Events and Outings

Fall Family Fairs & Festivals in the Bay Area

August 21, 2017

Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin PatchFall is one of our favorite times of year, and there's so much family fun to be found in Marin and beyond. Find a family-friendly fall festival, fair or Oktoberfest to celebrate the season. We'll keep updating our list of events for Marin and beyond as we find more this fall. If you have an event you'd like to see added to the list, please contact us.

  • Halloween Harvest Festival
    Marinwood
    Friday, October 13, 5–7 pm

    Come to Marinwood for its annual Halloween Harvest Festival for children 12 and under. Activities include carnival games, pumpkin carving and decorating, face painting, trick-or-treat bag decorating, caramel apples, and a bounce house. Tickets: $12 advance or $16 at the door for kids ages 2 to 12; adults free. Food available for purchase. Event website.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for August 18, 19 & 20

August 18, 2017

Chileno Valley
Meet Daniel Tiger and ride the train at the Bay Area Discovery Museum's Transportation Day on 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, August 18

  • Mom & Baby Yoga
    Pomegranate, San Anselmo
    Friday, 11 am

    Enjoy your baby, reconnect with your body, and meet other new moms in our postnatal mama and baby yoga class. Class is most successful with pre-crawling babies but all are welcome to try out a class and discuss exceptions with the instructor. We want mamas to be able to get out of the house, meet other moms, and enjoy the support and exercise of a yoga class. Cost: $23 for drop-in class. Sign-up online here. Location: 25 Tamalpais Avenue, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Children's Series: Non Stop Bhangra
    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. A passport to Bollywood for kiddies. Non Stop Bhangra celebrates the beautiful and vibrant spirit of Bhangra, a traditional Punjabi folk music and dance.Free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Children's Room End of Summer Party
    Mill Valley Public Library - SmartGarden
    Friday, 2:30–4 pm

    Celebrate the end of summer with your friends and library staff under the redwood trees. Crafts, bubbles, face painting, music and more! SmartGarden. Free.  Location: 375 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Picnics on the Plaza
    Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo
    Friday, 5–8 pm

    Come on downtown to San Anselmo for Picnics on the Plaza on six Friday evenings this summer: Grab dinner-to-go at a local restaurant, purchase food at the event, or pack a picnic and dine with old and new friends at the plaza. Enjoy live entertainment and activities; it's great, music, food and family fun! Location: 525 San Anselmo Avenue, Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo. 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 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.
  • Broadway Under the Stars: Fascinating Rhythm
    Jack London State Park, Glen Ellen
    Friday–Sunday, 5 pm
    Are you ready to be invigorated with a sensational blend of movement and song that celebrates the Fascinating Rhythm that keeps our hearts moving through life? Your toes will be tapping as you join us on this rousing and rhythmic journey of music and dance that will have you swaying to the beat all night long. Bring a picnic before the performance. The show begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets: $45–$149. Purchase tickets here. Location: 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marinwood's Music in the Park Series
    Marinwood Park, San Rafael
    Friday, 6–8 pm

    Marinwood’s most popular event is back! Enjoy Friday evenings in the park, featuring live music with delicious food by Marinwood Market, wine and beer. This Friday:  Mitch Polzak and The Royal Deuces. Free; food, wine, and beer may be purchased. Location: 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 479-0775 or visit their website.
  • Jazz & Blues by the Bay
    Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
    Friday, 6:30–8:30 pm

    Jazz & Blues by the Bay at Gabrielson Park in Sausalito is a free event. Lawn seating available, first-come first-served. This Friday: Dr. Mojo Band (blues). For more info, visit their website.

Free Outdoor Family Movies in Marin and the Bay Area

August 12, 2017

Film Night in the Park Marin County Summer

Summer means its time for free outdoor movies in Marin and the Bay Area, so grab your blankets and pillows, pack the picnic basket, and get ready to enjoy some family flicks al fresco. Here's our guide to free outdoor movies this summer and fall in Marin, San Francisco, and Sonoma County.

Most movies begin at dusk or around 8 pm; check the organizer's website for exact time and location. Some feature food trucks and even wine pairings. Popcorn is often offered for free!

In addition, the North Bay Mobile Drive-In screens movies on the side of the Old Hamilton Theater building in Novato; join their Meetup page to get notified about upcoming screenings.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for August 11, 12 & 13

August 11, 2017

Gravenstein Apple FairEnjoy good old fashioned family fun at this weekend's Gravenstein Apple Fair in Sebastopol.

