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.
We had a blast when we attended the California Academy of Sciences' Penguins + Pajamas sleepover—it's a fantastic family experience that's both fun and educational. The next Penguins+Pajamas sleepover is scheduled for Friday, May 10, 2013, and we're giving away a pair of tickets to a lucky Marin Mommies reader!
Experience your own "night at the museum" as you explore the exhibits after-hours, stargaze at a planetarium show, and enjoy a special live animal presentation. Before bedtime, settle in for story time with cookies and milk to learn about Pierre—the Academy’s famous wetsuit-wearing penguin.
When the lights go out, unroll your sleeping bag in African Hall, next to the swaying kelp of the aquarium's California Coast tank, or even at the Swamp window, face-to-face with Claude, the albino alligator. In the morning, rise and shine, then head over to the Academy Café for a continental breakfast.
Did you know you can visit most of the Bay Area's major museums and cultural attractions for free every month? Just about all museums have one day a month set aside as a free day. They all aren't on the same day, too, so if you plan it right you can take in several museum outings without having to pay a thing.
Note that most museums charge for admission to special exhibitions, although the general admission fee is usually deducted from the total; see details with each museum listing below. Also, groups are generally not admitted on free days; check with each museum for their free day group policy.
Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card holders get free general admission on the first full weekend of every month. Present your card and a photo ID for admission (one free general admission per cardholder). Get full details here. Participating museums include:
My kids have always loved the books by children's author Mo Willems, especially his Knuffle Bunny series, so we were all excited to see the new Bay Area Children's Theatre production of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley.
This high-energy, fast-moving, and funny production expands upon the Knuffle Bunny story but remains true to the book, thanks to the witty song lyrics and script penned by Willems himself.
Knuffle Bunny tells the story of what happens when Dad (Derek Travis Collard) tries to give Mom (Michelle Drexler) a break and takes tricky toddler Trixie (Allison Johnson) and her stuffed animal Knuffle Bunny with him to the laundromat.
Overconfident Dad thinks the trip will go without a hitch, but stressed-out Mom knows otherwise but agrees with the plan anyhow. All goes well until Trixie realizes something is wrong and tries to tell Dad, who can't understand her babble and thinks she just needs her diaper changed.
Looking for a fun and educational day trip? Why not explore California's railroading past at Sacramento's California State Railroad Museum? Located in the historic Old Sacramento neighborhood, it's an easy day trip from the Bay Area or a convenient stop on the way home from Tahoe. Either way, it's perfect for a family outing at any time of the year.
If you like trains—and really, who doesn't?—the California State Railroad Museum is the place to go. Chronicling the history of California's railroads from the first transcontinental railroad in the 1860s to the modern day, there's really something here for the whole family. Not only can you view two centuries worth of historic locomotives and rolling stock, but you can actually go on board four different railroad cars, one of which is equipped to simulate movement at night.
Also on view in the museum are a huge array of toy trains and model railroad equipment. It's also one of the most family-friendly museums you can visit, full of big machines and fun things for kids to see and do.
One of my kids' favorite books is Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems. On Saturday, this hilarious Caldecott Honor book comes to life on stage in the Bay Area Children's Theatre production of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical.
In Knuffle Bunny,Dad learns that it can be tricky to do the laundry with toddler daughter Trixie and her beloved stuffed animal, the titular Knuffle Bunny. See washing machines burst into life and clothes dance up a whirlwind at the laundromat in this delightful production that's fun for the whole family.
We've seen several productions from Bay Area Children's Theatre, and they never disappoint! It's definitely worth the trip over to Berkeley, and the Freight & Salvage is a wonderful intimate venue in which to see a show like this.
The opening performance of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical takes place at the Freight & Salvage on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 2 pm. The show plays Saturdays at 2 pm and Sundays at 11 am and 2 pm through May 5.
The fun and fantastic Ivy + Bean: The Musical is coming to Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley! Produced by Bay Area Children's Theater, Ivy + Bean: The Musical is a fun and faithful adaptation of the first book in the New York Times-best-selling series about two second graders, outgoing Bean and quiet but imaginitive Ivy, who were sure they wouldn't like each other but end up best friends.
You can read our review of Ivy + Bean: The Musicalhere. It was one of our favorite productions from Bay Area Children's Theater!
While the tickets for the Marin Theatre Company production are already sold out, we're happy to announce that we're giving away a family four-pack of tickets to the opening-day performance to one lucky Marin Mommies reader! Tickets are good for the Saturday, March 23, 10:30 am show only.
To enter the giveaway, send an email with "Ivy + Bean" in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11:59 pm on Sunday, March 17, 2013. We'll choose a winner at random on Monday, March 18. Good luck!
This summer, the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito offers a variety of exciting summer Discovery Camps for children ages 3 to 8. Weekly camps start June 3 and run through August 23. Kids can sign up for a different camp each week and enjoy guided exploration and open-ended creative play. The museum's experienced educators and camp counselors will be on hand to help provide direction and guidance for the campers.
The museum's 2013 camps include an expanded Big Discovery Camp for three-year-olds, an afternoon Summer Camp Sampler featuring some of the most popular camp themes, and a multiple week discount—get an extra $25 off when you sign up for four weeks, $50 off or five weeks, $75 off for six weeks, and $100 off for seven or more weeks.
Gung hay fat choy! Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum opens on a Monday (something that happens rarely) for its annual Chinese New Year Festival. The festivities take place on February 18 (Presidents' Day) from 9 am to 5 pm. At the this celebration of the Year of the Snake, the whole family can find something to do. Try your hand at traditional Chinese calligraphy, construct a kite, listen to Chinese string music by Purple Orchid, or make your own traditional sweet wonton (they’ll even cook them for you).
You can also learn about the Chinese zodiac and enjoy an exciting performance by the Dragon Horse Lion Dance Team (10 am) and the lion dancers of the Marin Chinese Cultural Group (2 pm). Lion dance performances take place in the museum's Festival Plaza (performances will be in the Discovery Theater if it's raining).
All programs are free with museum admission, except the performance by the Chinese Performing Arts of America Youth Group (part of the 2013 World On Stage Ethnic Performance Series), which costs $7 for museum members or $17 general (includes museum admission). Chinese Dance School and Theater performances are at 11 am (sold out) and 1 pm in the Discovery Theater.