Fun Places to Feed the Ducks in Marin

February 25, 2013

Feeding the ducksOne of childhood's time-honored rituals is heading down to a local pond and feeding leftover bread to the ducks. Not only is it fun for small children, but it helps get ride of that leftover bread in your pantry, too. Feeding the ducks is something my kids always loved to do, and even still enjoy, and there are a few great places in and around Marin County where hungry ducks are plentiful.

Of course feeding the ducks isn't without its risks—pesky and aggressive gulls and Canada geese often try to elbow their way into the action, and they're pretty much ubiquitous in the Bay Area these days. We always try to make sure the ducks get their fair share and try to find a way to outwit the avian interlopers!

The Marin Civic Center

The Marin Civic Center in San Rafael is home to a large pond that's home to numerous waterfowl. There's also a new playground, nice paved walking paths, lawns, picnic tables, and even an island. It's fun to go feed the ducks after an outing to the nearby farmers market on Thursdays and Sundays.

There's a large population of geese and gulls that hang out here, so keep an eye out for potential incursions by these winged bandits. The Marin Civic Center is located off Civic Center Drive, near North San Pedro Road, in northern San Rafael.

Scottsdale Pond

Novato's Scottsdale Pond, located right off Highway 101 at Rowland Boulevard, can seem like kind of an odd place for a park, but this pond across the freeway from the Vintage Oaks shopping center is home to plenty of ducks, and minimal seagulls and geese. This is also a popular spot for fishing, and there's a gazebo and benches.

The Cheese Factory

West Marin's Marin French Cheese Factory, usually known simply as "the Cheese Factory" has a large pond ringed by green lawns and picnic tables. Buy some of their delicious French-style cheese or other picnic supplies in the shop and sit back at a table while the little ones go about their duck feeding.

Plenty of Canada geese have decided to make the Cheese Factory's pond home, too, so expect them to show up for a snack, too. The Cheese Factory is located between Novato and Nicasio off of Point Reyes–Petaluma Road.

ducks in a pond in sonomaFeeding the ducks at the Marin Civic Center

The Sonoma Plaza

OK, so Sonoma isn't actually in Marin County, but it's a short drive away and one of our favorite places to visit on weekends. Sonoma's historic Plaza boasts shady picnic areas, two playgrounds, fountains, and of course a meandering duck pond. Sonoma also has pretty much all ducks and no gulls or geese.

The Sonoma Plaza is also ringed by numerous shops and restaurants, as well as a historic sites like Mission San Francisco Solano, the Sonoma Barracks, and the Toscano Hotel, so it's well worth a family outing, ducks or not. The Plaza is located at the end of Broadway, between Napa and Spain Streets, in the town of Sonoma.