With Thanksgiving and the holidays right around the corner, family time takes on a whole new meaning. Take some time to recharge outsideget messy with your little artists, and celebrate the lights, sounds, and smells of the SF Bay.

kids and dog at library

Photo: Children reading to dogs at Franklin Park Library via Flickr Creative Commons

San Francisco

Thanksgiving Giving at Aquarium of the Bay
In the spirit of the holidays visitors to Aquarium of the Bay can bring a non-perishable food item to donate and receive 50% off general admission. One discounted ticket per food item. Get to know our amazing aquatic neighbors while helping those in need in our human community! Fri., Sat., & Sun., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. San Francisco. 50% off general admission ($12.95-$21.95) All Ages. Event details.

Velveteen Rabbit Studio-to-Stage
This classic holiday tale of bunny-love takes on a new level of entertainment with ODC’s studio-to-stage, which offers tiny dancers a chance to learn the moves they can then watch on stage! Professional dancers offer a “toddler to octogenarian” dance class, then everyone can settle in to watch the ballet live. Take the theater experience to another level this year and create a holiday memory the kiddos will not soon forget! Sat., 4:30-6 p.m. San Francisco. $$44-63. All ages. Event details.

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Pier 39 Annual Holiday Tree Lighting
Lots of places do an annual tree lighting but Pier 39 takes it to another level with a two-day celebration put on by the Disneyland® Resort, including Radio Disney, letters to Santa, holiday games and prizes, plus choral ensembles, and oh yeah–a 60 foot tree decorated to the nines. Kick your holidays off right. Sat. & Sun., noon – 6:30 p.m. San Francisco. Free. All Ages. Event details.

Family Concert: Storytelling in Music
Join beloved Bay Area storyteller Joel ben Izzy at this 45 minute concert featuring a folktale, Luck or Wisdom?, accompanied by the SF Chamber Orchestra performing a klezmer-style score by Stephen Saxon. Sat., 2-2:45 p.m. San Francisco. Free. 3 and up. Event details.

East Bay

Pizza Friday at Habitot
When you bring the kids to Habitot you can count on them getting messy in the best way possible. On Fridays you can let the kids make art and not even worry about lunch. Child sized cheese slices will be on sale for just $1 each, and proceeds benefit the museum. Fri., 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Berkeley. $10 museum admission. 0-5. Event details.

Owen Baker Flynn at Fairyland
Head to Fairyland to experience the world premier of Owen Baker Flynn’s live show that features juggling, fire-eating and a bevy of surprises! Sat. & Sun., 1:30 & 2:30 p.m. Oakland. $8; children 1 and under are free (admission price). All Ages. Event details.

Holiday Model Train Show
Bring your little engineers to experience Diablo Valley Lines and their Holiday Railroad show. Hundreds of model trains will be dispatched by the Walnut Creek Model Railroad Society. The show includes a thunderstorm and dramatic sunset and the trains traverse terrain including a freight yard, mountains, tunnels, cities and more. It’s like Sodor right before your eyes. Fri., 8-10 p.m.,  Sat., & Sun., 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Walnut Creek. $3/adult; $2/child 6-12; children 5 and under are free. All Ages. Event details.

Peninsula

Dickens Christmas Fair Opening Weekend
Bring your little pips back in time for a child’s tour of Dickens’ London! This massive holiday fair which features wares galore includes wandering carolers, photos with Father Christmas, a Punch & Judy puppet theater, Victorian era children’s plays and games, a painting garden, an adventure carousel and Professor Flockmocker’s Laboratory of mechanical wonders. Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Daly City. $20-$30/adult; $10/child. All Ages. Event details.

San Carlos Children’s Theater: Legend of Sleepy Hollow
This humorous version of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow is put on by kids for kids, and will have your little ones laughing and clapping throughout the 2 hour performance. Fri. & Sat., 7 p.m,, Sun., 1 p.m. San Carlos. $15/adult; $12/child. All Ages. Event details.

Paws for Tales
Children ages 5 and up can practice their reading skills and read to a trained service dog. Provided in Partnership with the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA. Sat., 11 a.m. – noon. Atherton. Free. 5 and up. Event details.

South Bay

Yo Gabba Gabba in Concert
Yo Gabba Gabba Live! is going on the road this fall with a new show, Music Is Awesome! The coolest rock concert for kids (and parents!) is back to celebrate their fifth anniversary on the road. Fri., 3 p.m. & 6 p.m. San Jose. $35.20-$83.30. All Ages. Event details.

Opening Weekend of A Boomer Christmas: Toys from the ‘50s-’70s
The Saratoga History Museum’s exhibition It’s A Boomer Christmas: Toys from the 1950’s-1970s means that you and your happy little elves can take a nostalgic walk down Candy Cane Lane. Bring the grandparents and see who can spot their fave toy of a bygone era. Fri.-Sun., 1-4 p.m. Saratoga. Free. All Ages. Event details.

Marin County

Lollipopalooza 2014
Get those dancing shoes on and get ready to shimmy and shake at these morning and mid-day concerts for the kids! Best loved children’s performers Tim Cain, Miss Kitty, Christopher Smith, and Cindy Cohen join forces to bring you the annual Lollipopalooza! Sing, sing a song and dance the whole day long. Sat., 9:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m. Tiburon. $8/advance; $10 door; children under one are free. All Ages. Event details.

A Day of Thanks on Mt. Tam
In honor of the (first) annual Mt. Tam Day of Thanks, Marin County Parks will host a broom-busting pizza party and a raffle on Horse Hill Open Space Preserve. Remove invasive Scotch and French broom, sow native grass seeds and even meet some horses up close. Sat., 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Mill Valley. Free. 5 and up. Event details.

Make a Pie for Charity at the Mart
What the world needs now, is pie sweet pie. Head to the big tent at the Mart’s Farmer’s Market for a pie-a-thon: trained pastry chef Carmen Sherbondy will aid you in creating a beautiful, organic, apple pie for donation to the St. Vincent De Paul Society of Marin County. It takes just 20 minutes or so and the pie will be baked on Thanksgiving and shared at their free dining room. And if you want, you can make a second pie to take home (costs extra). Sat., 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Larkspur. $30/pie. All Ages. Event details.

Nature for Kids: Indian Tree
Head out on an adventure with your little explorers to see what the November weather has brought to Indian Tree Open Space: mushrooms, newts, or maybe even frogs. Bring a lunch! Sun., 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Novato. Free. All Ages. Event details.

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~Amber Guetebier