucks this year! It will definitely be a day to remember.
Take your family to UC Berkeley on Saturday, April 22, 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, and can even tour residence halls. Kids can pick up a Science@Cal Passport at the Valley Life Sciences building and tale part in fun hands-on science activities around campus.
Looking for a fun class or indoor play spaces for the little ones? There are several places to take the kids to get them out of the house to get creative or to burn off some extra energy, especially on a cold or rainy day. Here are a few ideas for fun indoor drop-in activities in Marin County and the Bay Area:
Habitot Children's Museum
2065 Kittredge Street, Berkeley
Hours: Monday–Thursday, 9:30 am–12:30 pm and Friday–Saturday, 9:30 am–4:30 pm Discovery Museum for young children, toddlers and infants. Fun activities, hands on exhibits, arts & crafts, fun classes, music and much more. Cost: $10.00 per child (free under 12 mo.) and $10.00 per adult during weekdays and $12 per child and adult on weekends (free under 12 mo.) For more info, visit their website.
Rain or Shine 1235 10th Street, Berkeley
Hours: Monday–Friday, 9:30 am–6 pm and Saturday–Sunday, 9:30 am–2 pm
The new Rain or Shine offers a wide variety of activities for ages 0–6 years. Drop in any time for open play! Come for story, music, or parachute programs. They offers a wide variety of activities for all day open play, all included with admission. Cost: before 2 pm, $16/first child; $8/sibling; $4/adult or after 2 pm $12/first child; $6/sibling; $2/adult. For more info, visit their website.
It's hard to resist the romantic notion of riding the rails in a car pulled by an old-fashioned steam locomotive. It's something that captivates most kids—and many adults, too. Fortunately for railroad-obsessed kids and their parents, we have plenty of opportunities to take a real train ride in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California, even if it is on a working scale-model! Many of these train rides are a short distance away, and some are great excuses for a day trip or weekend getaway. All of them are a lot of fun! Whether it's a miniature scale railroad or the full-size real deal, the sights and sounds of a train ride are unforgettable.
Keep in mind that many of these railroads keep to seasonal schedules, and rides are often weather permitting. Some offer train rides on weekends only. Make sure you check their websites or give them a call before you plan your visit.
Spending time in the outdoors as a family this fall can be both fun and educational: get some exercise, explore Marin County's many parks and open space preserves, take advantage of our often lovely fall weather, and learn about the natural wonders that can be found all around us. A fantastic and eye-opening way to get out and experience nature in Marin is to take part in one of the naturalist-led family outings offered by Marin County Parks.
The parks department's Nature for Kids outings take place at Marin's many open space areas, and feature a leisurely, kid-paced hike with plenty of opportunities to stop and explore along the way. The hikes are informal and unstructured, and perfect for kids of all ages, although they seem geared for kids ages 3 to 12.
Laser Tag of Santa Rosa is the Bay Area’s only stand-alone laser tag fun center North of the Golden Gate Bridge. The sparkling clean family entertainment destination is located at 3011 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa CA 95407 (707) 755-3503 and offers a great time for people of all ages.
The state-of-the-art laser equipment is non-militaristic and offers features that have never before been available the region. The sophisticated laser packs each have a super advanced computer, speakers that prompt individual players during the laser play, versatile game formats and incredible tagging accuracy to create a thrilling game experience. It’s like playing in a real-life video game! The facility provides good, clean entertainment set to a theme of a futuristic cyber-world, similar to the classic film Tron. The private party rooms are the perfect environment for birthdays, corporate events, sports teams, church groups, scouting troops, office parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, date night, student groups, or any groups looking to laugh, bond, and share a lot of smiles!
Calling dog lovers of all ages: you won't want to miss this weekend's annual Golden Gate Kennel Club (GGKC) dog show at the Cow Palace in Daly City! The GGKC show is the West’s premier “benched” show—a benched show offers attendees a chance to meet and get to know the dogs on special “benches” organized by breed.
Lion dancers perform at the Lunar New Year Festival on Fourth Street in Berkeley
This month, the Year of the Monkey comes to an end and the Year of the Rooster begins! Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, starts on Saturday, January 28.
As with many major holidays, there's plenty of family fun to be found in Marin County and all over the San Francisco Bay Area, ranging from a Chinese New Year Festival at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito on Monday, February 15 to the big blowout Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco on Saturday, February 20.
Here are a dozen fun family Chinese New Year events not to miss in Marin and the Bay Area:
San Francisco Zoo
Saturday & Sunday, January 28 & 29, February 4 & 5, 10 am–4 pm
To commemorate the Year of the Rooster, the San Francisco Zoo hosts two weekends of Lunar New Year celebrations. Marvel at traditional Chinese lion and folk dance performances, go on a zodiac scavenger hunt through the zoo to learn fun facts about the animals found on the Chinese calendar, and stop by the Family Farm to see the roosters at the zoo. Guests born in the Year of the Rooster (1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, and 2017) will receive free admission to the zoo!
Museum visitors are often told not to touch anything, but not at the museums listed here! These seven local Marin County and San Francisco Bay Area museums offer lots of fun hands-on activities for kids and families. They're perfect for rainy-day outings or any time, really.
Bay Area Discovery Museum
Families with kids up to age 8 love Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum for its combination of hands-on fun, exciting programs and performances, rotating special exhibitions (currently it's Curious George: Let's Get Curious), and a great play area overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. It's a fantastic place to play away the day and take in the amazing views. Location: Fort Baker, 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito, 94965. Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 9 am–5 pm. More info: www.baykidsmuseum.org or (415) 339-3900.
Children's Museum of Sonoma County
Recently opened in its new home adjacent to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, the Children's Museum of Sonoma County offers hands-on art-, nature-, and science-focused exhibits and experiences for children 10 and younger. "Shop" at the Farmers' Market, play in Mary's Garden, and get creative in Ella's Art Studio. Additional exhibitions are under construction and due to open at the museum this spring. Location: 1835 West Steele Lane, Santa Rosa, 95403. Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 9 am–4 pm; Sunday, noon–4 pm. More info: www.cmosc.org or (707) 546-4069.