Things to do with kids in San Francisco

California is a great place for families and children, and San Francisco is one its most child-friendly cities. Not only is there great weather, but there's also a plethora of fantastic attractions and activities to keep the little ones busy.

When the sun is out, visit world-renowned landmark Golden Gate Bridge and enjoy the sights, or even take an electric bike tour over the bridge. Not your typical theme park, the Gilroy Gardens are great for a picnic or a stroll and there is a great deal of space for kids to run around and let off some steam. There are also breathtaking views from the Panoramic Wheel and there are even a few rides for the younger ones to enjoy. Fisherman's Wharf is also a great day out and be sure to head to Pier 39 where there is plenty for kids to see and do.

When the weather is bad head out to some of the exciting museums such as the Exploratorium, the Children's Creativity Museum or the Bay Area Discovery Museum.

Exploratorium photo

Exploratorium

Named San Francisco's best museum, the Exploratorium is a fun, quirky museum of science, art and human perception that features some 650 'please touch' exhibits. Located inside the…

Exploratorium

Named San Francisco's best museum, the Exploratorium is a fun, quirky museum of science, art and human perception that features some 650 'please touch' exhibits. Located inside the Palace of Fine Arts, many of its exhibits are created by visual and performing artists as well as scientists and educators. Exhibits such as the off-site Wave Organ, a unique sonic exhibit that is located on a nearby piece of land jutting out in the San Francisco Bay, can be found nowhere else in the world. It is one of San Francisco's most popular museums, drawing over 500,000 people each year, with attractions such as its three-dimensional pitch-black Tactile Dome inspiring many visitors to approach challenges in a very different way. The Exploratorium frequently has fun, interactive Thursday night events for adults.

Address Pier 15 (Embarcadero at Green St)

Website www.exploratorium.edu

Transport

The Exploratorium has convenient access to public transportation, accessible by Muni’s F Market streetcar stop and Muni bus lines 2, 6, 14, 21, 31, and metro rail lines J, K, L, M, T, N stop within walking distance, amongst other options.

Opens Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am-5pm. Closed Mondays, except Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Admission

$30 adult, $20 children, other concessions available.

Aquarium of the Bay photo

Aquarium of the Bay

The Aquarium of the Bay features 300 feet (91m) of crystal clear acrylic tunnels through which over 20,000 aquatic animals can be viewed. The aquarium offers visitors the opportuni…

Aquarium of the Bay

The Aquarium of the Bay features 300 feet (91m) of crystal clear acrylic tunnels through which over 20,000 aquatic animals can be viewed. The aquarium offers visitors the opportunity to come face-to-face with the Bay's largest predator, the seven-gill shark, as well as touch leopard sharks, skates, rays and sea stars. The Aquarium hosts nearly 600,000 visitors every year and provides free classes and tours to the Bay Area school children annually, making it a wonderful San Francisco attraction for families.

Address Pier 39, the Embarcadero and Beach Street.

Website www.aquariumofthebay.com

Opens Open daily 9am-8pm in summer, reduced hours in other seasons.

Admission

Adults $29.25, Children $19.25 Concessions available.

Ripley's Believe it or Not! Museum photo

Ripley's Believe it or Not! Museum

Visitors at the Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum can be mystified and thrilled at the rare, the bizarre and the totally unexplained in the many interactive and state-of-the-art e…

Ripley's Believe it or Not! Museum

Visitors at the Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum can be mystified and thrilled at the rare, the bizarre and the totally unexplained in the many interactive and state-of-the-art exhibitions throughout the museum. The Marvelous Mirror Maze and the Impossible Laser Race are also worth the time. This is a must for families travelling with kids in San Francisco.

Address 175 Jefferson Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

Website www.ripleys.com/sanfrancisco

Opens Sunday to Thursday 10am-9pm; Friday and Saturday 10am-10pm.

Admission

$25 (adults); $19.84 (children).


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Oakland Zoo photo

Oakland Zoo

Boasting a menagerie of over 300 wonderful animals, the Oakland Zoo is a must for animal lovers and children. Highlights include a children's park, picnic area, wildlife theatre, c…

Oakland Zoo

Boasting a menagerie of over 300 wonderful animals, the Oakland Zoo is a must for animal lovers and children. Highlights include a children's park, picnic area, wildlife theatre, carousel and a miniature railway. The children's zoo allows kids the opportunity to get close to the animals and even pet them. There's also a small rides area, and a cafe and souvenir shop.

Address 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland

Website www.oaklandzoo.org

Opens Open daily 10am-4pm.

Admission

$24 (adults); $20 (children). Children under 2 are free.

Randall Museum photo

Randall Museum

The Randall Museum, also known as the Science and Nature Museum, provides plenty of enjoyable and exciting learning opportunities and experiences for children of all ages. The muse…

Randall Museum

The Randall Museum, also known as the Science and Nature Museum, provides plenty of enjoyable and exciting learning opportunities and experiences for children of all ages. The museum also features animals, such as birds, mice and snakes and children can even get to handle these critters as part of the educational experience. Workshops and programmes are also available to children and adults.

Address 199 Museum Way , San Francisco, CA 94114

Website www.randallmuseum.org

Opens Open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Admission

Free

Children's Fairyland photo

Children's Fairyland

This ten-acre entertainment park on the shores of Lake Merritt features carousel rides, puppet shows, friendly animals and displays of story-book sets from well-loved characters li…

Children's Fairyland

This ten-acre entertainment park on the shores of Lake Merritt features carousel rides, puppet shows, friendly animals and displays of story-book sets from well-loved characters like Johnny Appleseed, Peter Rabbit and Alice in Wonderland. Children of all ages will love a trip to Children's Fairyland where they can let their imaginations run wild.

Address 699 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland

Website www.fairyland.org

Opens Winter: Friday to Sunday 10am-4pm; Spring and fall: Wednesday to Sunday 10am-4pm; Summer: Monday to Friday 10am-4pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm.

Admission

$12, babies under 12 months free

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