Events and Outings

Marin Weekend Family Fun for January 9, 10 & 11

January 9, 2015
Mochi pounding at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco
Celebrate the New Year, Japanese-style, with traditional mochi pounding at the Asian Art Museum.

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.

Note that the Golden Gate Bridge will be closed to traffic this Saturday and Sunday, January 10 and 11, in order to install a new moveable median barrier. If you're planning on going into San Francisco from Marin consider taking Golden Gate Transit bus, which will be driving across the bridge, or the Golden Gate Ferry. Find out more about the bridge closure here.

Friday, January 9

  • Sing and Dance with Miss Kitty
    San Rafael Public Library
    Friday, 10:30–11:15 am

    Join Marin County favorite Miss Kitty for a series of fun family concerts just right for children aged birth to 8 years old. Free, no registration required! Location: 1100 E Street, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 485-3322 or visit their website.
  • Last Weekend for Ice Skating: Marin on Ice
    Northgate Mall, San Rafael
    Friday-Sunday, noon–10 pm

    This is the last weekend for Marin on Ice, an outdoor skating rink in San Rafael's Northgate Mall. Bring the kiddos out to for a day of ice skating. Skating costs $15 per person, which includes skate rental, and "Skate Buddies" (the blue plastic chair-like supports) are available for beginnners.  or call (707) 738-8496. Northgate Mall is located off Highway 101 in San Rafael's Terra Linda area, between Northgate Drive and Las Gallinas Avenue. For more info, call (707) 738-8496 or visit onicemarin.com
  • Crazy, Awesome Science! Fun with Liquid Nitrogen
    Children's Museum of Sonoma

    Friday, 2 pm
    This program often includes a scientific demonstration followed by hands-on science for everyone. Free after museum admission. Location: 1835 W. Steele Lane, Santa Rosa. For more info, visit their website.
  • de Youngsters Family Art Party 2015
    de Young Museum, San Francisco
    Friday, 6–9 pm

    Join other Bay Area families in putting the "art" in "party" at the de Youngsters second annual benefit bash for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Guests both young and "young at art" will enjoy a fun-filled evening at the de Young exploring color and line, a modern treasure hunt in Celebrating the Spectrum: Highlights from the Anderson Collection, teen-oriented activities based on the lively works on view in Keith Haring: The Political Line, plus more surprises! To purchase tickets, visit their website.
  • Kids' Pajama Party with Mac Barnett
    DIESEL, a bookstore Larkspur
    Friday, 6–7 pm

    Pull on your PJs and bring your teddy bear to the bookstore! Author Mac Barnett will be here to read you a bedtime story. Get cozy in front of the fireplace, listen to a story or two, have some milk and cookies, get your books signed, and then head home for bed. Location: Marin County Mart, Larkspur. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, January 10

  • Family Fun Run/Health & Wellness Fair
    Mill Valley Recreation Center
    Saturday, 8–11 am

    Jump start your New Years resolution with a fun and exciting way to experience health, wellness and community in Mill Valley. Family fun run/walk (around the large lawn area behind community center), bounce house, air brush tattoos, face painting, and food tasting. Free admission. Location: 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family and Youth Winter Bird Count
    Albert J. Boro Community Center at Pickleweed Park
    Saturday, 9 am–12:30 pm
    Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary and WildCare are co-hosting their fourth Youth Winter Bird Count (YWBC). This event will give aspiring young birders, their families, and outdoor enthusiasts an opportunity to contribute to conservation while they learn in both Spanish and English, aided by WildCare's bilingual naturalists and volunteer birders. Students of all ages and their families are invited to participate in this fun and educational event. For more information and registration, visit their website.
  • 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 listen to music (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse
    Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 9 am–3:30 pm

    Go see the whales out at the Point Reyes Light House and Chimney Rock. Shuttle buses leave Drakes Beach every 15–20 minutes. The cost is $7 per person; children under 16 are free. No cars allowed at Point Reyes Light House on weekends and holidays December 26 through mid-April. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Event: McNears Beach Park in Maps
    McNears Beach Park, San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Join Ranger Josh Rosenfeld for an insightful look at the history of McNears Beach Park and the Point San Pedro Peninsula through the layers of time captured on maps. View old maps and browse modern digital imagery of this beautiful park located on the shores of San Pablo Bay. Park entrance is waived for participants. Meet at the snack bar in McNears Beach Park. Location: 201 Cantera Way, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Montessori Open House
    Marin Montessori School, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Get to know Marin Montessori this Saturday at an Open House at their Corte Madera Campus, 5200 Paradise Drive. RSVP required; call (415) 924-5388 ext. 0. For more information, visit their website.
  • The Venus Fly Trap and Other Amazing Carnivorous Plants
    UC Botanical Garden, Berkeley
    Saturday, 10–11 am

