(credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
People say parenting is the toughest job you’ll ever love. As any parent of young children knows, loneliness and isolation can be an unwelcome part of early parenthood. The North Bay offers a multitude of resources to connect with other parents. With options for everyone from those looking for a support network, socialization or new friends with similar interests, here are some of the best options for getting integrated into the North Bay parenting community.
Southern Marin Mothers’ Club
Mill Valley, CA 94942
Founded in 1993, the Southern Marin Mothers’ Club now has over 1,400 member families and 100 playgroups. Club members live mainly in the Marin, Mill Valley and Sausalito areas and participate in a wide range of activities such as educational events, BBQs, seminars, playdates and holiday parties. Membership is open not only to moms, but to dads and families as well, and provides one of the best ways to meet up with other Marin-area parents. One of the biggest pluses of the group is its very active online discussion forum, which members use to discuss all manner of topics from connecting with each other to supporting new moms.
Santa Rosa, CA 95405
The Santa Rosa Mothers’ Club makes social interaction and connection part of its mission statement. For a modest $35/year dues, this club provides an excellent opportunity to meet up with other local Santa Rosa-area parents. It holds monthly social events, playgroups and outings, and has a number of smaller special interest groups. The club also connects to the greater community by doing a good deal of local charity work and community service, and membership includes discounts to many local businesses.
2025 Shoreline Highway
Muir Beach, CA 94965
www.slideranch.orgOffering a less-formalized way to meet other parents, Slide Ranch is a great place to take the kids to meet up with other eco-minded families. Located on the Marin coastline, this non-profit was established in 1970 and is dedicated to educating the public about environmental stewardship and food and agricultural sustainability. The ranch runs a multitude of school and family programs that include everything from goat-milking and wool-spinning to nature walks and cooking lessons. Enroll in a family program or bring the kids along to volunteer and connect with other parent volunteers to make some new friendships.
23570 Arnold Drive
Sonoma, CA 95476
Cornerstone Gardens is a cultural experience combining nature, art and architecture in nine acres of themed gardens. Kid friendly and with free admission, the gardens have seasonal installations as well as permanent gardens. Also on-site is a restaurant, bocce ball, multiple winery tasting rooms and a handful of artist shops. With the combination of the interactive walk-through gardens and other kid-friendly attractions, Cornerstone is a great spot to meet other culturally minded parents.
Bay Area Discovery Museum
557 McReynolds Road
Sausalito, CA 94965
Crawling with kids, and therefore parents, this 7.5-acre kids museum is devoted to fostering creative thinking in children. Indoor and outdoor exhibits include art studios, a train room, bubbles, water play and costumes for dress up. The museum offers a number of family classes in topics such as art, music, languages, dance and culture, and admission covers museum entry on the day of the class. Take a morning class to meet a few parents with similar interests, and then spend the rest of the day exploring the museum with the kids and newfound friends. The museum allows outside food and drink, so feel free to pack a lunch or snacks for the kiddos.