Museums for Kids, Children's Theater

Planes, Air Museums, and Aviation Fun in the San Francisco Bay Area

July 5, 2016

Wings Over Wine Country Air Show

If your kids are obsessed with planes and flying machines, then take a family outing to one of these San Francisco Bay Area air museums, airshows, and other aviation destinations. Some of these places even include the opportunity to climb aboard and sit behind the controls of real historic aircraft, while others offer the chance to watch planes and helicopters in action in the air. There's something for all ages! Please keep in mind that hours and admission details can change, so check museum websites or call before you go.

Hamilton Field History Museum, Novato

Novato's Hamilton neighborhood was once the site of Hamilton Air Force Base, and still contains many historic structures from the its beginnings as an army airfield back in the 1930s. The Hamilton Field History Museum is housed in the old base fire station and displays memorabilia, aircraft models, and a World War II-era Link Trainer. Open Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from noon to 4 pm. Admission is free. Location: 555 Hangar Avenue, Novato 94949.

Sweet Charity Comes to the Throckmorton Theatre

May 16, 2016

Sweet Charity at 142 Throckmorton This week, Throckmorton Theatre and a cast of some of the Bay Area's most talented youth performers premiere their production of the Broadway classic musical Sweet Charity. Featuring memorable musical numbers like "If My Friends Could See Me Now," "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This," and "Big Spender," Sweet Charity is a bright and sophisticed show that tells the story of the eponymous heroine who wants to be loved so much she has lost sight of who she is.

Mill Valley resident Cate Hayman stars in the title role. She's a 2016 YoungArts winner for theater and has been accepted into prestigious threater programs at University of Michigan, Penn State, and Carnegie Mellon. Sweet Charity is directed and choreographed by Donna Cerio, with musical direction by Daniel Savio.

Performances of Sweet Charity take place on Friday, May 20 and 27 at 7:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22 at 1 pm, and Saturday and Sunday, May 28 and 29 at 2 pm. General admission tickets cost $20 for adults and $15 for students; reserved seating tickets are $35. Order tickets online at tickets.throckmortontheatre.org or by calling (415) 383-9600. The box office is also open Tuesday through Sunday, from 2 to 6 pm for in-person sales. Sweet Charity does include some mature themes, so parental guidance is suggested.

Insider's Guide to the 2016 Mountain Play: West Side Story

May 13, 2016

Mountain Play West Side Story 2016

One of Marin County's most beloved and unique events is the famous Mountain Play—an outdoor theatre experience high on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais that's been going strong for over a century! This year's 103rd Mountain Play production is the Tony award winning musical West Side Story. Based on Shakespeare's play about two star-crossed young lovers, Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story features unforgettable songs by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, and was made famous by its Oscar-winning 1961 film version. It all makes for fantastic family entertainment in the spectacular setting of Mt. Tam!

Featuring athletic choreography and one of the most beautiful scores in musical theatre history, West Side Story is directed by Jay Manley and stars Mindy Lym as Maria, Jerry Lee as Tony, Erica Lamkin as Anita, David Crane as Bernardo, and Zachary Isen as Riff. Musical direction is by David Möschler and choreography by Nicole Helfer.

Playland-Not-At-The-Beach Offers Family Fun from a Bygone Era

May 9, 2016

Playland-Not-At-The-Beach

It's a safe bet that few if any of us remember Playland at the Beach, that bygone San Francisco beachside amusement park that closed back in the early 1970s. This popular attraction, once located across from Ocean Beach near Sutro Heights and the Cliff House offered up fun like the Big Dipper roller coaster, Fun House, Diving Bell, Ferris wheel, the infamous Laffing Sal automaton, restaurants, and more. It was even the birthplace of the Bay Area's favorite ice cream treat, the It's-It ice cream sandwich! Not much remains of Playland (its site is not home to a condo development), but if you want to get a taste of what it was had to offer, head across the Bay to El Cerrito and pay a visit to Playland-Not-At-The-Beach.

The King and I at Throckmorton Theatre

March 8, 2016

The King and I at Throckmorton TheatreSome of the Bay Area's most talented youth performers come together in Mill Valley to present the Throckmorton Theatre's family-friendly production of the Broadway classic musical The King and I. The winner of four Tony awards and five Oscars, The King and I tells the story of Anna, a British schoolteacher hired by the King of Siam as part of his drive to modernize his country, and features a dazzling score and incomparable Jerome Robbins ballet, "The Small House of Uncle Thomas."