    John Bartram was the first to introduce the Venus Fly Trap into cultivation. Family members of all ages are invited to discover some of the fascinating and beautiful plants that can eat insects. Get up close with the amazing leaf adaptations as you learn more about them. Registration required: $15 general, $10 members. Location: 200 Centennial Drive, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Your Child's Education—How to Choose?
    San Rafael Community Center
    Saturday, 10–11 am

    With so many types of schools available, how do I choose a school that works for my family? Learn to compare educational approaches and school models. Learn about the latest neuroscience and brain research with a deep understanding of how children learn and grow; balancing current research with collective wisdom. Cost: $10. Purchase tickets and learn more here. Location: 618 B Street, San Rafael.
  • Free Junior Chef Classes
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am
    Cook up family fun by joining us for a series of classes at Williams-Sonoma in Corte Madera. Want to become a better baker and help out mom and dad in the kitchen? We’ll teach you some basic baking techniques and then prepare a yummy breakfast and a baked snack together. Suitable for ages 9–13. Location: The Village Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for January 2, 3 & 4

January 2, 2015
Elephant seal at Point Reyes
Experience Elephant Seals this weekend at Point Reyes National Seashore's Chimney Rock.

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.

You can also hit the ice at Marin on Ice or another Bay Area seasonal skating rink, which will be open during the holidays. Check out our guide to local ice skating here.

Friday, January 2

  • Make a Nightlight for 6th–12th graders
    Novato Library
    Friday, 1–3 pm

    Make a nightlight—materials and assistance provided. Feel free to bring your own figures to populate your nightlight jar. Soldering involved, so signup and permission form required. For more information, contact the Novato Library at (415) 473-2050. Location: 1720 Novato Boulevard, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • LEGO Play Day
    Mill Valley Library
    Friday, 2:30–4 pm

    Get in touch with your inner engineer! Free play with LEGOs supports creativity, problem solving, and reading skills, and it's FUN! Age 5 and up. No sign-up needed. Free. Location: 375 Throckmorton Avenue, Creekside Room, Mill Valley. For more info, call (415) 389-4292 or visit their website.

Saturday, January 3

  • Museums on Us
    Various locations
    Saturday & Sunday
    Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card holders get free general admission to select location museums on the first full weekend of every month. Present your card and a photo ID for admission; one free general admission per cardholder. Get full details here. Participating museums include the de Young Museum, the Legion of Honor, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and the Chabot Space and Science Center. For more info, visit their website.
  • 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 listen to music (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse
    Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 9 am–3:30 pm

    Go see the whales out at the Point Reyes Light House and Chimney Rock. Shuttle buses leave Drakes Beach every 15–20 minutes. The cost is $7 per person; children under 16 are free. No cars allowed at Point Reyes Light House on weekends and holidays December 26 through mid-April. For more info, visit their website.
  • Explore Stafford Lake Park
    Novato
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm

    Come out for an easy nature walk around beautiful Stafford Lake. Along the way we’ll stop and talk about some of the interesting animals and plants that live here. This activity is easy. Water and healthy snacks provided. Park entrance is free. Turn right after the gate house and follow to the first parking lot. Location: 3549 Novato Boulevard, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Free Junior Chef Classes
    Williams-Sonoma, Corte Madera
    Saturday, 10 am
    Cook up family fun by joining us for a series of classes designed by Jennifer Tyler Lee, creator of the award-winning food game Crunch a Color and author of The 52 New Foods Challenge cookbook. This class will boost creativity and confidence by empowering children to make healthy smoothies in the blender. Suitable for ages 5–13. Location: The Village Corte Madera. For more info, visit their website.
  • STEAM Saturdays: Earth Science
    San Rafael Library
    Saturday, 11–11:45 am

    Join us for STEAM powered stories, rhymes, songs, crafts, experiments, and sensory experiences for preschool children ages 3–6 and their caregivers. This Saturday, Earth Science. Location: 1100 E Street, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Experience Elephant Seals
    Elephant Seal Overlook, Chimney Rock, Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 11 am–4 pm
    Weekends and holidays, late December–April. View an elephant seal colony through binoculars and scopes. A special 30-minute slide program about elephant seals may be available at the Lifeboat Station at Chimney Rock, depending on staffing availability. Check at one of the Visitor Centers for whether the slide program is being offered. Visitors will need to take the winter shuttle bus from Drake's Beach. For moore info, call (415) 669-1534 or visit their website.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for December 26, 27 & 28

December 24, 2014
Whale watching point reyes lighthouse
Visit Point Reyes Lighthouse this weekend for the start of whale watching season.

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.

You can also hit the ice at Marin on Ice or another Bay Area seasonal skating rink, which will be open during the holidays. Check out our guide to local ice skating here.

