Museums for Kids, Children's Theater

Get Ready for the Goblin Jamboree at the Bay Area Discovery Museum

September 19, 2015

Goblin JamboreeCome get a jump on Halloween at the 29th annual Goblin Jamboree fundraiser at the Bay Area Discovery Museum! Bring your little goblins to this year’s spooky family event on Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18 from 10 am to 4 pm. Come in costume and explore the Bay Area Discovery Museum transformed into a haunted Halloween wonderland complete with games, attractions and live entertainment.

Ride a spooky train or real ponies, make potions in the Witches' and Wizards' School, and enjoy a full brew of games, activities and live entertainment. New features this year include a kid-sized hay maze, end of day costume parades, and a chance to make colorful potions and dissect jack-o-lanterns! Make sure you also stop in the Bay Hall to experience the glowing trains, too!

Fantastic Shrek the Musical at Throckmorton Theatre

August 15, 2015

Steven Hess and Lauren Brody-Clark in Shrek the MusicalLast night my family and I had a chance to experience wonderful production of Shrek the Musical at Mill Valley's beautiful Throckmorton Theatre. There are two more performances left this weekend of this fantastic family-friendly musical and tickets are still available, so don't miss out!

Shrek the Musical features an amazingly talented cast of both children and adults, and brings to life the familiar story of Shrek the ogre, Princess Fiona, Donkey, the villanous Lord Farquaad, and almost every fairy tale creature and character you can imagine. The singing, dancing, and acting were all first rate, and the production was enlivened with puppetry (including an impressive giant dragon puppet), creative sets and props, and of course hilarious songs and dialogue.

Throckmorton Youth Programs director Steven Hess and Lauren Brody-Clarke were outstanding in the roles of Shrek and Fiona, and father and daughter Marty and Meghan Dunn were delightful as an energetic Donkey and a scheming Farquaad. Honestly there were so many outstanding actors, both kids and adults, in the cast that it's impossible to call out every amazing performance!

"Charlotte's Web" Kicks off Marin Theatre Company's 2015-2016 Family Series

August 4, 2015

Charlotte's Web at MTC This August, Marin Theatre Company (MTC) kicks off its 2015–2016 Family Series with a production of Charlotte's Web, based on the classic children's book by E.B. White. Running from August 8 through 16, MTC's Charlotte's Web is the heartwarming tale of friendship between the adorable piglet Wilbur and his wise friend Charlotte the spider. Charlotte's Web runs for 95 minutes and is recommended for kids from kindergarten through 8th grade.

Charlotte's Web is of course only the first play in MTC's fantastic 2015–2016 Family Series. In October, the Great Arizona Puppet Theater brings us Cinderella as you've never seen it before. In December, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's beloved The Little Prince comes to the MTC stage for a holiday treat. And in February and March, The Little Mermaid, dive into MTC's adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid.

The Insider's Guide to Visiting Tiburon for Families

July 13, 2015

Tiburon

Tiburon, that "nearly perfect" Marin town on the end of its namesake peninsula, is a fantastic place for families to visit. Tiburon has long been a favorite of locals and tourists, and boasts amazing views of San Francisco, plenty of boutiques, shops, and restaurants, and lots for everyone to see and do. So pack up the kiddos this summer and head out to Tiburon for a day of fun!

You'll probably want to head straight for downtown Tiburon. We love to walk along the path in Shoreline park and watch the sailboats as they glide by on San Francisco Bay. Along the way, you'll find a fun and interesting museum that's perfect for kids, as well as grassy areas that are ideal for a picnic or just relaxing.

Spend the Night at a Bay Area Museum

June 13, 2015

museum sleepoverIf you're looking for a fun and unique overnight experience for the family, try camping out at a local San Francisco Bay Area museum, zoo, or wildlife center! Popular family destinations like the California Academy of Sciences, the Marine Mammal Center, the San Francisco Zoo, the USS Hornet Museum, and Children’s Fairyland all offer exciting programs where families can spend the night. It'll be kind of like the movie Night at the Museum, except that the dinosaurs and dioramas won't come alive after hours (we hope)!

