If you grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, you probably 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. I used to love coming here as a kid, and now my children love to visit, too.
For most of its life, the Exploratorium was located at the iconic Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco's Marina District, but in 2013 it moved into an all-new, much larger facility at Pier 15 on the Embarcadero. The new Exploratorium is bigger and better, and features all your 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.
There's plenty of fun to be had for families at Aquarium of the Bay this spring! Aquarium of the Bay focuses on the aquatic animals that live right here in San Francisco Bay, featuring sharks, rays, sturgeons, moray eels, and more. You can even take a walk under the Bay itself in the Under the Bay exhibit and touch animals like leopard sharks, sea stars, and bat rays in Touch the Bay! The aquarium offers special programs for all ages this spring including Riveropolis and Predators of the Bay. We're giving away a family pack of four tickets to the aquarium; read on to find out how to enter to win.
At Riveropolis, play, engage, explore, and discover in this miniature river that doubles as in interactive art exhibit through April 19, 2015 from 10 am to 5 pm. Simulating a river that flows from the mountains to the ocean, this multi-level river is perfect for kids of all ages and sizes. Not just for looking at, this dynamic river has it all, including arts and crafts and engaging hands-on opportunities. Make your own raft or boat at the crafts table using reclaimed materials, such as wine corks and popsicle sticks. Then, place your handiwork on the stream and watch it float down the river.
Take a break from your busy schedule and join together with other families a few Saturday mornings a year at Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco. Known as Shabbat “Chai” (meaning “life” in Hebrew), theses Saturday mornings take the traditional Shabbat service and turn it into a lively celebration filled with activities, elective classes, a family-friendly service, and a potluck lunch.
Sherith Israel started Shabbat Chai two years ago to encourage families to participate in Shabbat morning services together with rich and meaningful Jewish experiences. The three days a year that it’s held are in lieu of Sunday school that week. The next Shabbat Chai takes place on Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.
Every mom deserves a fun night out, and you're invited to Mom's Night Out SF 2015, which takes place on Saturday, January 31, from 5 to 9 pm at the Hotel Diva in San Francisco. Mom's Night Out is an event series or moms-to-be, new moms, and moms with a gaggle of kids young or old to have fun and focus on themselves!
Mom's Night Out is a premier event series open to moms of all ages. Each meet-up centers around a theme such as going green, networking, shopping, fitness, and pampering. Mom's Night Out is open to moms of all ages, from moms-to-be to empty nesters. Relax with friends, meet some new ones, and just have some time to enjoy yourselves!
San Francisco's Presidio is a great destination for family fun and a gem right in our own back yard. The Walt Disney Family Museum, located in an historic building at the Presidio's Main Post, is a fantastic and fascinating place for you and your family to visit when you're there.
The Walt Disney Family Museum chronicles the life and work of Walt Disney himself, and is a must-visit for any Disney fan. Learn about Walt's life and legacy through artwork, historic artifacts, movies, music, animation, and interactive activities. It's a fascinating look at how Disney became a pop culture powerhouse in 20th-century America, and it offers behind-the-scenes insights into the creativity and imagination of its creator.
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 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!