Marin Weekend Family Fun for December 30, 31 & January 1

December 31, 2016

Point Reyes Lighthouse Visit the Point Reyes Lighthouse this weekend to watch for migrating gray whales.

It's whale watching season! Read more about visiting Point Reyes National Seashore to look for these migrating giants. There's also holiday ice skating at numerous locations throughout the Bay Area.

Friday, December 30

  • Holiday Ice Skating in Union Square
    San Francisco
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–11:30 pm

    Union Square, San Francisco's main shopping district, gets into the ice skating spirit during the holiday season with an outdoor ice rink sponsored by Safeway. 90-minute sessions start on every even hour. Admission: $11 for adults, 7 children 8 and under. Skate rental $6. Information: (415) 781-2688 or visit their website.
  • Marin on Ice
    Northgate Mall, San Rafael
    Friday & Sunday, noon–9 pm; Saturday, noon–10 pm

    Hit the ice at Marin's only outdoor ice skating rink (open New Year's Day). This season's rink features 6,400 square feet of real ice. Cost: $15 per person all-day; skate rental included. Location: Oak Tree Plaza, Northgate Mall, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Nike Missile Site Open House
    Marin Headlands, Sausalito
    Friday & Saturday, 12:30–3:30 pm

    Unique in the National Park Service, this restored Cold War anti-aircraft missile site has intriguing stories to tell. Take a ranger-guided tour of this restored facility, and learn about its history from volunteers, many of whom served at sites like. Free. Read about our visit here. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Zoo Lights
    San Francisco Zoo
    Friday, 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! $8 adults, $5 kids 4–14, free 3 and under. For more information, visit their website.
  • Zoo Lights
    Oakland Zoo
    Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 5:30–9 pm,
    Hundreds of thousands of LED lights brighten Oakland's night sky. Highlights include a candy cane lane themed rides area, a night time adventure on the Outback Express train, rocking around the Christmas trees and a light show that's sure to blow out any bah-hum-bugs. ZooLights is a separate event and is not included in regular Zoo Admission. $8 adults, $7 children 2–14 and seniors 65+, free for children under 2 and adults over 80. For more info, visit their website.
  • Rombeiro Christmas House
    Devonshire Drive, Novato

    Friday–Sunday, 6–10 pm
    Their home is something that truly has to be seen to be believed, and photos don't really do it justice. There are something like 140,000 lights as well as countless figurines, dioramas, and decorations adorning the front and side yards, walls, and roof of the Rombeiro house. If you think the outside is impressive, then you need to go on inside and get a healthy dose of Christmas spirit. You'll find model trains, more figurines, Christmas trees, and the biggest lighted holiday village you've ever seen. Location: 34 Devonshire Drive, off of Center Road, Novato. For more info, read about our visit here.
  • Tactile Dome Special Evening Hours
    Exploratorium, San Francisco
    Friday, 6:15 & 7:30 pm

    The museum closes at 5 pm, but the after-hours interactive fun continues. Take an excursion through total darkness in the Tactile Dome. Crawl, slide, and bump your way through the pitch-dark Dome using your sense of touch as your only guide through its chambers and mazes. For ages 7 and up. Admission: $15, $12 members. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, December 31

  • Noon Year's Eve
    Bay Area Discovery Museum
    , Sausalito
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm
    Ring in the New Year with your little ones at the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s Noon Year’s Eve! This kid-friendly affair includes music by DJ ManCub, a celebratory ball drop at noon, dancing, and various art activities like crown making. In addition, enjoy access to the museum’s indoor and outdoor exhibits like Lookout Cove and Bay Hall. (Note: Iceless Skating Rink is closed during Noon Year’s Eve.) 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). Enjoy complimentary latkes from the Hanukkah Hut, too. For more info, visit their website.
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse
    Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 9:30 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, 2015 through late March 2016. For more info, visit their website.
  • Annual Japanese Bell Ringing Ceremony
    Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
    Saturday, 9:30–noon

