The San Francisco Symphony always presents wonderful family concerts for holidays. We've always really enjoyed their offerings, and this year was no exception! This season's family holiday program is A Charlie Brown Christmas—Live! and we were lucky enough to attend a performance this Saturday. The classic Christmas special A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of our family favorites, too, so we were really excited to experience this concert.
Concerts begin with a family friendly reception in the lobbies of Davies Symphony Hall. If you go, make sure you get there early to meet Peanuts characters, pose for pictures in Lucy's psychiatry booth and Snoopy's dog house, take in the amazing decorations, and listen to some holiday music. Drinks, including hot chocolate and Shirley Temples, and snacks are available for purchase, too. Our kids loved "Candyland", where you could buy a box and stuff it with as much holiday candy as you could for $5. (No, they didn't eat it all in one sitting.)
This winter break, take in some holiday cheer and meet some real live reindeer at San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Through Sunday, January 4, 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 "'Tis the Season for Science" lineup.
Visit with Willow and Yukon, a pair of live, six-year-old reindeer, in the east garden and learn about how they live in their cold northern homeland. Then, step inside the Snowman Theater to see Roaming with Reindeer, a family-friendly show that explores what life on the tundra is like for these amazing creatures.
While you're there, you'll also enjoy indoor snow flurries, caroling special holiday performances, and more. You can even meet "Santa Claude", the Academy's albino alligator mascot, and watch "Scuba Santa" at work in the Steinhart Aquarium.
The holiday classic A Charlie Brown Christmas is always on our must-see list every holiday season, and this year it's being performed live at the San Francisco Symphony! A Charlie Brown Christmas—Live! features the animated backgrounds on the big screen, dancing, singing, and Vince Guaraldi's music performed by the Symphony.
This special family concert also features vocalist Lisa Vroman and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, who, along with the symphony, will perform hoiday classics ranging from an Irving Berlin medley to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". You'll also be able to add your voice as you sing along with some of your favorite carols.
How would you like to go see the San Francisco Ballet's celebrated Nutcracker this holiday season? We're excited to give away two tickets to the special family matinee performance of Nutcracker on Friday, December 19 at 2 pm. This exciting San Francisco holiday tradition is truly spectacular and not to be missed!
Family performances include a special gift for the first 500 children in the door, a special photo op and with costumed Nutcracker characters, and sweet treats during the intermission. You'll definitely want to get there early, since lines at the Opera House can get long.
To enter to win, send an email to email@example.com with "Nutcracker 2014" in the subject line by noon PST on Friday, December 5. We'll select a random winner on Saturday, December 6. Our thanks go out to San Francisco Ballet for generously sponsoring this exciting giveaway. Read our giveaway rules and terms here.
The Presidio Officers' Club re-opened to the public back in October, and if you haven't had a chance to check it out yet you definitely should put it on your list of things to do with the family! This "new" destination is actually one of California's most historic buildings, with portions dating back over 200 years to when it was created as part of the Spanish colonial El Presidioin 1776.
Once a gathering spot for military officers and their families, the Presidio Officers' Club underwent a $30-million-dollar renovation and now serves as a public space offering fascinating exhibits, fun family activities and public programs, unique works of art, and more. Admission is free, too! We had a chance to visit last weekend, and it's a fantastic destination for families in the Bay Area.
If you're looking for fun this summer, be sure to check out the offerings from the San Francisco Zoo. The Zoo is presenting fun events every weekend in July, as well as bonus activities throughout the summer. Here's what's taking place for the remainder of the month at the Zoo. Unless otherwise noted, events are free after museum admission.
July 19 & 20, 10:30 am–4 pm
Come make the acquaintance of the newest Zoo residents: a seven-year-old male and a 13-year old female wolverine! Learn about the conservation challenges this amazing species faces in the wild, and meet the comic book character Wolverine in person!
The San Francisco Presidio's Crissy Field has undergone many changes in its lifetime, from tidal marsh to military airfield to one of the Bay Area's premier recreation areas. Crissy Field is a great place to spend the day with the family, and has a wonderful mix of outdoor attractons, amenities, and local businesses, as well as spectacular views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Crissy Field is a fantastic destination for walking, bicycling, kite flying, or playing at the beach. It offers a waterfront promenade and trails that are popular with dog walkers, runners, and cyclists (and parents, judging from the number of strollers we usually see there), as well as a clean stretch of sand along San Francisco Bay.
The water here is perfect for wading and playing in the gently lapping waves. Lawn areas and picnic tables, some with charcoal grills, are available, too, so bring a picnic and your beach blanket and umbrella and spend the day. Torpedo Wharf, a pier on the north end of the field, is a popular spot for fishing and crabbing.
Parents in Marin and the Bay Area looking for a music class for their kids have many options to choose from. One of the more unique resources for musical education for little ones is Little Folkies. Run by Marin parents Irena and Joshua Smith, Little Folkies keeps kids engaged and entertained with classic music in the spirit of folk legends like Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. Little Folkies' main studio is in San Francisco's Noe Valley, and they offer regular classes at locations in Marin, including San Anselmo and Mill Valley.
We asked Irena to tell us about how Little Folkies came about, and what makes it a unique music experience for children.
What makes Little Folkies different from other music classes?
There are a lot of aspects of Little Folkies which make it distinctly unique. But to what really sets Little Folkies apart from other music classes of its kind are three things… Songs, aesthetic, and the fact that the business is truly independent and locally born and bred right in San Francisco.
Kids can get hands-on with 21st-century technology and the arts at San Francisco's Children's Creativity Museum in the city's Yerba Buena neighborhood. Formerly known as Zeum, this fun and educational resource on the roof of Moscone Center is the perfect place for families with kids of all ages. You can literally spend all day here working on projects and having a blast.
The Children's Creativity Museum offers numerous opportunities for imaginative play and learning, and features a stop-motion animation studio, a music studio, a design studio, an innovation lab, art galleries, and more. The museum also boasts a fantastic 1906 Looff carousel, which is currently undergoing an extensive renovation. It and its hand-carved menagrie of 65 animals is due to re-open on Saturday, April 26, 2014, so you won't have long to wait to ride it again!