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, August 11

  • Insect Discovery Lab
    Point Reyes Library
    Friday, 11 am–noon

    Prepare to be amazed when the Insect Discovery Lab visits the Point Reyes and Stinson Beach Libraries. Explore the fantastic lives of beetles, millipedes, tarantulas, and walking sticks at this interactive workshop. Free. Location:
    11431 State Route One, Point Reyes Station. Fore more info, visit their website.
  • Sonoma County Fair
    Sonoma County Fairgrounds
    Friday–Sunday, 11 am–11 pm

    The Sonoma County Fair offers both a classic full-scale carnival with plenty of excitement for thrill-seekers and a separate kiddie carnival area for the little ones, with scaled down thrills and lots of excitement. Carnival rides are an additional charge. Admission is $12 for ages 13 and up, $7 for children 7–12, and free for children 6 and under. For more info, visit their website.
  • Children's Garden Series: Unique Derique
    Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
    Friday, noon & 2:15 pm

    This free event is part of the Children's Garden Series at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. A beloved Bay Area institution, the Unique Derique is a prince among clowns, an internationally esteemed performer who has honed a singular blend of physical comedy and hambone body percussion. For more info, visit their website.
  • End-of-Summer Reading Party with SF Bubble Guy Mike Ashe
    Creek Park, San Anselmo
    Friday, 3–4 pm
    Bring the kids for an hour of bubble fun by the San Francisco Bubble Man Mike Ashe. Free. Location: Sir Francis Drake Blvd & Center Blvd, San Anselmo. For more info, visit their website.
  • Circus Vargas
    Corte Madera
    Friday, 4:30 & 7:30 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 1, 4 & 7:30 pm

    Circus Vargas' presents its new 2017 spectacular SteamCirque! Come on a journey of fantastic proportions where children of all ages will marvel at the wacky and wonderful cast of characters that come alive in this exciting steampunk, science- fiction fantasy inspired circus odyssey. Tickets: $17–$72; under 2 free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Picnics on the Plaza
    Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo
    Friday, 5–8 pm

    Come on downtown to San Anselmo for Picnics on the Plaza on six Friday evenings this summer: Grab dinner-to-go at a local restaurant, purchase food at the event, or pack a picnic and dine with old and new friends at the plaza. Enjoy live entertainment and activities; it's great, music, food and family fun! Location: 525 San Anselmo Avenue, Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo. 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. This Friday: Auricular Arrangements. For more info, visit their website.
  • Broadway Under the Stars: Fascinating Rhythm
    Jack London State Park, Glen Ellen
    Friday–Sunday, 5 pm
    Are you ready to be invigorated with a sensational blend of movement and song that celebrates the Fascinating Rhythm that keeps our hearts moving through life? Your toes will be tapping as you join us on this rousing and rhythmic journey of music and dance that will have you swaying to the beat all night long. Bring a picnic before the performance. The show begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets: $45–$149. Purchase tickets here. Location: 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. For more info, visit their website.
  • Nostalgia Days Rod and Custom Car Show
    Downtown Novato
    Friday, 5:45–8 pm & Saturday, 10 am–5 pm

    Now in its 20th year, this celebration of hot rods, classic cars and small-town Americana is a great reason to visit downtown Novato this weekend. This free, family-friendly event kicks off with a Friday Night Cruise, then Saturday sees Downtown Novato transform into a classic car show, all the way from 1st to 7th Street on Grant Avenue. Live music by the Four Teardrops and the Deadlies. For more info, visit their website.

Hands-on Fun for Fall at Slide Ranch

August 11, 2017

Slide Ranch is a great place for family members of all ages. 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. Below is a list of their upcoming fall events. Their programs often sell out quickly, so you need to plan ahead if you are interested in participating. Register for programs online at www.slideranch.org.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for August 4, 5 & 6

August 4, 2017

Fun awaits at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa.

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, August 4

  • Day Out With Thomas
    Roaring Camp Railroads, Felton
    Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10:30 am–5:30 pm

    Take a train ride drawn by Thomas himself, meet Sir Topham Hatt, and enjoy live music. Tickets: $20 advance, $24 for peak times—Saturdays and Sundays 10:30 am–2:30 pm, $24 at the gate. Tickets required for everyone aged 2 and up and include all entertainment and activities as well as a 25-minute train ride. Parking $8 per vehicle. Location: Graham Hill Road, Felton. For more info, visit their website.
  • Children's Garden Series: Caterpillar Puppets
    Esplanade at Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
    Friday, 11–11:30 am & 12:15–12:45 pm

