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Parks and Playgrounds, Sports Activities, Outdoor Activities, Rainy Day Activities, Events and Outings, Summer Camps, Spring Break Camps, Arts and Crafts, 4th of July, Beaches, Hiking, Picnics, Summer Activities, Zoos and Wildlife Centers, Enrichment, Parent-and-Child Classes, Gardening, Drop-in Activities, Snow Sports, Bicycling
Here is a the 2013 summer movie schedule for Film Night in the Park, which presents free outdoor movies on a giant screen in various parks throughout Marin and San Francisco. Show time for all the movies is 8 pm, but arrive a little early for music, a raffle, and a cartoon. Reminiscent of the drive-in movies of yesteryear, Film Night in the Park is noted for its audience participation, with cheers for heroes, boos and hisses for villains, sing-a-longs, and hearty applause.
This season's offerings are a fun mix of recent hits like Pixar's Brave, Lincoln, and Moonrise Kingdomand classics including The Princess Bride, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Hitchcock's The Birds. There's definitely something for everyone.
Grab your blanket, pillow and pack the picnic basket—because Film Night in the Park is coming soon to a park near you. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. Popcorn, candy, and sodas will be available for sale. For more information call (415) 272-2756 or visit www.filmnight.org.
The Mountain Play makes musical magic once again in its 100th anniversary production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music. Featuring classic songs that you surely know by heart, including Do-Re-Mi, My Favorite Things, Climb Ev'ry Mountain, and Edelweiss, this year's play is directed by Bay Area theater veteran Jay Manley and features a superb cast, especially the local kids in the roles of the Von Trapp children.
The Sound of Music tells the familiar story of Maria Rainer, sent from Salzburg's Nonnberg Abbey as governess to the seven children of widowed naval officer Georg von Trapp, all under the shadows of the 1938 Nazi takeover of Austria. The Sound of Music is probably most familiar in its 1965 movie form, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
Great tickets are still available for Mountain Play performances on May 26 and June 2, 8, 9, and 16. All shows begin at 2 pm.
Summer's almost here, and one of the season's time honored traditions for children is swimming lessons. Not only are swimming lessons a fun way to get some exercise and cool off on a hot summer day, but they're essential from a safety standpoint.
Below is our list of local Marin County providers of swimming lessons for children. Although many of the facilities listed are private clubs, unless otherwise indicated, all locations offer public lessons open to all. Most programs require pre-registration; follow the links or call to sign up or for more information. As always, if you have a favorite swim class or teacher that you think should be added to the list, let us know by leaving a comment or contacting us.
The Mountain Play kicks off its 100th season with The Sound of Music this Sunday.
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, May 17
Celebrate International Museum Day
de Young Museum, San Francisco
Friday, 9:30 am–8:45 pm
Come celebrate International Museum Day at the de Young Museum with free general admission all day. See Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritsuis for only the $15 special exhibition fee! (It's $5 for youth 6–17 and free for kids 5 and under.) Stick around for the fun with Friday Nights at the de Young, with live music, hands-on art making, and more. For more information, visit their website.
Hamilton Community Pool Opening Day
Friday, 11 am–6:30 pm
The recently renovated Hamilton Pool offers a kiddie pool with slide and play equipment, as well as a BBQ and picnic area. Daily drop in admission is $4 for Novato resident children (ages 12 months to 15 years) and $5 for Novato resident adults (16 and older) with photo ID; non-residents pay is $7 (ages 12 months to 15 years) for children and $9 for adults. Location: 203 El Bonito Road. For more info, call (415) 883-7126 or visit their website.
Pajama Night at Doodlebug Marin
Doodlebug Marin, San Anselmo
Friday, 6–9 pm
Kids put on their pajamas and enjoy pizza, crafts, stories, face painting and more. Cost: $30 per child and $25 each additional family member. Reserve your spot by calling (415) 456-5989 or online here.
Kids Musical Theatre presents Seussical, the Musical
Dance Palace Community Center, Point Reyes Station Friday & Saturday, 7:30 pm, Sunday, 3 pm
In this fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza, favorite Dr. Seuss characters are lovingly brought to life. The colorful characters transport viewers from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos. This musical romp through the joys and sorrows of being a child is hilarious. Tickets: $9 general, $7 seniors, $5 youth at the door. For more info, visit their website.
Saturday, May 18
Pixie Park Spring Fair Marin Art and Garden Center, Ross
Saturday, 9 am–2 pm Bring the whole family to the 55th Annual Pixie Park Spring Fair Fundraiser. Children will enjoy pony rides, a petting zoo, obstacle courses and prize games. Plus family entertainment, delicious food, tasty drinks, and much, much more! The MAGC is located at 30 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Ross. More info: www.pixiepark.org
Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
Saturday, 9 am–2 pm Pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10 am–2 pm adjacent to the farmer's market. The farmer's market takes place on the south site of the shopping center closest to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. For more info, visit their website.
The 119th Luther Burbank Rose Parade and Festival
Downtown Santa Rosa
Saturday, 10 am
This is one of Sonoma County's most honored traditions and one of the oldest and largest events of its kind in Northern California. There will be marching bands, award winning floats, roses, horse drawn carriages, clowns, roses, roses and more roses. Festival of family fun from 11 am–3 pm: Festival at Juilliard Park. The parade will start at Sonoma Avenue and E Street and proceed north on E Street, turning left onto 4th Street and proceed west on 4th Street then south onto Mendocino Avenue. For more info, visit their website.
San Mateo County Events Center, San Mateo
Saturday, 10 am–8 pm & Sunday, 10 am–6 pm
With over 900 maker exhibits, Maker Faire is a family-friendly festical of creativity and innovation in technology, craft, science, fashion, art, food, and more! Featuring how-to workshops, inspiring presentations from Mythbusters' Adam Savage and others, and outrageous attractions. Tickets: $15–$55. Location: 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo. For more information, visit their website.
