Let your children's’ imaginations run wild as they create the ultimate gingerbread house, complete with candy canes, gumdrops, frosting, and other treats at the Bay Area Discovery Museum this holiday season! This season's Gingerbread Architecture Extravaganza takes place on three days only: Saturday, December 21, Sunday, December 22, and Monday, December 23, with five sessions per day: 9:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 2 pm, and 3 pm.
The cost is $30 per gingerbread kit for Bay Area Discovery Museum members and $40 per kit for non-members. Each kit purchased includes museum admission for one adult and one child. Pre-registration is required, so register online at the Bay Area Discovery Museum's website.
Make sure to reserve your spot as soon as possible, because this extremely popular event does sell out.
We've participated in this event a few years ago, and it's a lot of fun for the whole family. The museum supplies you with gingerbread pieces, frosting, and lots of candy decorations. All you need to do is bring your imagination and build your own unique gingerbread house creation!
Boo! Come get a jump on Halloween at the 27th annual Goblin Jamboree at the Bay Area Discovery Museum! Bring your little goblins to this year’s spooky fundraiser on Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20 from 10 am–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. This fundraiser supports museum education programs, exhibitions, and community access initiatives. Tickets available at the door. Museum members $13, general $15, infants six months and under free. All activities and entertainment are included with admission.
Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum, everybody's favorite hands-on place for kids to learn and explore, will be closed for its annual maintenance the next two weeks: Monday, September 9 through Monday, September 23, 2013. The museum will re-open on Tuesday, September 24, 2013. For more info call (415) 339-3900 or visit www.badm.org.
Did you know you can visit most of the Bay Area's major museums and cultural attractions for free every month? Just about all museums have one day a month set aside as a free day. They all aren't on the same day, too, so if you plan it right you can take in several museum outings without having to pay a thing.
Note that most museums charge for admission to special exhibitions, although the general admission fee is usually deducted from the total; see details with each museum listing below. Also, groups are generally not admitted on free days; check with each museum for their free day group policy.
First Sunday of the Month—September 1
Asian Art Museum—Enjoy free admission and special family programs on Target First Free Sundays
One of the Bay Area's favorite family summer outings is a visit to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. The Cal Academy re-opened in 2008 in a state-of-the-art sustainable building that features amazing attractions like a natural history museum, aquarium, planetarium, two-acre living roof, a four-story rain forest, and even a 3D theater. It's definitely a must-visit family destination!
Currently on view this summer is Built for Speed. This special exhibit, on view through September 29, showcases the sea's fastest denizens, from mako sharks and humboldt squid to a sailboat designed by America's Cup defender Oracle Team USA.
Also on the don't-miss list is the incredible new movie The Last Reef 3D: Cities Beneath the Sea. Put on your 3D glasses and find yourself underwater in some of the earth's most spectacular underwater settings. You'll not only be amazed, but learn how these environments are as vital to the earth as the rainforests. We all kept finding ourselves reaching out towards the screen to touch fish and other sea creatures—it was that real! The Last Reef 3D plays every hour from 11 am to 4 pm, and is included in your Cal Academy admission.
If you grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, you no doubt 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.
Until recently, the Exploratorium was located at the iconic Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco's Marina District, but it recently moved to an all-new, much larger facility at Pier 15 on the Embarcadero. This new building features all the 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. The new location is spacious and stunning and worth checking out.
We can't think of a better way to spend Father's Day weekend than at the California Academy of Sciences' Penguins + Pajamas sleepover—it's a fantastic family experience that's both fun and educational. The next Penguins+Pajamas sleepover is scheduled for Saturday, June 15, and we're giving away a pair of tickets to a lucky Marin Mommies reader!
Experience your own "night at the museum" as you explore the exhibits after-hours, stargaze at a planetarium show, enjoy a special live animal presentation, explore the fastest fish and swiftest sailboats in the Academy's Built for Speed special exhibit, and dance and sing along to your favorite tunes from the Radio Disney AM 1310 Road Crew. Before bedtime, settle in for story time with cookies and milk to learn about Pierre—the Academy’s famous wetsuit-wearing penguin.
When the lights go out, unroll your sleeping bag in African Hall, next to the swaying kelp of the aquarium's California Coast tank, or even at the Swamp window, face-to-face with Claude, the albino alligator. In the morning, rise and shine, then head over to the Academy Café for a continental breakfast.
Like many other fourth graders in Marin, my son has been immersed in California history this year. One of the books that he read in class was Patty Reed's Doll, which tells the story of the ill-fated Donner Party from the point of view of one of its youngest members and her beloved doll "Dolly." When we learned that Dolly herself is on view at Sutter's Fort State Historic Park in Sacramento, we decided we had to make the trip to go see it.
Sutter's Fort was built between 1841 and 1843 by Swiss-born pioneer John Augustus Sutter, who made it the centerpiece of his settlement which he dubbed New Helvetia. Sutter's Fort was a welcome sight for many early California immigrants who often endured arduous conditions crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Sutter was renowned for his hospitality and assistance to immigrants, but his lands were overrun by gold-seekers after 1848, destroying much of the empire that he built.
While the two-story adobe Marin Building is original, the rest of the fort, including the 15-foot-high adobe walls, has been reconstructed. Step through the fort's gates, though, and you're back in the 1840s, especially if one of their special interpretive "Hands-on History" programs is taking place.
One of our favorite destinations in San Francisco is the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, especially when they're presenting a special exhibit. This spring and summer, visitors to the Conservatory can get eye to eye with a butterfly in Butterflies & Blooms, in the special exhibits gallery through October 20, 2013.
Butterflies & Blooms transforms the Conservatory's special exhibits gallery into an intimate cottage garden that plays host to hundreds of butterflies! You'll see over 20 species of North American butterflies, including monarchs, western swallowtails, red admirals, and more, as well as several giant moths like the colorful cecropia moth.
We paid a visit to Butterflies & Blooms last week. When you first walk into the room, you realize you're walking into the butterflies' habitat. The gallery is draped in a giant white net that contains the fluttering inhabitants. The hundreds of butterflies are free to fly around the room and land on the butterfly-friendly plants and flowers like daisies, sunflowers, and zinnias, and the effect is magical. Some will even land on you—we were told it's good luck!