    Joe Leon’s Caterpillar Puppets don’t just entertain kids and parents. His eccentric menagerie draws audiences of all ages into seemingly familiar stories that take unexpected turns. Like his version of the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Bla-bla-blas. Free. Location: Esplanade at Yerba Buena Gardens, near the MLK, Jr. waterfall.For more info, visit their website.
  • Sonoma County Fair
    Sonoma County Fairgrounds
    Friday–Sunday, 11 am–11 pm

    The Sonoma County Fair offers both a classic full-scale carnival with plenty of excitement for thrill-seekers and a separate kiddie carnival area for the little ones, with scaled down thrills and lots of excitement. Carnival rides are an additional charge. Admission is $12 for ages 13 and up, $7 for children 7–12, and free for children 6 and under. For more info, visit www.sonomacountyfair.com.
  • Picnics on the Plaza
    Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo
    Friday, 5–8 pm

    Come on downtown to San Anselmo for Picnics on the Plaza on six Friday evenings this summer: Grab dinner-to-go at a local restaurant, purchase food at the event, or pack a picnic and dine with old and new friends at the plaza. Enjoy live entertainment and activities; it's great, music, food and family fun! Location: 525 San Anselmo Avenue, Town Hall Lawn, San Anselmo. 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. Location: 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Theatre Company: Seussical Kids
    Mill Valley
    Friday, 5:30 pm, Saturday, noon & 4 pm

    Come support our 2nd–6th Grade Production Campers performing. Tickets $5. Purchase tickets here. Location: 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Broadway Under the Stars: Fascinating Rhythm
    Jack London State Park, Glen Ellen
    Friday–Sunday, 5 pm
    Are you ready to be invigorated with a sensational blend of movement and song that celebrates the Fascinating Rhythm that keeps our hearts moving through life? Your toes will be tapping as you join us on this rousing and rhythmic journey of music and dance that will have you swaying to the beat all night long. Bring a picnic before the performance. The show begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets: $45–$149. Purchase tickets here. Location: 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marinwood's Music in the Park Series
    Marinwood Park, San Rafael
    Friday, 6–8 pm
    Join us this summer for live music, food and fun the whole family will enjoy. Bring your picnic blanket and your appetite and kick-off the weekend Marinwood style!  Location: 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 479-0775 or visit their website.

Gravenstein Apple Fair: An Old-Time Country Festival

August 3, 2017

Gravenstein Apple Fair

Where can you spend the day walking under ancient oaks following your nose from food booth to food booth (featuring frying apple fritters or slices of four-inch high apple pie), taking in terrific acoustic music, and experiencing the sights and sounds of a turn-of-the-century barnyard? At the annual Gravenstein Apple Fair, of course!

Sonoma County's summertime jewel takes place in Sebastopol's Ragle Ranch Park this weekend, August 12 and 13. 2017's event is the 105th Gravenstein Apple Fair, which showcases the best in arts, crafts, food, wines and beers, games, entertainment, and farm life activities.

25 Inexpensive (or Free) Things to Do for Families in August

August 1, 2017

Bat Night returns to Olompali State Park on Saturday, August 5.

August is here—and with it the last few weeks of summer vacation! You don't have to break the bank to have a great time with the kiddos, either! Here are 25 great ideas for great affordable activities and outings in Marin and the Bay Area in August, all of which are free or really inexpensive. Keep in mind some of these activities require advance registration, so check before you go.

  1. Visit the de Young Museum in San Francisco for free on the first Tuesday of the month, August 1, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
  2. Meet Presidio first responders and see plice and fire displays and demonstrations on National Night Out. August 1, 4:30–7:30 pm.

Amazing Family Sleepovers in the Bay Area and Beyond

July 31, 2017

Monterey Bay Aquarium Overnight
Photo courtesy Monterey Bay Aquarium

If you're looking for a fun and unique overnight experience for the family, try camping out at a museum, aquarium zoo, or wildlife center! Popular family destinations in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California like the California Academy of Sciences, the Marine Mammal Center, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the San Francisco Zoo, the USS Hornet Museum, and Safari West all offer exciting programs where families can spend the night. It's be kind of like the movie Night at the Museum, except that the dinosaurs and dioramas won't come alive after hours (we hope)!

Needless to say, all of these events require advance reservations and have limited space, so register for your awesome overnight adventure soon! Many of these venues also offer overnight programs for scouts, schools, and other youth groups. All information is correct at time of posting; check each location’s website for complete information, pricing updates, and a schedule of events.

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