Friday, December 26

  • Learn to Skate at McInnis
    McInnis Park, San Rafael
    Friday, 11 am–1 pm

    Join us at the McInnis Skate Park where rangers will offer tips and techniques for beginners as well as ways to attack features that build confidence and skill. This event is ideal for all ages. All skill levels are welcome and no experience is necessary. Wear comfortable athletic clothing and sturdy shoes. Don’t forget to bring your board, helmet, and pads. Rain will cancel. Park entrance is free. Location: 310 Smith Ranch Road, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Boswick the Clown's Variety Show
    Un-Scripted Theatre, San Francisco
    Friday–Sunday, 11 am

    Former Ringling Brothers Clown Boswick is famous for his antics, his playfulness and being able to make children laugh with hysterics. Join Boswick at the beautiful Un-Scripted Theatre, just two blocks from Union Square, in the heart of San Francisco's Theatre District. Boswick the Clown presents clown sketches, juggling, and story telling in an intimate setting. Your children will laugh till they're red in the face! Tickets: $15. Location: 533 Sutter Street. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker
    War Memorial Opera House

    Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 2 & 7 pm
    San Francisco Ballet’s awe-inspiring production is like no other, with colorful, larger-than-life scenery, over 200 dazzling costumed characters, and of course Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score performed live by the world-class San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Performances of Nutcracker run through December 29. Ticket prices start at $26. For more info, call (415) 865-2000 or visit their website.
  • LEGO Play Day
    Mill Valley Public Library
    Friday, 2:30–4 pm

    Get in touch with your inner engineer! Free play with LEGO supports creativity, problem solving, and reading skills—and it's fun! Free, no sign-up required. For ages 5 and up. Location: Creekside Room, Mill Valley Library, 375 Throckmorton Avenue. For more information, visit their website.
  • Le Cirque de Bohème Holiday Circus
    Cornerstone Sonoma
    Friday, 5 pm, Saturday, 1 & 5 pm

    This Christmas, Cornerstone Sonoma presents a winter circus for the holidays by Le Cirque de Bohème. Experience the magic of a 1920s style circus based on the French tradition, featuring a magician, contortionist, jugglers, mimes, an eccentric clown, a knife-thrower, and other assorted denizens of 1920s Paris. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $15 for kids under 15. Last year many of these performances sold out early, so get your tickets soon. Order tickets online. Location: 23570 Highway 121, Sonoma. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Zoo Lights
    San Francisco Zoo
    Friday–Sunday, 5–8 pm

    Come get a feeling for the San Francisco Zoo at night under magical holiday lights! Make your way from Entry Village to the Elinor Friend Playground for some magical playtime under the stars. Stop by to see Santa Claus to put in some last-minute requests. Grab some hot apple cider or cocoa and head over to the Playfield Lawn pay a visit to Santa's special reindeer Belle, Holly, Peppermint, and Velvet. And there will be light snow flurries at Zoo Lights, so bundle up! $7 adults, $5 kids 4–14, free 3 and under. For more information, visit their website.

Saturday, December 27

  • 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 enjoy family entertainment (9:30–10:30 am). For more info, visit their website.
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse
    Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 9 am–3:30 pm

    Go see the whales out at the Point Reyes Light House and Chimney Rock. Shuttle buses leave Drakes Beach every 15–20 minutes. The cost is $7 per person. Children under 16 are free. No cars allowed at Point Reyes Light House on weekends and holidays December 26 thr. For more info, visit their website.
  • Nature Walk at King Mountain
    King Mountain Open Space Preserve, Kentfield
    Saturday, 9–11 am
    Take a two-mile trek through your local forest and connect to its natural wonders with Ranger Ian McLorg. This will be an easy to moderate hike exploring the King Mountain Loop Trail. Learn about the area’s unique natural resources and features through some fun, interactive activities. Dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes (it could be muddy or slippery), and bring water and snacks. Meet at the gate at the end of Ridgecrest Road in Kentfield. For more information, visit their website.
  • Paint with Bubbles
    Sonoma County Children's Museum, Santa Rosa
    Saturday, 10:30 am-noon

    Join us to see all the different types of art you can make using soap and water. For ages 10 and under. Programs are free with admission to the Museum. Location: 1835 W. Steele Lane, Santa Rosa. For more info, call (707) 546-4069 or visit their website.
  • STEAM Saturdays: Gravity Painting and Color Mixing
    San Rafael Library
    Saturday, 11–11:45 am

    Join us for STEAM powered stories, rhymes, songs, crafts, experiments, and sensory experiences for preschool children ages 3–6 and their caregivers. This Saturday, Gravity Painting and Color Mixing. Location: 1100 E Street, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.

'Tis the Season for Science at the California Academy of Sciences

December 20, 2014

Cal AcademyThis winter break, take in some holiday cheer and meet some real live reindeer at San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Through Sunday, January 4, you can take in not only classic Cal Academy sights like the giant T-Rex skeleton, aquarium, planetarium, rain forest, and African hall, but special winter-themed programming and attractions as well as part of its "'Tis the Season for Science" lineup.

Visit with Willow and Yukon, a pair of live, six-year-old reindeer, in the east garden and learn about how they live in their cold northern homeland. Then, step inside the Snowman Theater to see Roaming with Reindeer, a family-friendly show that explores what life on the tundra is like for these amazing creatures.

