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.

Bay Area Discovery Museum

This holiday season, family favorite the Bay Area Discovery Museum offers a chance to meet reindeer Snowflake and Blizzard on December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, and 23. They'll also hold winter-themed drop in programs, and Santa will pay a visit to the museum on December 16 and 17. To wrap things up, ring in the new year a little early at their Noon Year's Eve party from 9 am–2 pm on December 31 with a noontime ball drop, DJ spinning tunes, art activities, and more. Location: Fort Baker, 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito, 94965. www.bayareadiscoverymuseum.org

Charles M. Schulz Museum

Santa Rosa's Schulz Museum offers a variety of Peanuts-style holiday programs, including hands-on Chanukah crafts and activities on December 10, gingerbread doghouse workshops on December 16 and 17, a Kids' Night at the Museum on December 16, and Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! on December 31, complete with root beer toasts at noon and 3 pm. Location: 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa. schulzmuseum.org

California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park welcomes back its popular 'Tis the Season for Science program, with hands-on exhibits, indoor snow flurries, science movies in the Snowman Theater, carolers, and real live reindeer! There's even an outdoor ice skating rink (separate admission). The fun takes place November 22 through January 7; the Cal Academy is open on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, too. Location: 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco. www.calacademy.org

Walt Disney Family Museum

The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco's Presidio presents the exhibition Home for the Holidays at Carolwood (on view through January 8, 2018) and the documentary Christmas with Walt Disney, both highlighting holiday celebrations at the Disney family home. The museum will also offer screenings of classic Disney film Lady and the Tramp throughout DecemberLocation: 104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco Presidio. waltdisney.com

Playland-Not-At-The-Beach

This museum of fun in the East Bay town of El Cerrito celebrates all the holidays of the season with its Holiday Classics Weekend on December 9 and 10. Spot all the classic holiday characters and win a prize! They'll be open daily for the Wacky Winter Wonderland from December 16 to January 1 (closed Christmas Day). Location: 10979 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito 94530. www.playland-not-at-the-beach.org

Lawrence Hall of Science

UC Berkeley's family-friendly science center holds its annual Winter Weeks celebration from December 16 through January 1. Events include films, including The Polar Express, in the National Geographic 3D Theater, live animal encounters, hands-on science activities, planetarium shows, and a New Year's Eve balloon drop (at 11 am, 1 and 3 pm). Location: 1 Centennial Drive, Berkeley, CA 94720. www.lawrencehallofscience.org

Habitot Children's Museum

Berkeley's Habitot holds a holiday gingerbread house making party—where you can help decorate a giant gingerbread house—on December 23. When finished, the house will be donated to a local family shelter. They also offer a gingerbread house workshop on December 10. Location: 2065 Kittredge Street, Berkeley 94704. www.habitot.org