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Marin Weekend Family Fun for October 20–22

October 20, 2017

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.

Check out our list of Halloween pumpkin patches in Marin and Sonoma counties—see our list here.

Friday, October 20

  • Santa Rosa Pumpkin Patch
    Santa Rosa
    Friday–Sunday, 9 am

    Santa Rosa Pumpkin Patch offers eight acres of pumpkins, a huge seven-acre corn maze, kiddy corn mazes, hay and sunflower mazes, jack-o-lantern tether ball, tire swings, a 10-bale-high hay pyramid, a huge jumpy pillow, pedal trike races, a corn play box, a petting zoo, face painting, and more. Location: 5157 Stony Point Road (at Rohnert Park Expressway). For more info, visit their website.
  • The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch
    Spring Hill Jersey Farm, Petaluma
    Friday–Sunday, 9 am–6 pm

    Pick your own organic pumpkin, dig for potatoes, take a tractor ride, visit farm animals, taste homemade ice cream and Spring Hill cheese, milk a cow, and get lost in the hay maze. Peter Pumpkin Patch also offers fresh fruits and vegetables and picnic baskets. Activities are free and so is the parking. This is a wonderful and fun pumpkin patch on a real working farm. Location: 4235 Spring Hill Road (off Bodega Ave.). For more info, call (707) 762-3446 or visit their website.
  • Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch
    Nicasio
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch offers a wide variety of certified organic pumpkins spread out in an expansive meadow on the farm. Kids activities: jumpy houses, inflatable slide, hay rides, pony rides, a petting zoo, farm animals to visit, a climbing wall, and face painting. Some of these attractions have an admission fee, and some are available only on weekends and select days. Shaded seating area with picnic tables, so you can relax and take in the scenery, listen to some great live music, and even eat lunch. If you arrive hungry, Big Jim's BBQ is on hand on weekends. Tim Cain performs on Sunday from 11 am to noon. Location: 5300 Nicasio Valley Road, Nicasio. Read our review here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Petaluma Pumpkin Patch
    550 Stony Point Road
    Friday & Saturday, 10 am–10 pm, Sunday, 10 am–6 pm
    Over 50 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds, as well as a 4-acre Amazing Corn Maze (admission $6, 5 and under free; $9 on Friday and Saturday nights 6–10 pm), farm animals, a zip line, weekend pony rides, face painting, jumpy houses and inflatables, food vendors, covered snack area, and more. Some of these attractions have an admission fee. For more info, visit their website.
  • McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch
    Petaluma
    Friday 1–9 pm, Saturday, 10 am–9 pm, Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Find the perfect pumpkin in McClelland's three-acre organic pumpkin field. Free admission includes pumpkin patch, petting farm animals (including cows, goats, and chickens), and watching cows being milked in the parlor. There's also a hay maze, kids' haunted hay house, hay rides, bounce houses, and u-pick squash, and the new Haunted Forest, as well as a farm store and a food cart serving organic grilled cheese sandwiches, organic milkshakes, organic popcorn, and espresso drinks. Read our review here.
  • Godmothers Pumpkin Patch
    St. Vincents, Marinwood
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    This long-time favorite pumpkin patch at St. Vincent's near Marinwood offers a variety of pumpkins as well as attractions and activities like bounce houses, a hay pile, face painting, snack shack, and a picnic area. Groups welcome. Read our review of St. Vincent's Pumpkin Patch. For more info, visit their website.
  • Tam Valley Haunted House
    Tam Valley Community Center, Mill Valley
    Friday–Sunday, 3:30–7:30 pm (depending on ages)

    The theme for TCSD's annual Tam Valley Haunted House is "Summon the Reaper". The Haunted House has three different tours: 3:30–4:30 pm: Not Scary, for children under 8 with all the lights on and a fun tour of the different areas; 5-6:30 pm: Scary, for children over 9; closed 6:30–7:30 pm to feed the volunteer monsters then back open 7:30–9 pm for a truly horrifying experience. Cost: $6 per person. Location: 203 Marin Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Teen Food Craft: Pumpkin Candy
    Civic Center Library, San Rafael
    Friday, 4–5:30 pm

    Join us every third Friday of the month for a fun craft. This month we’re making candy! Materials provided. Please arrive on time to hear the instructions. For students in the 6th–12th grades only. No registration necessary. This event will be held in Room 410B, down the hall from the library. For more info, visit their website.
  • 6th Annual Ohlone Big Time Festival
    Rob Hill Campground, Presidio of San Francisco
    Friday, 5 pm, Saturday & Sunday, noon