While you're there, you'll also enjoy indoor snow flurries, caroling special holiday performances, and more. You can even meet "Santa Claude", the Academy's albino alligator mascot, and watch "Scuba Santa" at work in the Steinhart Aquarium.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for December 19, 20 & 21

December 19, 2014
the Nisja's Bear's House in Marinwood
Visit the Mickey Mouse House in Marinwood this weekend. It's open nightly from 6–10 pm.

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.

There's also holiday ice skating at numerous locations throughout the Bay Area, opportunities to visit with Santa Claus at local shopping centers, and amazing decorated holiday houses. Also, check out our North Bay Christmas Tree Farms and Lots article.

Friday, December 19

  • Family Holiday Tea
    Haas-Lilienthal House, San Francisco
    Friday & Saturday, noon & 3 pm

    Celebrate the holidays by stepping back in time through the doors of the festively-decorated Haas-Lilienthal House for a traditional Victorian afternoon tea. Crown & Crumpet promises to delight with its perfectly-blended pots of tea, savory finger sandwiches, scrumptious scones and holiday sweets. Tea will be served in the formal dining room and parlors. Tickets: $48 adults, $24 for children 12 and under. Location: For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker
    War Memorial Opera House

    Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 2 & 7 pm
    San Francisco Ballet’s awe-inspiring production is like no other, with colorful, larger-than-life scenery, over 200 dazzling costumed characters, and of course Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score performed live by the world-class San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Performances of Nutcracker run through December 29. Ticket prices start at $26. For more info, call (415) 865-2000 or visit their website.
  • Family Concert: A Charlie Brown Christmas—Live!
    San Francisco Symphony, Davies Hall
    Friday, 4 pm, Saturday, 2 pm & Sunday, 2 and 7:30 pm

    Iconic Peanuts characters come to life in this colorful live-action performance, with animated backgrounds on the big screen, dancing, singing, and more—all with live accompaniment by the Symphony, Chorus, dancers, and narrators. This unique variety show opens with vocalist Lisa Vroman, the SFS Chorus, and the Symphony performing holiday classics. Come early and enjoy a family-friendly reception. The lobbies will be filled with festive decorations and activities, including gigantic trees, holiday photo booths, and special Peanuts décor. Tickets $12.50 and up; 17 and under half-price. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Zoo Lights
    San Francisco Zoo
    Friday–Sunday, 5–8 pm

    Come get a feeling for the San Francisco Zoo at night under magical holiday lights! Make your way from Entry Village to the Elinor Friend Playground for some magical playtime under the stars. Stop by to see Santa Claus to put in some last-minute requests. Grab some hot apple cider or cocoa and head over to the Playfield Lawn pay a visit to Santa's special reindeer Belle, Holly, Peppermint, and Velvet. And there will be light snow flurries at Zoo Lights, so bundle up! $7 adults, $5 kids 4–14, free 3 and under. For more information, visit their website.
  • Le Petit Cirque de Noël
    Marin County Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Friday, 6–7:15 pm

    Let Petit Cirque de Noël presents A Magic Box under the Big Tent at Marin Country Mart. Tickets: free for children age 18 and under; $15 adults. Tickets required for seating and can be purchased at the Trading Post or on Brown Paper Tickets. To reserve tickets, call the Trading Post at (415) 448-5043. For more info, visit their website.
  • Young Performers Theatre: Peter Pan
    Fort Mason Center, San Francisco
    Friday, 6:30 pm, Saturday & Sunday,1 & 3:30 pm

    The Young Performers Theatre presents Peter Pan. For all ages. Tickets: $10. Location: Building C, Room 300, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.

 Saturday, December 20

  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10 am–2 pm adjacent to the farmer's market, arts and crafts by SCRAP from 10 am–1:30 pm, and children's entertainment from 9:30–10:30 am. Santa Claus will be at the Poppy Store from 11 am to 2 pm for complimentary photos. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Walk: A Winter Wonderland 

Cool Camps for Winter Break in Marin and Beyond

December 12, 2014

studio 4 artLooking for something fun for the kids to do over the upcoming winter break? Check out some of the great winter day camps here in Marin and San Francisco.

  • Studio 4 Art
    1133 Grant Avenue
    Novato

    (415) 596-5546
    Campers will have the choice of many different projects each day. Popular events such as clay, sewing, cartooning, and painting will be highlighted, all tought by Studio 4 Art's professional artist teachers. The camps are December 22–24, 29–31 and January 2 from 9:30 am–1:30 pm for ages 4–14. A sibling discount is offered. For more info, visit www.studio4art.net.
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum Winter Break Camps
    557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito
    (415) 339-3900

    The BADM is offing two two-day sessions: Art Attack on December 22 and 23 and Shipwrecks and Treasure Hunts on December 29 and 30. Both run from 9 am–3 pm and are for children ages 4–7. In Art Attack, explore your artistic potential and express yourself through paint, sculpture, nature objects, recycled materials, and the very popular messy art curriculum. Shipwrecks and Treasure Hunts campers will sing chanteys, make maps, dig for artifacts and treasures, and discover strange sea creatures. Cost: Supporting Family Members: $210 per session; general: $235 per session. Note: no extended care available. For more info, visit www.baykidsmuseum.org.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for December 12, 13 & 14

December 12, 2014
The Rombeiros' Christmas House
Visit the Rombeiro's Christmas House in Novato this weekend.

