This winter break, take in some holiday cheer and meet some real live reindeer at San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Through Sunday, January 4, you can take in not only classic Cal Academy sights like the giant T-Rex skeleton, aquarium, planetarium, rain forest, and African hall, but special winter-themed programming and attractions as well as part of its "'Tis the Season for Science" lineup.
Visit with Willow and Yukon, a pair of live, six-year-old reindeer, in the east garden and learn about how they live in their cold northern homeland. Then, step inside the Snowman Theater to see Roaming with Reindeer, a family-friendly show that explores what life on the tundra is like for these amazing creatures.
While you're there, you'll also enjoy indoor snow flurries, caroling special holiday performances, and more. You can even meet "Santa Claude", the Academy's albino alligator mascot, and watch "Scuba Santa" at work in the Steinhart Aquarium.
Bundle up and come on down to the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito this Friday-Sunday to play in the snow! The museums first-ever Snow Days Family Fundraiser takes place on Friday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. In addition to playing in the snow, museum visitors can learn about the science of snow, participate in winter-themed acitivities, and have a frozen good time!
The real snow at Snow Days is provided by event sponser Northstar California ski resort near Lake Tahoe. Play in the snow, then find out how a snow storm is formed and learn how Northstar makes its own snow using state-of-the-art technology. Snow Days fun also includes train rides through the museum grounds, snowmen building, storytimes, ice exploration, an ice sculpture demo, and more.
Admission to Snow Days is $10 for museum members and $15 general. Buy advance tickets online here. Proceeds from the Snow Days Family Fundraiser go to supporting the Bay Area Discovery Museum's mission to ignite and advance creative thinking for all children.
The Presidio Officers' Club re-opened to the public back in October, and if you haven't had a chance to check it out yet you definitely should put it on your list of things to do with the family! This "new" destination is actually one of California's most historic buildings, with portions dating back over 200 years to when it was created as part of the Spanish colonial El Presidioin 1776.
Once a gathering spot for military officers and their families, the Presidio Officers' Club underwent a $30-million-dollar renovation and now serves as a public space offering fascinating exhibits, fun family activities and public programs, unique works of art, and more. Admission is free, too! We had a chance to visit last weekend, and it's a fantastic destination for families in the Bay Area.
Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum, Marin's favorite hands-on place for kids to learn and explore, will be closed for its annual maintenance the next two weeks—from Monday, September 8 through Monday, September 22, 2014. They close at this time each year for two weeks to clean and undertake improvement projects that can't be done when they're open to the public. The museum will re-open on Tuesday, September 23, 2014.
We're looking forward to some of the museum's great fall and winter programs, like the Goblin Jamboree (October 18 and 19), the Harvest Festival (November 8), Gingerbread Architecture Extravaganza (November 29 and 30, and the new Snow Days Family Fundraiser (December 12–13, complete with real snow). Get the full schedule of upcoming events and programs on the museum's website.
This year, Marin Theatre Company (MTC) and Bay Area Children's Theater (BACT) team up again to present another season of fantastic live theater for young audiences. The 2014–2015 series features four exciting BACT productions: Five Little Monkeys, James and the Giant Peach, Three Little Birds, and Fancy Nancy, the Musical!, as well as an original MTC production of Around the World in 80 Days.
This season kicks off with Five Little Monkeys, which runs from August 30 through September 7. Based on the picture book series by Eileen Christelow, Five Little Monkeys follows the adventures of the titular simian siblings as they make a birthday cake for mama, meet up with a crocodile, and disappear in the store. Of course there's plenty of jumping, too. The play (all in rhyme, by the way) is recommended for ages 2 to 7 and runs 45 minutes.
Bring your budding astronauts to learn about space exploration in a hands-on environment at the Space Station, Novato's free, kid-friendly space museum. Located in a storefront in the newly renovated Pacheco Plaza shopping center, the Space Station is a small but rich little museum that offers families and school groups a chance to explore the history of spaceflight and exploration. The museum also organizes the annual Novato Space Festival, a free family event that offers hands-on activities, interactive displays, and the chance to meet legendary NASA astronauts.
At the Space Station Museum, kids can see, handle, and even try on actual space artifacts, many of which have actually flown in space. You can try on a pair of Russian cosmonaut's space suit gloves, don a prototype space helmet designed for the Apollo missions, and even sit in a seat from a Soyuz spacecraft.
Objects on view are part of the collection of the W Foundation, a non-profit founded by Ken Winans and his wife Debbie Wreyford-Winans, and include American, Russian, and Soviet-era space equipment, clothing, photographs, a meteorite, and more. The W Foundation, which possesses one of the largest private collections of space exploration artifacts in the world, also works with organizations and events like Oakland's Chabot Space and Science Center, the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, and San Francisco Fleet Week to present educational exhibits on the history of space exploration.
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 over a century! This year's 101st Mountain Play production isRodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, the Broadway classic set in a tropical paradise during World War II and based on James A. Michener's novel Tales of the South Pacific.
Featuring classic songs like"Bali Ha'i", "Younger Than Springtime", and "Some Enchanted Evening", the Mountain Play's production of South Pacific is directed by Linda Dunn and features Taylor Chalker as spunky Ensign Nellie Forbush, Peter Vlikin as French plantation owner Emile de Becque, Tyler Costin as Lieutenant Joseph Cable, and Mia Klenk as Liat. South Pacific also features Randy Nazarian as Luther Billis, Lily Tung Crystal as Bloody Mary, and James Dunn (veteran director of many Mountain Play productions) as Captain George Brackett. Musical direction is by Debra Chambliss.
Kids can get hands-on with 21st-century technology and the arts at San Francisco's Children's Creativity Museum in the city's Yerba Buena neighborhood. Formerly known as Zeum, this fun and educational resource on the roof of Moscone Center is the perfect place for families with kids of all ages. You can literally spend all day here working on projects and having a blast.
The Children's Creativity Museum offers numerous opportunities for imaginative play and learning, and features a stop-motion animation studio, a music studio, a design studio, an innovation lab, art galleries, and more. The museum also boasts a fantastic 1906 Looff carousel, which is currently undergoing an extensive renovation. It and its hand-carved menagrie of 65 animals is due to re-open on Saturday, April 26, 2014, so you won't have long to wait to ride it again!
Marin Mommies presents a guest article from Marin mom Michelle Carpenter, who recently had a chance to get a sneak peek at the soon-to-open Children's Museum of Sonoma County in Santa Rosa.
I came away giddy from a “sneak peek” at Children's Museum of Sonoma County, which is in the final stages of construction on Phase I and on schedule to be open March 29 on weekends only through end of May. In June, it will open six days a week.
I couldn’t believe that this Marin parent of five, who works in the science industry, and who is on a constant quest for learning opportunities as well as birthday sites had heard nothing about this fabulous endeavor. We are all in for a treat!