Learn where your food comes from at the free farm tour at Tara Firma Farms in Petaluma
Spring is nearly here, and it's time to enjoy a day on the farm! We're lucky to live in an area that's surrounded by some of the country's top agricultural producers, and some of them offer farm tours for the whole family. On a tour, you can meet animals, learn where your food comes from, and find out about the efforts that local farmers take to provide us with high quality food. My kids love to visit farms, especially at this time of year when there are plenty of baby animals to see.
Here are some of the farms in Marin and Sonoma County that offer public tours. Some are free, and some require advance reservations. Please keep in mind that these are all real working farms, some of which raise animals for human consumption. All these tours are suitable for families.
On Saturday and Sunday, April 29 and 30, 2017, Sonoma County Farm Trails offers its annual Blossoms, Bees & Barnyard Babies event, where farm hosts will offer tours, activiites, demonstrations, animal petting, crafts for kids, and more. Some farms will offer snacks, lunches, and picnic sites. Admission is free. Learn more and register here.
2025 Shoreline Highway, Muir Beach 94965
(415) 381-6155 slideranch.org Overlooking the Pacific in Muir Beach, Slide Ranch is a real working farm located on the lands of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Families can visit and explore the grounds, hike the trails, and have a picnic daily from dusk to dawn. The ranch also offers family programs, including their annual Spring Fling (April 29, 2017), Family Farm Days, campouts, and Toddler Days at various times throughout the year.
Spring officially begins tomorrow, Monday, March 20! Daylight saving time is here, the weather is getting warmer, wildflowers are in bloom, and there are plenty of fun things for families to do. Here are some of our favorite springtime family events and outings in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area. What's your family's favorite spring event?
San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden is a favorite spot for tourists in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, but it's also a great spot for local families. I've been visiting since I was a small child, and I've made sure that I introduced it to my children, too. Before I took them there, I had forgotten how magical this place is.
It's especially worth a visit at this time of year when the sakura, or flowering cherry trees, and azaleas are in full bloom. It's a magnificent and colorful spring sight that's really worth the effort to see. The kids love to explore the grounds and get some tea and a Japanese snack at the tea room.
Spring in California is spectacular, with an abundance of wildflowers, seasonal waterfalls, and wildlife. With all the rain we've been getting this season, spring's wildflowers should be even more spectacular than usual! Before the summer heat bakes the green hillsides brown, get the family out on the trail at one of these great Marin hiking spots with wonderful spring wildflower displays.
These hikes are perfect for a family outing at almost any time of year, but of course are especially nice during March and April. All the trails mentioned here are easy enough for everyone in the family to tackle, too.
One of the things I love most about winter in Marin is being able to hike to a beautiful waterfall, and when it rains families have many to choose from. The waterfalls in our list here all involve hikes of varying length, and all are perfect destinations for a family outdoor outing. There's something for hikers of every ability here.
All of these waterfalls are at their most spectacular after the big rainstorms we've been having this winter. This also means the trails will be pretty muddy, so make sure you put on the rain boots and dress the kiddos in something that you don't mind getting dirty. Here are four of our favorite Marin waterfall hikes, in order of difficulty (although all of them are family friendly). All but one of these hikes (Cataract Falls on Mt. Tamalpais) are on lands administered by Marin County Parks; visit their website for more info and to download printable trail maps for each preserve.
When it rains, we love to head outdoors and take a waterfall hike! Hikes with the family are especially fun when there's something exciting to see at the end of the trail, like a rushing waterfall. Marin's waterfalls are some of the county's hidden treasures, and are best appreciated when they're running full force in winter and spring. The Fairway Waterfall, also known as Arroyo de San Jose Waterfall, is a seasonal waterfall that can be found on a trail at the end of Fairway Drive, in Novato's Country Club neighborhood.
The trail to the Fairway waterfall is short and easy and the trailhead is conveniently located, so it's a perfect hike for kids. So bundle up, put on those puddle stompers and raincoats, and head outdoors for a waterfall hike! After our recent winter storms, the waterfall is flowing in full force, so you will not be disappointed.
Slide Ranch is a great place for family members of all ages. We tried out one of their family farm days in the past and my kids had a great time petting the sheep planting seeds, milking a goat, and making nature crafts. They offer guided tours and lots of hands-on activities, including collecting eggs from chickens, planting seeds, sampling from their organic garden, learning to make crafts and food just like the early farmers, and exploring the nearby tide pools.
Slide Ranch is located off of Shoreline Highway in Muir Beach. Below is a list of their upcoming spring events. Their programs often sell out quickly, so you need to plan ahead if you are interested in participating. Register for programs online at www.slideranch.org.
Spring Family Farm Days
Family Farm Days at Slide Ranch are relaxed four-hour programs that feature a wide range of activities related to the day's theme. Cost: $25 per person; age 2 and under free.
If you haven't been to check out the beautiful and picturesque Slide Ranch in Muir Beach, now is your chance! Come to this non-profit teaching farm overlooking the ocean this Saturday to celebrate food, family, and fun at this year's Spring Fling. It all takes place on April 23, 2016 from 10 am to 4 pm.
This year's Spring Fling features live kid-friendly music, local organic cuisine, hikes and tours, and hands-on farm and craft activities for all ages. Learn where your food comes from by milking goats, feeding chickens, and touring the garden, or making bread, butter, and cheese. See how a sweater is made through sheep shearing, carding and spinning wool, and other wool crafts.
Come reconnect with the land on a guided coastal hike, watch a sheep shearing, meet baby animals, listen to the music of Marin's favorite kids' musician Tim Cain, watch a show by Dusty's Puppets, or simply relax on a picnic blanket while eating delicious local organic food.
One of the best things about spring is knowing that you can get fresh, sweet, locally grown organic strawberries at the farmer's market or grocery store. To celebrate, we love to make this easy and delicious strawberry shortcake dessert. This simple combination of lightly sweet shortcake, fresh strawberries, and vanilla flavored whipped cream is a hit with just about everyone, and is suitable for every occasion, from a fancy Easter dinner to a kids' tea party.
These shortcakes are kind of like sweet (but not too sweet) buttermilk drop biscuits, and don't take very long to put together. If you're really in a hurry, you can use whipped cream from a can, but it doesn't take too much time or effort to make some fresh whipped cream with your electric mixer, and it tastes so much better, too.
You can make the shortcakes and whipped cream in advance and let diners assemble their own strawberry shortcake creations at the table, if you like. It's fun for both children and adults. Whipped cream keeps fine in the refrigerator for a few hours, and you can make it extra-thick and rich by putting it in a strainer over a bowl and letting some of the water drain out.