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.

There's also holiday ice skating at numerous locations throughout the Bay Area, opportunities to visit with Santa Claus at local shopping centers, and amazing decorated holiday houses. Also, check out our North Bay Christmas Tree Farms and Lots article.

Friday, December 12

  • Snow Days Family Fundraiser
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Friday-Sunday, 10 am–4 pm

    Bundle up the whole family and come to the museum's newest family fundraiser: Snow Days. Explore the museum transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with REAL SNOW! Young museum visitors will enjoy playing in the snow, learning the science of snow, and participating in special winter-themed activities and programs. It’s sure to be a fantastically frozen good time. Tickets: Members $10; General $15. Location: 557 McReynolds Road, Fort Baker, Sausalito. For more info, call (415) 339-3900 or visit their website.
  • San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker
    War Memorial Opera House

    Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 2 & 7 pm
    San Francisco Ballet’s awe-inspiring production is like no other, with colorful, larger-than-life scenery, over 200 dazzling costumed characters, and of course Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score performed live by the world-class San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Performances of Nutcracker begin on Friday, December 12 and run through December 29. Ticket prices start at $26. For more info, call (415) 865-2000 or  visit their website.
  • Marinwood's WinterFest Family Event
    Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
    Friday, 5–7 pm
    Come celebrate the holiday season at Marinwood's annual WinterFest! Ticket prices include: photos with Santa, arts and crafts, face painting, bounce house, holiday treats, live music and more... Tickets: $10 in advance kids ages 2–12, $12 at the door. Adults are free! Location: 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Zoo Lights Preview
    San Francisco Zoo
    Friday–Sunday, 5–8 pm

    As a warm up for the full-on fun of Zoo Lights, the zoo is extending hours for these special weekend nights in December. Come enjoy the San Francisco Zoo at night under magical holiday lights. Shop at the all-new Holiday Marketplace, see the reindeer romp, enjoy hot apple cider and cocoa at Cafe Playfield, and hum along to seasonal music as you play in the Elinor Friend Playground. Adults $5, kids 14 and under $5, kids 3 and under: free. For more information, visit their website.
  • Le Petit Cirque de Noël
    Marin County Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Friday–Sunday, 6–7:15 pm

    Let Petit Cirque de Noël presents A Magic Box under the Big Tent at Marin Country Mart. Tickets: free for children age 18 and under; $15 adults. Tickets required for seating and can be purchased at the Trading Post or on Brown Paper Tickets. To reserve tickets, call the Trading Post at (415) 448-5043. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, December 13

  • Breakfast with Santa
    Ross Valley Fire Station, San Anselmo
    Saturday, 8 am
    & 10 am
    Bring the family to the annual Breakfast with Santa event at the Ross Valley Fire Station. There will also be a toy drive so be sure to bring a toy! Limited seating. Tickets: $6 children, $8 adults in advance or $8 and $10 adult at the door. Register by calling (415) 258-4640. Location: 777 San Anselmo Avenue, San Anselmo. For more info, call (415) 258-4600 or visit their website.
  • Breakfast with Santa
    San Rafael Community Center
    Saturday, 8:30 am & 10 am

    Breakfast with Santa features pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice, milk, coffee and a surprise treat from Santa! Two seatings: 8:30am (doors open at 8:15 am, barcode: 22661) and 10 am (doors open at 10 am, barcode: 22662). Cost: $5 children, $7 seniors/adults. Pre-registration is required; please specify seating time when registering. Share the joy by bringing a can of food to donate to the Marin Community Food Bank. Location: 618 B Street, San Rafael. For more info call (415) 485-3333 or  visit their website.
  • Holiday Fun at the Farmer's Market
    Marin County Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm
    This holiday celebration will be packed with fun family-friendly activities, including writing and sending a letter to Santa, complimentary photos with Santa, children's entertainment, holiday cookie decorating, pony rides, face painting, and seasonal music and caroling. Snack on festive holiday treats and beverages, including savory toddies for adults, Hoppy Holidaze Christmas Ale from Marin Brewing Co. and warm apple cider. In addition to a great selection of farmers' market organic produce, pastured meats, artisan cheeses, baked goods, nuts, jams, confections, wreaths and holiday flowers, you can also shop for unique farm inspired locally made arts and crafts. Donations of gently used and new toys will be accepted. For more info, visit their website.
  • Breakfast with Santa
    Belvedere Community Center
    Saturday, 9–10:30 am
    Music, crafts, a tasty breakfast, and a visit with the Big Man! Photo opportunity with Santa, so bring your camera. Cost: $15 per person. Please call (415) 435-4355 for reservations. Reserve your seats in advance as space is limited and tickets will not be available at the door. Location: 450 San Rafael Avenue, Belvedere. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bookmarks Annual Teddy Bear Tea
    Belvedere-Tiburon Library
    Saturday & Sunday, 9:30 am, 10:30 am & 11:30 am

