Boo! Come get a jump on Halloween at the 26th annual Goblin Jamboree at the Bay Area Discovery Museum! Bring your little goblins to this year’s spooky fundraiser on Saturday and Sunday, October 13 and 14 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 6 months and under free. All activities and entertainment are included with admission.
We a blast at the California Academy of Sciences' Penguins + Pajamas sleepover when we attended last summer—it's a fantastic family experience that's both fun and educational. The next Penguins+Pajamas sleepover is scheduled for Friday, October 12, 2012, 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, and enjoy a special live animal presentation. 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.
This fall, families can sink their teeth into prehistoric fun in Golden Gate Park, where dinosaurs and ancient plants spring to life at three unique destinations: the California Academy of Sciences, the Conservatory of Flowers, and the San Francisco Botanical Garden. As part of “Dino Discovery in Golden Gate Park," each attraction will offer a variety of dinosaur-themed programs and events, all of which are within easy walking distance of one another.
At the California Academy of Sciences, visitors can travel through time and learn about the fascinating animals that once roamed the earth during a series of Jurassic in the Park programs from through November 15, 2012. This new series of events focuses on the evolution of dinosaurs, sharks, birds, and living fossils that still call this planet home and features the 3D show, Dinosaurs Alive! All programs are free with Academy admission (unless otherwise noted).
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 10 through Monday, September 24, 2011. The museum will re-open on Tuesday, September 25, 2011. For more info call (415) 339-3900 or visit www.badm.org.
Are your kids interested in outer space? Bring your budding astronauts to learn about space exploration in a hands-on environment at the Space Station, Novato's free, kid-friendly space museum. Located in a storefront in the newly renovated Pacheco Plaza shopping center, the Space Station is a small but rich little museum that offers families and school groups a chance to explore the history of spaceflight and exploration.
Kid can see, handle, and even try on actual space artifacts, many of which have actually flown in space. Try on a pair of Russian cosmonaut's space suit gloves for size, wear a prototype space helmet designed for the Apollo missions, and sit in a seat from a Soyuz spacecraft.
Objects on view are part of the collection of the W Foundation, a non-profit founded by Ken Winans and his wife Debbie Wreyford-Winans, and include American, Russian, and Soviet-era space equipment, clothing, photographs, a meteorite, and more. The W Foundation also works with organizations and events like Oakland's Chabot Space and Science Center, the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, and San Francisco Fleet Week to present educational exhibits on the history of space exploration.
Just across its namesake bridge from Marin County lies a perfect day-trip destination for familes: San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. This urban oasis boasts over 1,000 acres of forests, meadows, lakes, gardens, museums, playgrounds, and other attractions. There's so much to do here that you'll probably want to visit several times to take it all in.
Established in the 1870s, Golden Gate Park stretches from Ocean Beach in the west to the city's Haight-Ashbury district in the east, and is bordered by the Sunset and Richmond districts on the south and north, respectively. Whether your family wants to play at an historic playground, visit the penguins at the Cal Academy, take in some art at a world-class museum, or have lunch with a view of the Pacific Ocean, there's something for you to do here.
Although my daughter is only six, she's dead set on being a fashion designer. She's serious about it, too—she constantly draws pictures of original clothing designs and even makes outfits for her dolls and stuffed animals. When she heard about the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, she decided we had to take her to see it.
I was a little hesitant at first, since the flamboyant Gaultier has the reputation for being edgy and often risqué, and the museum itself put out notices that the show contained "adult content," but I'd also heard great things about it. Rather than pass on what could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we decided to go, with the idea that I'd help guide the children through the exhibition.
The show itself is fantastic. Even if you're not into fashion, or if you don't know anything about Jean Paul Gaultier, it's worth going for the spectacle and artistry of it. It's unlike any museum exhibition I've ever been too before, with a musical soundtrack, videos playing in monitors on the walls, and talking mannequins. Yes, that's right: many of the mannequins (including one that represents the designer himself) talk, as well as sing, smile, and even wink. In fact, my son was convinced one of the mannequins actually winked right at him! Even though this effect is accomplished through video projection, it really does seem like the mannequins are interacting with you. It's a little unusual, but it's also fun and mesmerizing and really contributes to the overall atmosphere of the show.
Walking into Golden Gate Park's magnificent Victorian Conservatory of Flowers is always a bit like stepping back in time. But through October 21, 2012, the Conservatory will transport visitors even further back in time than the 19th century with their newest exhibit, Plantosaurus Rex. Visitors to Plantosaurus Rex will encounter realistic model dinosaurs lurking within the Conservatory and surrounded by the plants that they were familiar with back in prehistoric times.
The first sign that something's not quite business as usual is the sight of a Tyrannosaurus Rex's fearsome looking head popping out of the glass Conservatory roof! (Don't worry—it's not really breaking throught the roof, it's just a clever and fun illusion.)
Inside, you'll see numerous examples of ancient plants from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, including ferns, horsetails, gingkos, coast redwoods, and orchids, along with the dinosaurs that ate them, like a life-sized baby Stegosaurus. You'll also see models of fearsome carnivores that ate the plant-eating dinosaurs, like the T Rex (or the rest of it, anyhow) and an Allosaurus.
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.
Located at the iconic Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco's Marina District, 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.
Founded by physicist and university professor Frank Oppenheimer, the younger brother of the Manhattan Project's J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Exploratorium is renowned for its hands-on experiments and demonstrations, which are facilitated by orange-vested "Explainers" who are on hand to teach and encourage visitors. Exhibits are created in the museum's own shop, and many are designed by artists-in-residence. Exhibits change frequently, so you may see some that you remember from when you were a kid as well as some that are totally new to you.