The King and I is directed by Throckmorton Youth Performers Director Steven Hess, with choreography by Bidalia E. Albanese and Maria Elena Cacciatore, and musical direction by Desirée Goyette Bogas.

The remaining performances of The King and I take place on Friday, March 11 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 12 at 2 pm, and Sunday, March 13 at 2 pm. General admission tickets cost $20 for adults and $15 for students; reserved seating tickets are $35. Order tickets online at tickets.throckmortontheatre.org or by calling (415) 383-9600. The box office is also open Tuesday through Sunday, from 2 to 6 pm for in-person sales.

Jack and the Beanstalk at Marin Center This Saturday

March 1, 2016

Jack and the Beanstalk Masque UnitThe classic story of Jack and the Beanstalk comes to life in Masque Unit Junior Theatre’s annual live theater production for young children at Marin Center this Saturday, March 5, 2016. Masque Unit’s production, titled Jack and the Beanstalk, and the Giant, and the Goose, and the Really Truly-Uly Rotten Day, is a contemporary take on a timeless fairy tale featuring Broadway-style songs, dancing, comedy, magic, and surprises.

Characters include the adventurous Jack, an overworked and underpaid Golden Goose, and a diminutive Giant with a huge Napoleon complex. Each performance is followed by a meet-and-greet photo opportunity with Jack and the Beanstalk characters. This performance is an ideal introduction to live theater for children ages 3 and up.

Dive into Marin Theatre Company's "The Little Mermaid"

February 25, 2016

The Little Mermaid Marin Theatre Company's Family Series continues this month with The Little Mermaid, an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fable. When a sea witch offers a beautiful mermaid princess the chance to make her dreams come true, it comes at a heavy price. The Little Mermaid sacrifices the best parts of herself—her tail and her voice—for legs, in the hope of winning the heart of the prince she adores. But the sea witch isn’t finished with her yet. Will love conquer all? A cast of two storytellers, Flotsam and Jetsam, bring fresh energy to this timeless fairy tale.

Performances of The Little Mermaid take place on Saturday, February 27 and March 5 at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:30 pm and Sunday, February 28 and March 5 at 10:30 am and 12:30 pm. Run time is 35 minutes, and the show is recommended for children ages 5 to 8.

Celebrate the Year of the Monkey at the Bay Area Discovery Museum Today!

February 15, 2016

Dragon for chinese new year at bay area discovery museumGung hay fat choy! Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum opens on a Monday (something that happens rarely) today for its annual Chinese New Year Festival. The festivities take place today (February 15, Presidents' Day) from 9 am to 5 pm. At the this celebration of the Year of the Monkey, the whole family can find something to do. Try your hand at traditional Chinese calligraphy, construct a paper lantern, see a vibrant performance by the Chinese Performing Arts of America Youth Group, hear performances of Chinese music, watch martial arts demonstrations, play traditional Chinese games, and dine on delicious Chinese food.

You can also learn about the Chinese zodiac and enjoy an exciting performance by the lion dancers of the Marin Chinese Cultural Group at 10 am and 2 pm. Lion dance performances take place in the museum's Festival Plaza.

All programs are free with museum admission. While you're there, you can also enjoy the museum's current special exhibition, Children's China: Celebrating Culture, Character and Confucius.

Get a Free Ticket to Katia and Company's "Please Be Seated" at the San Anselmo Playhouse

January 16, 2016

Please be SeatedKatia and Company is one of our favorite Marin resources for drama camps and kids' theater productions, and their shows are always a treat! This month, Katia presents Please Be Seated at the Playhouse in San Anselmo from January 20 to 24. Katia is offering Marin Mommies readers a free ticket—one per family—if you mention "Marin Mommies" at the door.

This play-within-a-play, written and directed by Katia McHaney and featuring a cast of talented local kids, follows the misadventures of a group of 5th through 8th graders who try to put on their own production of Cinderella. Featuring diva actors, a stressed-out director, and incompetent stagehands—everything that can go wrong, does!

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