    You and your favorite bear are welcome at the Teddy Bear Tea. Wear your holiday finest, and enjoy refreshments, music, stories and crafts. Proceeds will benefit the Children's Library. Tickets $25 per person. For children 2 and up. Location: 1501 Tiburon Boulevard, Tiburon. For more info, call (415) 789-2665 or visit their website.
  • Let it Snow, Novato!
    Novato City Hall
    Saturday, 10 am–5 pm, carriage rides from 5:30 pm–8:30 pm

    Kids... put on your mittens and come play in the snow. Sleds and all other festivities will be provided free of charge. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will arrive by fire truck at 11:30 am and kids will be able to get their pictures taken with the jolly pair. There will be free candy canes and balloons. Children will also be able to enter a coloring contest and get their faces painted. Live music and more. Free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Wreath Making Workshop
    McNears Beach Park, San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm

    Bring the beauty of nature to your front door with a festive, homemade wreath! Join rangers at McNears Beach Park for a day of sipping hot chocolate, listening to holiday tunes, and creating your own natural wreath to take home. Fresh greenery, pinecones and other natural materials will be provided. You may bring your own decorations to use. This event is ideal for ages 7 and up; no experience necessary. Rain does not cancel this event. RSVP appreciated but not required. For questions or to RSVP contact Ranger Sarah Burkhart at SBurkhart@marincounty.org. Location: 201 Cantera Way, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sausalito Winterfest
    Downtown Sausalito
    Saturday, 10 am–7 pm

    Kids holiday activities take place from 10 am–2 pm, and the Holiday Fine Art and Craft Fair takes place from 10 am–7 pm. For more information, visit their website.
  • A Holiday Magic Toy Box Tea at Falkirk
    1408 Mission Avenue at "E" Street, San Rafael
    Saturday and Sunday, seatings at noon & 3 pm
    The tea is an old-fashioned tour de force in the elegant Queen Anne Victorian Falkirk Mansion. Homemade tea sandwiches and sweets are served, along with tea, hot chocolate, and other beverages. Features include life-sized toys, a raffle, and plenty of photo opportunities. Make sure you bring your teddy bear or other favorite toy! This extremely popular event is by reservation only and always sells our early! Reserve your spot by calling 1-800-838-3006 or online here. The cost is $25 for adults and $22 for children, or $45 for an adult-and-child combination ticket. For more info, visit www.falkirkculturalcenter.org.
  • Kids Book Event: A Cookie for Santa
    Book Passage, Corte Madera
    Saturday, noon

    Author Stephanie Shaw reads her book, "A Cookie For Santa." "The Gingerbread Man" mixes it up with "The Night Before Christmas" in this cleverly constructed Christmas story about a smart cookie who avoids becoming Santa's midnight snack. Location: 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. For more info, call (415) 927-0960 or visit their website.
  • Fifth Annual Teddy Bear Tea à la Française
    Red Hill Church of San Anselmo
    Saturday, 11 am–12:30 pm
    Come for tea and hot cocoa, finger sandwiches, holiday cookies, and fun! You and your little ones will enjoy tea service, traditional live holiday music, a fireside telling of The story of Christmas in English and French, and a professional photo seating! Each child should bring his or her own teddy bear (or nounours) to share tea time with and dress in dapper holiday style! Free (donations are accepted but not expected). RSVP required at amber@lpjkids.com. Location: 921 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Anselmo.
  • San Francisco Bazaar Holiday Show
    Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason

    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–6 pm
    Celebrate the eighth year of this locally produced art and craft show. Shop the handmade market, participate in DIY workshops, enter the Crafty Raffle, eat local food, enjoy live entertainment, and more. First 200 people in the door get a custom tote bad and limited-edition print. Free admission. For more info, visit their website.
  • Forest Wreath & Garland Workshop
    San Francisco Presidio
    Saturday & Sunday, noon–5 pm

    Join us for this all-ages event and learn how to make a unique "field and forest" wreath made entirely from natural materials collected from around the Presidio. All supplies will be provided for this free workshop, however, we encourage participants to bring along their own embellishments such as ribbons, old cards, fabric scraps, and small mementos to make your wreath a one-of-a-kind piece of art! Location: Pershing Square, Main Post at Arguello Boulevard and Sheridan Avenue in the Presidio. Free. Reserve your spot here. For more info, visit their website.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for December 5, 6 & 7

December 5, 2014
Lighting of the Snowmen at Cornerstone Sonoma
The annual Lighting of the Snowmen takes place this Sunday at CornerStone Sonoma.