    Ring in the New Year by taking a swing at a giant 2,100-pound, 16th-century, Japanese temple bell at the Asian Art Museum. Participants may take turns ringing the museum’s bronze bell to leave behind any unfortunate experiences, regrettable deeds, and ill luck of the previous year. This time slot is exclusive to members. Bell-ringing opens to general admission at 11:30 am. First come, first served. Pick up tickets to ring the bell at the admission desk. Location: 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • New Year's Eve Celebration
    Habitot Children's Museum, Berkeley
    Saturday, 9:30 am–4:30 pm
    Scoop up confetti to make glorious collage artwork and toss it in the air to watch it swirl in the wind tunnel. Plus, every child will get to take home a free noisemaker.  Admission applies. Location: 2065 Kittredge Street, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!
    Charles M. Schulz Museum, Santa Rosa
    Saturday, 10 am
    4 pm
    Ring in the New Year with Snoopy, a balloon drop, and a root beer toast at noon and 3 pm. Enjoy hands-on activities for kids! Featuring Santa Rosa's only up-down and baby balloon drops. The Charles M. Schulz Museum is located at 2301 Hardies Lane in Santa Rosa. For more info, visit their website.
  • Creek Walk to See Spawning Coho Salmon
    Samuel P Taylor Park, San Geronimo
    Saturday, 10:30 am–1 pm
    With the first hard rains in the watershed comes the beginning of spawning season for Coho salmon. SPAWN-trained naturalists lead creek walks to explore the majesty of the Lagunitas Creek Watershed. Tour will meet at the front Kiosk of Camp Taylor and embark on a journey to multiple creek sites in search of some of these critically endangered salmon. Tours are open to all ages and abilities. Cost: $10 per person donation requested. Register here.
  • Experience Elephant Seals
    Elephant Seal Overlook, Chimney Rock, Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 11 am–4 pm
    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 more info, call (415) 669-1534 or visit their website.
  • New Year's Eve Balloon Drop
    Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland
    Saturday, 11 am–4:30 pm
    Ring in the New Year without staying up all night! Come to Chabot and celebrate strokes of midnight from around the world at 11am, 1pm, and 4pm! Kids count down and catch hundreds of colorful balloons as they drop from the ceiling and participate in fun activities to receive a special prize. Now the kids can ring in the New Year without staying up past their bedtime! Cost: $5 after museum admission. Space is limited, call (510) 336-7373 or visit online to reserve your spot. For more infomation, visit their website.
  • New Year's Eve Day Party
    Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley
    Saturday, noon–2 pm
    Count down to 2016 at our New Year's Eve Balloon Drop—held at 2 pm because, hard as we might try, not all of us can stay up until midnight. As you get showered with hundreds of balloons, raise your apple cider glass in a toast to all the growing and learning experiences your family will have at the Hall in the New Year. Free with admission. For more info, call (510) 642-5132 or visit their website.
  • Street Magic Live: The New Year's Eve Edition
    The Shelton Theater, San Francisco
    Saturday, 7 pm

    Ladies and gentlemen! It is almost that time of year again for the 2nd Annual Street Magic Live New Years Edition show. This show sold out last year and will this year. It features everything from magic, juggling, danger stunts and much more! This is a family friendly show that starts early and ends early so you can go bring in the new year with an amazing memory and still enjoy those fireworks! Tickets: $45. For more info, visit their website.
  • A Family Friendly New Year's Eve Party
    Playland-Not-At-The-Beach, El Cerrito
    Saturday, 8 pm–12:30 am

    Playland throws a New Year's celebration the entire family can enjoy! Play pinball, carnival games, and arcade games and sip sparkling cider. Guests pay one low price to enter and play all night: $30 for everyone ages 3 and up (no reservations required). Guests are welcome to bring snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. Location: 10979 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito. For more info, visit their website.
    • New Year's Eve Fireworks Celebration on the Bay
      Ferry Building near Pier 14, San Francisco
      Saturday, 11:30 pm

      Celebratory fireworks will launch from barges located 1,000 feet out in the Bay near Pier 14 (at Mission Street and the Embarcadero). Prime viewing spots will be south of the Ferry Building along the Embarcadero between Mission and Folsom Street or up high on one of the hills or upper Market Street.
    • Nike Missile Site Open House (see Friday for details).
    • Marin on Ice (see Friday for details)
    • The Rombeiro Christmas House (see Friday for details).
    • Holiday Ice Skating in Union Square (see Friday for details).
    • Oakland Zoo Lights (see Friday for details).
  • Sunday, January 1 - New Year's Day

    • Garden Free Day
      San Francisco Botanical Garden
      Sunday, 7:30 am–4 pm

      The San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park offers free admission for all on New Year's Day. Location: 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
    • Armstrong Redwoods First Day Hike
      Armstrong Redwoods SNR
      , Guerneville
      Sunday, 10 am–noon

      Ring in the New Year outside! This family-friendly hike is a fun and easy walk under the magnificent old growth redwood trees with stops to view the rushing waters of Fife Creek. The hike will be led by experienced docents from Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods. Participants are encouraged to dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes, bring a water bottle and snacks. Free. For more info, visit their website.
    • Canine Appreciation Day
      McInnis Park, San Rafael
      Sunday, 2–4 pm

      Kick off 2017 by joining us for a pooch party! Bring your dogs (and humans too) for a free BBQ and raffle prizes. It will be an afternoon of fun and education with rangers and special guest speakers. We will discuss Marin County Parks rules and regulations as well as sensitive wildlife issues that all pet owners should know. This event is ideal for all ages. Friendly dogs are welcome, but must be leashed. Meet at Hillside picnic area. Location: 310 Smith Ranch Road, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
    • Whale watching in Point Reyes (see Saturday for details).
    • Experience Elephant Seals (see Saturday for details).
    • Marin on Ice (see Friday for details)
    • The Rombeiro Christmas House (see Friday for details).
    • Holiday Ice Skating in Union Square (see Friday for details).
    • Oakland Zoo Lights (see Friday for details).