    Join us in Ohlone Big Time! Celebrating indigenous culture of the California coast. Experience food, dancing, singing, storytelling, raffles , vending, camping and good old family fun. All are welcome! For more info, visit their website.
  • Outdoor Movie Night: Jaws
    Robin Sweeny Park, Sausalito
    Saturday, 6:30–8:30 pm

    See Jaws for free in Sausalito's Robin Sweeny Park. Location: Caledonia Street, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • Novato Horsemen Haunted House
    600 Bugeia Lane, Novato
    Friday & Saturday, 7–10 pm

    Bring the kids out for a night of scare and fun at the Novato Horseman Haunted House in Novato. Admission is $5 per person. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Marin High School Music presents The Addams Family
    San Marin High School, Novato
    Friday & Saturday, 7:30 pm, Sunday, 2 pm

    Celebrate the Halloween season with the creepiest family around, The Addams Family! San Marin Students bring the Addams family to life but with a twist. Audiences will enjoy a unique and immersive theater experience sure to entertain. This show might be considered PG-13 so please consider this when bringing children. Tickets: $15 general, $5 students and children, $25 VIP. For more info and tickets, visit their website.
  • College of Marin Drama Department presents The Little Prince
    James Dunn Theatre, Kentfield
    Friday, 7:30 pm, Saturday, 2 & 7:30 pm and Sunday, 2 pm
    Perfect for all ages! Bring the family to see The College of Marin Drama Department's, The Little Prince. Young and old alike will love this heartwarming, classic tale by Antoine de St. Exupéry. Journey alongside the Little Prince through the desert and outer space, while he encounters marvelous celestial beings!  Don’t miss this delightful story that encourages audiences of all ages to rediscover their dreams and the wonders that are all around them! Tickets: $20 General; $15 Seniors; $10 COM Students, Employees, Alumni, Retirees, and Youth. Purchase tickets here.

Saturday, October 21

  • 2017 Bioneers Conference & Family Fair
    Marin Center, San Rafael
    Saturday & Sunday, 8 am–6 pm

    The Bioneers Conference highlights breakthrough ideas for solving our most pressing ecological and social challenges. Come learn from some of the country’s top nature-inspired education masters and have fun exploring a wide array of experiential education activities. Free events on-site including the Family Fair (10 am–4 pm). For more info, visit their website.
  • Family BikeAbout
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday, 8:30–10 am

    Families can bring their bicycles to the Zoo for this informative one- and one-half hour, docent-led cycling tour. It’s great to be in the Zoo ahead of the crowds and watch the animals start their day. Registration includes parking and Zoo admission. Participants must bring a bicycle; the SF Zoo does not provide bicycles to rent. Cost: SFZS Members: $18, non-members $23. Children piggy-backing on their parents' bikes are free. Location: 1 Zoo Road, San Francisco. For more info, call (415) 753-7080 or visit their website.
  • Thomas and Percy's Halloween Party
    Roaring Camp Railroads, Felton
    Saturday & Sunday (various times)

    Dress up for Halloween with favorites Thomas and Percy for a 20-minute train ride, entertainment, and fun filled activities for the entire family. Activities include temporary tattoos, Face Painting, Story Telling, Videos, Train Play Tables, small pumpkins for little ones, cookie decorating, photos with Sir Topham Hatt, a Thomas store, and live entertainment. Also, Thomas the Tank Engine will be able to talk to his fans! Event website.
  • Trash to Treasures Fall Flea Market
    Margaret Todd Senior Center, Novato
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Find unique treasures at the Fall Flea Market. Enjoy hot dogs, snacks, and drinks at the snack bar. Free. Location: 1560 Hill Road, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Halloween Family Workshop
    Makerspace Media Studio, Novato
    Saturday, 10 am–noon

    Drop-in anytime from 10-12pm for a fun hands-on family workshop making spooky creations. $5 per family suggested donation. Makers under the age of 8 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Makers over the age of 14 are welcome too! Location: 931 C Street, at South Novato Library, Novato. For more info, visit their website.
  • Cornerstone Harvest Pumpkin Patch Festival
    Cornerstone Sonoma
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–4 pm

    Bring the entire family for a weekend of fun, fall festivities at Cornerstone's first annual Harvest Festival + Pumpkin Patch! Activities include: pumpkin patch, lawn games, face painting + games for the kiddos by Popo the Clown, food for purchase, live music and more. Location: 23570 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. For more info, visit their website.
  • Petaluma Mothers Club Fall Carnival
    Kenilworth Junior High School, Petaluma
    Saturday,  10 am–1 pm

