Museums for Kids

'Tis the Season for Science at the California Academy of Sciences

December 3, 2017

'Tis the Season for Science

This winter break, take in some holiday cheer at San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Through Sunday, January 7, 2018 you can take in not only classic Cal Academy sights like the giant T-Rex skeleton, aquarium, planetarium, rain forest, and African hall, but special winter-themed programming and attractions as well as part of its annual "'Tis the Season for Science" lineup.

Step into the museum's East Garden and hit the ice on their holiday ice rink, which offers 55-minute skating sessions for visitors this winter. Skating costs $12 ($10 for Academy members) and includes skate rental.

Visit a Museum for Free in December

December 1, 2017

Bay Area Discovery MuseumThe Bay Area Discovery Museum is free on the first Wednesday of the month, December 6.

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 and usually only the special exhibition fee is charged on free days; see details with each museum listing in our ultimate guide to San Francisco Bay Area museum free days below.

Also, groups are generally not admitted on free days; check with each museum for their free day group policy.

Bank of America Museums on Us—December 2 & 3

Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card holders get free general admission on the first full weekend of every month. Present your card and a photo ID for admission (one free general admission per cardholder). Get full details here. Participating museums include:

Holiday Family Fun at Bay Area Museums

November 23, 2017

'Tis the Season for Science California Academy of Sciences'Tis the Season for Science at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. ©2016 California Academy of Sciences.

The holidays are a perfect time for a family visit to a museum, where you can both have fun and learn something indoors. Many local San Francisco Bay Area museums offer fun holiday-themed programs, including hands-on activities, special exhibits, and more. You'll even find ice skating and real live reindeer! Here are six of our favorite local museums worth visiting with the kiddos this holiday season.

Hands-on Museums for Kids and Families in Marin and the Bay Area

November 19, 2017

Museum visitors are often told not to touch anything, but not at the museums listed here! These 11 local Marin County and San Francisco Bay Area museums offer lots of fun hands-on activities for kids and families. They're perfect for rainy-day outings or any time, really.

Bay Area Discovery Museum

Families with kids up to age 8 love Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum for its combination of hands-on fun, exciting programs and performances, rotating special exhibitions (currently it's Curious George: Let's Get Curious), and a great play area overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. It's a fantastic place to play away the day and take in the amazing views. Location: Fort Baker, 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito, 94965. Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 9 am–5 pm. More info: www.baykidsmuseum.org or (415) 339-3900.

Get SuperNatural at the Cal Academy this Saturday!

October 26, 2017

SuperNatural 2017

This weekeend, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco once again invites families to SuperNatural 2017! Grab your costumes and have a ghostly good time among spooktacular animals and spine-tingling scientific specimens while trick-or-treating through the world’s only aquarium-planetarium-natural history museum at night. SuperNatural takes place Saturday, October 28, 2017, from 5–9 pm

Free Activities for Families Affected by the North Bay Fires

October 14, 2017

California Academy of SciencesThe California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate park is offering free admission to families affected by the North Bay fires through this Sunday.

Many of our readers live in Sonoma County, and we're heartbroken at the destruction from the fires raging there right now. With many Sonoma and Napa families evacuated from their homes, and many families in Marin hosting them (we're one of them!), everyone is by now looking for something to take their minds off the sad situation. Many local museums, indoor play areas, and other attractions are offering free admission for those affected by the fires so families can get out of the smoke and enjoy themselves, recharge, and relax for a while.

Here's a list of places offering free admission to those affected by the North Bay fires. Listings with an asterisk (*) denote indoor spaces where you can get out of the smoke. Most require eligible visitors to check in at the admission desk when visiting. Follow the links in the titles for more information.

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

October 9, 2017

Goblin Jamboree

Come get a jump on Halloween at the 31st 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 21 and 22 from 10 am to 4 pm. This year’s theme is "Witches and Wizards" and they have put together a cauldron of spooky themed programs and activities to entertain your entire family.

Ride a train or real ponies, create your own wand and potions, make your way through a broom obstacle course and some hay mazes, play with glow-in-the-dark trains in the Bay Hall, explore the spooky sticker room, and and enjoy a full brew of games, activities and live entertainment. This year's event will feature live musical performances from the JimBo Trout, Juice and Jelly, and Beau Mathews. This event is the perfect Halloween party for kids ages 6 months to 10 years.

Where to Watch the Solar Eclipse in Marin and the Bay Area

August 19, 2017

Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls

In case you haven't noticed, there's going to be a total solar eclipse on Monday morning! On August 21 at approximately 9:05 am, the moon will start to pass in front of the sun, with maximum coverage occurring at around 10:15 am. This is the first eclipse visible across the entire continental US since 1979 and the last until 2024.

Unfortunately, in the Bay Area we won't get to see the sun completely blocked—you'll have to go to parts of Oregon, Idaho, Georgia or somewhere else for that, but 78% of it will be hidden from view, so the effects should still be dramatic! Here's our guide to places for solar eclipse viewing in Marin and the Bay Area on Monday, many of which will offer free eclipse-viewing glasses, usually on a first-come, first-served basis.

Dive into the Reef at California Academy of Science's Teen Science Night

August 7, 2017

#TeenScienceNight at the California Academy of Sciences

Calling all Bay Area teens! The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park is hosting its fifth annual #TeenScienceNight this Friday, August 11, 2017, from 6:30–9 pm. This event—the world's largest teen-only science event—features fun sciences programs, experiments, and talks, as well as food, music, and dancing. And, best of all, no adults are allowed, only teens ages 13 to 18. Admission is free.

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