Field & Family Wildflower Walk
Marin Headlands Visitor Center
Saturday, 10:30 am–1:30 pm
Spring is in bloom! Come join an experienced YMCA naturalist to explore all the beauty that spring has to offer here in the Marin Headlands. Moderate to strenuous hike 3–5 miles. Bring your own bagged lunch. Pre-registration required. Contact Point Bonita YMCA for details or to pre-register at (415) 331 9622 or email@example.com. Cost: $10 adults, $5 children. Meet at the visitor center's restrooms at 10:30 am. For more info, visit their website.
Guarding the Gate
Angel Island State Park
Saturday and Sunday, 11 am–4 pm Experience living history on Angel Island with re-enactors portraying soldiers and families from the Civil War, Spanish-American War, Phillipine–American War, World War I, and World War II. Enjoy demonstrations in the historic Bake House, cannon firings at Camp Reynolds, and living history and Battery Drew and Fort McDowell. Free. For more information call (415) 435-5537 or visit their website.
It's not every day that the circus comes to town, but it'll be here in Marin this Memorial Day weekend! American Crown Circus sets up its big top on the grounds of St. Vincent's School for Boys in Marinwood, just south of Novato, on May 24, 25, 26 and 27. American Crown Circus is a family run, bilingual circus that features acrobats, high wire acts, and clowns (but no exotic animals). Read about our visit to the circus last year here.
The circus is the major fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Novato Sunrise, which has brought a professional traveling tent circus to Marin every year since 1997. Profits from the circus support local community projects.
This June, Marin's own boys of summer return to downtown San Rafael's Albert Park for another season of professional minor league baseball! The 2013 San Rafael Pacifics season begins on Tuesday, June 11, and runs through August 25.
Albert Park's intimate setting is the perfect venue for old-fashioned, family-friendly, and affordable local baseball. We're so lucky to have this team here, and maybe they'll repeat their championship-winning 2012 season! General admission tickets are just $10, grandstand reserved and box seats are $20, and dugout seats are $25.
Kids 12 and under can join the Rookie Club, which offers a variety of benefits, including free admission to all Sunday home games and pre- and post-game activities like playing catch with the team during warm ups. Rookie Club membership costs $25 and includes a T-shirt, membership card, and discounts on team merchandise and Silbermann's ice cream (San Rafael's Silbermann's Ice Cream is the Rookie Club sponsor).
One of Marin County's most beloved and unique events is the famous Mountain Play—an outdoor theater experience high on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais that's been going strong for a century! This year's 100th-anniversary Mountain Play production isRodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, the unforgettable story of spirited young governess Maria Rainer, Captain von Trapp and his seven children, and Austria on the eve of the Nazi takeover.
Featuring classic songs like Do-Re-Mi, Edelweiss, and My Favorite Things, the Mountain Play's production of The Sound of Music is directed by Jay Manley, and features Heather Buck as Maria, Ryan Drummond as Georg von Trapp, and Susan Zelinsky (Marin Paroo in last year's production of The Music Man) as Else Schraeder. Musical direction is by Mountain Play veteran Debra Chambliss.
Performances take place at 2 pm at Mt. Tam's Cushing Memorial Amphitheater on May 19 and 26, and June 2, 8, 9, and 16. General seating ticket prices range from $20–$40., and children 3 and under are free. Reserved seats are available for Mountain Play Fan Club members (starting at $56); higher membership levels include perks like reserved parking and special shuttle passes. Order tickets online here or by phone at (415) 383-1100.
My family loves to go to the beach, and there are plenty of places to do this in and around Marin. While many of the beaches along the Pacific Ocean are unsuitable for swimming, there are also many beaches that are ideal spots for swimming, wading, and splashing in the water, especially on warm summer days. Here are some of our favorites. Click on the links for more info.
Abbotts Lagoon Beach
A one-and-a-half mile hike takes you over bridges and sand dunes to this beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore. It's home to many shorebirds, including the endangered snowy plover. A great beach for playing in the sand, but not for swimming due to dangerous surf and rip currents.
Located just off Tiburon, Angel Island State Park Pack is the largest Island in San Francisco Bay. Pack a picnic and jump on ferry to this unique island. Quarry Point and Ayala Cove are two beaches that are both sandy and protected from the afternoon breezes, so it's perfect for an afternoon of family fun. There are no lifeguards, and swimming can be hazardous because of the strong currents.
While Mother's Day brunch is always a fun outing for the family, sometimes you want to skip the whole fine dining experience and do something a little more original for mom. How about putting together a picnic and heading out to one of the many great picnic spots in and around Marin and Sonoma County (especially since the weather this weekend is supposed to be wonderful)?
Here are some of our favorite places to bring our lunch (or brunch) and dine al fresco:
Bear Valley in the Point Reyes National Seashore is home to the park's visitor center as well as a large picnic area complete with tables, restrooms, charcoal grills, and drinking water. Have a leisurely lunch outdoors, and then take a hike—there are a number of different hikes and walks you can do here that are suitable for everyone in the family, including the Earthquake Trail, the Bear Valley Trail, and the trail leading to the Morgan horse ranch. Read more about Bear Valley in our article here.
China Camp State Park offers a variety of beautiful picnic spots overlooking San Pablo Bay. You'll find most of these picnic spots located along the winding Point San Pedro Road, most of which have nice lawns, picnic tables, charcoal grills, restrooms, and amazing views. You can also have your picnic down in China Camp Village, which also boasts historic exhibits, a pleasant little beach for wading and swimming, and a funky little snack bar that looks like it hasn't changed since the 1930s. Read more about China Camp State Park in our article here.