    Bring the entire family to the annual Fall Carnival! This event is open to all. Admission is FREE, with tickets available for purchase that can be used for a variety of games, amusements and concessions. Location: 800 Riesling Rd, Petaluma. For more info, visit their Facebook page.
  • Goblin Jamboree Fundraiser
    Bay Area Discovery Museum
    Saturday and Sunday, 10 am–4 pm
    Bring the whole family in costume to explore all the fun at the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s Goblin Jamboree Family Fundraiser. Experience the museum as it’s transformed into a spooktacular Halloween wonderland complete with Witches and Wizards school, pony rides, petting zoo, kid-sized hay maze, live entertainment, and more. Tickets available at the door. Admission: $17.95 general, $14.95 members, free for children under 6 months. For more info, visit their website.
  • Presidio Family-Friendly Bike Ride
    Presidio Visitor Center, San Francisco
    Saturday, 10–11:30 am

    Join a Presidio Park Ranger and Presidio Trust guide on this gentle 4-mile bike ride. Roll through the history and nature of the Presidio at a family-friendly pace that's fun for all! Rent a bike from Sports Basement or bring your own. Location: ?210 Lincoln Boulevard on the Presidio's Main Post. For more info, visit their website.
  • ZOOtoberfest
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Bring the family and navigate through San Francisco’s largest hay maze, a 5,000-square-foot structure made from 600 bales of straw and incorporates play areas within the design. Jump in the bounce house, challenge your friends to a friendly game of ring toss and use the festive Harvest Hallow setting for photo ops. SF Zoo’s “Zoo Brew Haus” at the Depot Grill is pouring a great selection of brews, and cooking a full smorgasbord of German-inspired dishes. During lunch, dine to the upbeat sounds of a live band playing traditional polka music. Free after zoo admission. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bay Area Children's Theatre: Teddy Bears' Picnic
    Children's Fairyland, Oakland
    Saturday, 10 am and Sunday, 10 am & 11:15 am
    Bring your own Bear, if you'd like, and join our Teddy Bear as she packs a picnic and scampers off for an adventure in the forest. We will explore the foods that every bear loves, learn what grows in the forest, and play some wonderful games. For children 6 months to 3 years. Tickets $15; free for under 6 months. Location: 699 Bellevue Ave, Oakland. For more info, visit their website.
  • Annual Pumpkin Patch Festival
    Western Railway Museum, Suisun City
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Get your Halloween pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns, test your strength with the pumpkin launcher, explore our huge hay bale fortress, and enjoy a train ride too. Gather the family and begin at the Western Railway Museum. Doors open at 9:30; the first electric express train leaves at 10 am with departures every half-hour until 4pm. Cost: adults $14, children (2–14 yrs) $10 and seniors $12. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bay Area Children's Theatre: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show
    The Osher Studio, Berkeley
    Saturday & Sunday, 10:30 am and 1:30 pm

    Straight from a hit run in New York, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show will delight you with a magical stage rendition of Eric Carle’s beloved stories about sea horses, fireflies, and, of course, that lovable lepidoptera himself, brought to life in vibrant color with puppets galore! Recommended for age 3 and up, this performance runs 65 minutes with no intermission. Tickets: adults $26, child (2–14) $20 and senior $24. Purchase tickets here. Location: 2055 Center Street, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.

Family Halloween Events in Marin & the Bay Area

October 19, 2017

Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays of year, and there's so much family fun to be found in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area. Find a variety of family-friendly Halloween events that's right for you! 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.

Hiking with Kids in Marin: Tennessee Valley Trail

October 17, 2017

Tennessee Valley

Tennessee Valley near Mill Valley is one of the most popular hiking and outdoor recreation spots in all of Marin County, and for good reason—it has a combination of easy walks, dramatic views, and a spectacular beach at the end of the trail. Tennessee Valley Trail, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is a perfect hike for families, and can be easily managed with an offroad-capable stroller. With few hills, the 3.4-mile round trip hike out to the beach at Tennessee Cove and back is easy for hikers (and mountain bikers, too) of all ages. Fall is the perfect time to tackle this hike, since the weather at the coast is often clear, sunny, and spectacular.

Halloween Craft: Recycled Glass Pumpkin Votives

October 15, 2017

Halloween pumpkin votives recycled craft

This easy craft project is so much fun to make, and the finished product looks fantastic, especially when lit with a flickering LED candle. Best of all, you can make them using materials from your recycling bin! These Halloween pumpkin votives are simple to make, and are a perfect craft project for all ages, with parental supervision, of course. My daughter and I created the pair of jack-o-lanterns lanterns shown here.

This project is a little messy, so make sure you have a good work area that's easy to clean up. You can also create variations on this craft: use white tissue to make ghost lanterns, and green to make monsters.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for October 13, 14 & 15

October 14, 2017

Tolay Fall Festival

Due to the current wildfires in the North Bay many events have been cancelled this weekend, including the Tolay Fall Festival, the Marin Waldorf School Children's Faire, the Mountain School Apple Faire, the Cornerstone Harvest Pumpkin Patch Festival, Weekend Along the Farm Trails, and the Kunde Giant Pumpkin Festival. Other events may be cancelled; check with the organizer before attending.