Needless to say, all of these events require advance reservations and have limited space, so register for your overnight adventure soon! Many of these venues also offer overnight programs for scouts, schools, and other youth groups. All information is correct at time of posting; check each location’s website for complete information, pricing updates, and a schedule of events.

Hands-on Science Fun and Education at the Exploratorium in San Francisco

May 26, 2015

Exploratorium hands-on science museum San Francisco

If you grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, you probably spent some time as a kid at the Exploratorium. This innovative and influential hands-on museum of science, art, and human perception has been educating and entertaining families for over 40 years. The Exploratorium is a perfect place for an outing for families with children of all ages, from toddlers to teens. Parents, grandparents, and most other grownups will find it a lot of fun, too. I used to love coming here as a kid, and now my children love to visit, too.

For most of its life, the Exploratorium was located at the iconic Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco's Marina District, but in 2013 it moved into an all-new, much larger facility at Pier 15 on the Embarcadero. The new Exploratorium is bigger and better, and features all your old favorite exhibits along with 150 new ones, as well as a Bay Observatory that allows visitors to explore the environment of adjacent San Francisco Bay.

Insider's Guide to the 2015 Mountain Play: Peter Pan!

May 4, 2015

Peter Pan cast 2015 Mountain Play

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 102nd Mountain Play production is the timeless Broadway musical Peter Pan, based on J.M. Barrie's classic tale of the boy who wouldn't grow up, the villanous Captain Hook, and the Darling children, and Neverland.

Featuring classic songs like, "I Won't Grow Up", "I Gotta Crow", and "I'm Flying", the Mountain Play's production of Peter Pan is directed by Michael Schwartz and features Melissa Wolfklain as Peter Pan, Jeff Wiesen as Captain Hook/Mr. Darline, Susan Zelinsky as Mrs. Darling, and Davide Yen as Smee. Musical direction is, as usual,  Debra Chambliss.

Performances take place at 2 pm at Mt. Tam's Cushing Memorial Amphitheater on May 24 and 31, and June 7, 13, 14, and 21. General seating ticket prices range from $25–$40, and children 3 and under are free. Reserved seats start at $60. Order tickets online here or by phone at (415) 383-1100.

Masque Unit Junior Theatre's Production of Charlotte's Web Comes to Marin Center This Weekend

March 3, 2015

charlotte's webE.B. White's classic story Charlotte's Web comes to life in Masque Unit Junior Theatre’s annual live theater production for young children at Marin Center this weekend. Masque Unit’s production of Joseph Robinette and Charles Strouse's musical adaptation of Charlotte's Web introduces children to the timeless story of Wilbur the pig, a little girl named Fern, and a spider called Charlotte, and offers an afternoon of delightful entertainment.

This classic story of friendship and community will warm your heart. Come along as Wilbur moves to a farm, finds a new unexpected family, and goes from being the runt of the little to "Some Pig".

Charlotte's Web takes place at the Showcase Theater at the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael on March 7 and 8, 2015 at 1 and 3 pm. Tickets are $8 per person, available through the Marin Civic Center box office at (415) 499-6800.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Comes to Mill Valley Middle School

February 22, 2015

Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryThis weekend, Mill Valley Middle School presents its musical production of Roald Dahl's beloved story, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This year's production involves the efforts of a couple hundred adults and kids, who have spent countless hours building sets, sewing costumes, and developing scenes, songs, and dances to create an imaginative retelling of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Young Charlie Bucket's greatest dream is to be a finders of one of Willy Wonka's golden tickets. But since he can afford only a few Wonka bars, his dream seems like only "pure imagination" until luck smiles on Charlie and he finds the last golden ticket.

Follow Charlie and Grandpa Joe, as well as Veruca salt, Violet Beauregard, Mike Teevee, and Augustus Gloop, as they meet the eccentric Willy Wonka and are led on a tour of his amazing chocolate factory. On the tour they meet a wild cast of characters—street-smart Oompa Loompas, dancing hungry squirrels, breakdancing lollipops, and whipped-cream crowned gymnasts.

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