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.

There's also holiday ice skating at numerous locations throughout the Bay Area, as well as opportunities to visit with Santa Claus at local shopping centers. Visit Marin's Amazing Lighted Holiday Houses! Also, check out our  North Bay Christmas Tree Farms and Lots 2014 article.

Friday, December 5

  • The Petaluma School of Ballet presents The Nutcracker
    Evert B. Person Theatre, Sonoma State University
    Friday 7:30 pm, Saturday 1:30 pm & 6:30 pm, Sunday 1:30 pm
    The Petaluma School of Ballet and Petaluma City Ballet present The Nutcracker. Tickets: $25 adults; $15 children 12 and under, students, and seniors; $2 more at the door. Tickets available at the Dance Shop at 19 Kentucky Street or the Petaluma School of Ballet at 110 Howard Street in Petaluma. For more info, call (707) 765-2660 or visit their website.
  • Dickens Family Victorian Holiday Party
    Falkirk Cultural Center, San Rafael
    Friday, 6 pm

    Join Charles Dickens and his family for a joyous evening of Victorian revelry at the Falkirk Mansion in San Rafael. Partake in a holiday treat as you go back in time to Victorian England and meet Charles Dickens, listen to him read from his famous works, watch his characters come alive (look out for Scrooge), meet and greet the true Father Christmas, play Victorian parlor games, dance and sing with our Victorian family and make traditional holiday crafts. Light food and drink will be served. A true family event. Tickets: $10 adults, $7 children. Order tickets at (800) 838-3006 or online here. Location: 1408 Mission Avenue, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Presidio Community Tree Lighting
    San Francisco Presidio Main Post
    Friday, 5:30–6:30 pm

    Kick off the holiday season by joining the Presidio community for its traditional tree-lighting ceremony, with free holiday craft activities for kids and caroling from the Golden Gate Carolers. Light refreshments will be served in the Presidio YMCA gymnasium for all to enjoy. Afterwards, be sure to bring a flashlight and experience the park in the dark on a magical 20-minute, guided lantern-lit walk through the forest. Free; reservations suggested but not required. For more info, visit their website.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for November 28, 29 & 30

November 27, 2014

Garlock Tree Farm

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this holiday weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

There's also holiday ice skating at numerous locations throughout the Bay Area, as well as opportunities to visit with Santa Claus at local shopping centers. Also, check out our guide to North Bay Christmas tree farms and Lots.

Friday, November 28

  • Gingerbread Builders Workshop
    Bon Air Center, Greenbrae
    Friday-Sunday, 9 am-9 pm

    Bring the kiddos out to build a sweet home of their dreams. Gingerbread kits include house, candy and bag of royal Icing. Choose from 3 different sizes that range in price from $31-$52. Location: Bon Aire Shopping Center Suite #302. Reserve your gingerbread kit here. For questions, (415) 720-2193 or visit their website.
  • The Great Dickens Christmas Fair
    Cow Palace, San Francisco
    Friday-Sunday, 10 am–7 pm

    The Dickens Fair runs on weekends through December 21 from 10 am–7 pm. Experience Victorian London with hundreds of costumed players, shops offering one-of-a-kind gifts and Christmas treasures, dining, and pubs. Meet Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, Tiny Tim, Jules Verne, David Copperfield, Charles Darwin, and 700 costumed characters. Of course, Father Christmas himself will be on hand to join in the fun. Purchase tickets here. For more info, visit their website.
  • 35th Annual Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland
    Downtown San Rafael
    Friday, noon–8 pm & Saturday, 9 am–noon
    Downtown San Rafael will once again commence the holiday season with its Winter Wonderland, Parade of Lights, and Holiday Marketplace with arts and crafts that starts the Friday after Thanksgiving. On Friday: free snow sledding, kids activities (noon–4:30 pm & 6–8 pm), Holiday Marketplace (noon–8 pm) and the Parade of Lights (5:30 pm) with Santa and Mrs. Claus's arrival and a tree-lighting immediately after. On Saturday, kids activities and snow sledding continues (9 am–noon). Location: Fourth Street from B Street to Lootens Place in downtown San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Ghirardelli Square Annual Tree Lighting
    San Francisco
    Friday,  4–9 pm

    Enjoy free live entertainment for the entire family throughout the day culminating with the lighting of the Ghirardelli Square tree at 5:30 pm. This year’s festivities will include live music, children’s entertainment and a visit from Santa. Location: Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point Street (at Beach and Larkin), San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Macy's 25th Annual Union Square Tree Lighting
    Union Square Park, San Francisco
    Friday, 6 pm

    Macy's gift to the city and San Francisco's most recognized Christmas tree will be officially lit in Union Square at 6:40 pm. Macy's 25th Annual Tree Lighting will take place in Union Square Park between Sutter and Post and Geary and Stockton Streets, right across from the front of Macy's. For more info, visit their website.
  • Cinnabar Theater Young Repertory Presents The Wizard of OZ
    Cinnabar Theater, Petaluma
    Friday & Saturday, 7:30 pm

    Follow the yellow brick road with Cinnabar's Young Rep as they present the classic musical live on stage. This production of The Wizard of Oz is performed entirely by talented young artists aged 7–18. More than 65 kids take the stage to bring this beloved story to life. Admission: $15 adults, $10 your 21 and under. Location: 3333 Petaluma Boulevard North. For more info and tickets, visit their website.