Halloween pumpkin patches in Marin and Sonoma counties are open—see our list here.

Friday, October 13

  • Mill Valley Film Festival
    Various Locations
    Friday–Sunday, various times

    The 40th annual Mill Valley Film Festival features a variety of fantastic family films from around the world. Location: various theaters within Marin. For a complete listing of films, visit their website here.
  • Santa Rosa Pumpkin Patch
    Santa Rosa
    Friday–Sunday, 9 am

    Santa Rosa Pumpkin Patch offers eight acres of pumpkins, a huge seven-acre corn maze, kiddy corn mazes, hay and sunflower mazes, jack-o-lantern tether ball, tire swings, a 10-bale-high hay pyramid, a huge jumpy pillow, pedal trike races, a corn play box, a petting zoo, face painting, and more. Location: 5157 Stony Point Road (at Rohnert Park Expressway). For more info, visit their website.
  • The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch
    Spring Hill Jersey Farm, Petaluma
    Friday–Sunday, 9 am–6 pm

    Pick your own organic pumpkin, dig for potatoes, take a tractor ride, visit farm animals, taste homemade ice cream and Spring Hill cheese, milk a cow, and get lost in the hay maze. Peter Pumpkin Patch also offers fresh fruits and vegetables and picnic baskets. Activities are free and so is the parking. This is a wonderful and fun pumpkin patch on a real working farm. Location: 4235 Spring Hill Road (off Bodega Ave.). For more info, call (707) 762-3446 or visit their website.
  • Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch
    Nicasio
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch offers a wide variety of certified organic pumpkins spread out in an expansive meadow on the farm. Kids activities: jumpy houses, inflatable slide, hay rides, pony rides, a petting zoo, farm animals to visit, a climbing wall, and face painting. Some of these attractions have an admission fee, and some are available only on weekends and select days. Shaded seating area with picnic tables, so you can relax and take in the scenery, listen to some great live music, and even eat lunch. If you arrive hungry, Big Jim's BBQ is on hand on weekends. Tim Cain performs on Sunday from 11 am to noon. Location: 5300 Nicasio Valley Road, Nicasio. Read our review here. For more info, visit their website.

Free Activities for Families Affected by the North Bay Fires

October 14, 2017

California Academy of SciencesThe California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate park is offering free admission to families affected by the North Bay fires through this Sunday.

Many of our readers live in Sonoma County, and we're heartbroken at the destruction from the fires raging there right now. With many Sonoma and Napa families evacuated from their homes, and many families in Marin hosting them (we're one of them!), everyone is by now looking for something to take their minds off the sad situation. Many local museums, indoor play areas, and other attractions are offering free admission for those affected by the fires so families can get out of the smoke and enjoy themselves, recharge, and relax for a while.

Here's a list of places offering free admission to those affected by the North Bay fires. Listings with an asterisk (*) denote indoor spaces where you can get out of the smoke. Most require eligible visitors to check in at the admission desk when visiting. Follow the links in the titles for more information.

Halloween Craft Project: Paper Jack-O-Lanterns

October 12, 2017

Pumpkin paper lanterns Kids always love to make fun decorative crafts, especially at Halloween, when they can help make the house or classroom extra spooky. These easy-to-make paper jack-o-lanterns are a Halloween-time take on the traditional paper lantern craft project, and are simple enough that almost anyone in the family can make them. Make a bunch with different face designs and hang them around the house.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Orange and green construction paper (we used 12 x 18" sheets, but letter size will work, too)
  • Black markers, paint, or construction paper

Not-So-Scary Halloween Fun for Toddlers and Preschoolers

October 10, 2017

Tolay Fall Festival

Halloween with really little kids is kind of a mixed bag. On one hand, they usually love the costumes and the candy. On the other, the spooky parts of the holiday can sometimes be scary and older kids can be intimidating. We've chosen eight fun and not-too-spooky Halloween events from across the Bay Area that are perfect for little ones. You can find even more family fun for this fall in our Halloween event guide, too.

Note that the annual Tolay Fall Festival has been cancelled due to the Sonoma wildfire emergency.

Run with the Family This Thanksgiving at the Marin Turkey Trot

October 10, 2017

Instead of just eating until you're stuffed this Thanksgiving, do something healthy to kick off the day and help support local charities at the Annual Marin Turkey Trot. Taking place on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 23, 2017), the Turkey Trot features fun races for the entire family, including the Youth 1-mile for ages 5 and up, Turkey Trot 5K, and the Pilgrim 10K. All races start and finish at the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus at 1800 Ignacio Boulevard in Novato.

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