Saturday, November 29

  • Fitness Hike: Hoo Koo E Koo to Huckleberry Trail
    Kent Woodlands
    Saturday, 9 am-noon

    Families can explore Baltimore Canyon and the Blithedale and Corte Madera ridges on a fast-paced hike with Ranger Ian McLorg. We will take the Hoo Koo E Koo Trail up to the ridge, come down the Huckleberry Trail and then head back to Crown Rd (approximately 5 miles total). Dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water and high energy snacks. We request that no pets (except service animals) attend. This is a rain or shine event but high winds will cancel.  Meet at the gate at the end of Crown Rd in Kent Woodlands. For more info call Ranger Ian McLorg at (415) 473-2816 or visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10 am–2 pm adjacent to the farmer's market and live music from Scott the Storyteller from 9:30–10:30 am. For more info, visit their website.
  • Gingerbread Architecture Extravaganza
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday & Sunday, 9:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 2 and 3 pm

    Kick off your holiday season with Gingerbread Architecture. Come to the Museum and we'll provide a kit for you and your family with everything you need to construct a creative holiday home, including gingerbread house pieces, icing and festive holiday candies. Cost per kit is $20 (Museum admission for non-members is not included). To register, visit their website.
  • Family Science Open House
    Buck Institute, Novato

    Saturday, 10 am–2 pm
    Make plans now to take a break from holiday shopping and Thanksgiving leftovers. Bring friends, family and visiting relatives to a world-class research Institute and get first-hand experience with science aimed at extending healthspan—the healthy years of life. Every half hour we will have a science experiment in our Learning Center for children of all ages. Free and open to the public; free parking. For more info, visit their website.
  • Reindeer Romp at SF Zoo
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–4 pm

    Reindeer Romp returns with Santa's favorite reindeer friends Belle, Holly, Peppermint, and Velvet. These four majestic animals mark the return of the holidays at the Zoo and will be on exhibit through New Year’s Day. Stop by the reindeer area on the Playfield Lawn near the Elinor Friend Playground and check out the real story behind these majestic creatures. Free with Zoo admission. For more info, visit their website.
  • Let it Snow! at Treasure Island
    San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am-5 pm

    Bring the family to this weekend's SNOWvember at the Treasure Island Flea Market. Come shop and enjoy more than 20 tons of snow. Enjoy more than 400 local artists, makers, designers and collectors. The snow falls at 11 am each day. Cost: $3 per person and children 12 and under are free. For more info, visit their website.
  • 57th San Francisco International Auto Show
    Moscone Center
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–10 pm
    The International Auto Show features the world’s major manufacturers displaying their 2015 model cars, SUVs, trucks, and vans. There will also be classic cars, race cars, car simulators, hot rods, and more. Admission $10, children 12 and younger free when accompanied by an adult. Tickets at the door only. Location: Moscone Convention Center, 747 Howard Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Sing-Along: Your Song My Song!
    La Peña Cultural, Berkeley
    Saturday, 10:30–11:30 am

    ysmsJaime Lee Currier and Eric Hart are Your Song My Song! We sing classic kids’ songs, Beatles, originals, sing-a-longs, finger-plays, chants and rock ‘n roll! For ages. Cost: $5 Kids, $6 Adults. Location: 2113 Rose St., Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Holiday Craferino
    Petaluma Veterans Memorial Hall
    Saturday, 11 am-4 pm

    The Petaluma Downtown Craft Mart presents its sixth annual “Holiday Crafterino” show, Saturday November 29th from 11am to 4pm at the Petaluma Veterans Memorial Building. The show brings together the best in handmade crafts and gifts and raises funds for several worthy causes. Admission: $1 donation. Location: 1094 Petaluma Blvd South, Petaluma. For more info, visit their website.
  • SFEtsy Indie Holiday Emporium
    Embarcadero, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–5 pm

    Start your holiday shopping at this weekend's Etsy event. The SFEtsy Indie Holiday Emporium is an annual market showcasing the SFEtsy team members and other artisan crafters and makers. See a list of sellers here. Location: Pier 35, 1526 Embarcadero, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Santa's Riverboat Arrival
    Petaluma River Turning Basin
    Saturday, 11:30 am
    Santa and Mrs. Claus sail into the Petaluma River Turning Basin aboard a tugboat at noon and disembark in the Golden Eagle Shopping Center on East Washington St. to greet children and distribute candy. Performers will be on hand at the shopping center starting at 11:30 am. For more info, visit their website.
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