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Kid Friendly Museums In San Francisco

The Walt Disney Family Museum

Museums Rule! | KQED Arts

Housed in a historic former army building in the beautiful Presidio National Park, the Walt Disney Family Museum offers an in-depth look at the life and work of Walt Disney. Note that this museum includes a lot of historical pieces , so despite its name, it might not be the best choice for young children. Look for special exhibits like Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World, which runs through early 2020.

After visiting the museum, explore the Presidio with a walk on Crissy Field or a hike to Wood Line or Baker Beach.

Children’s Creativity Museum San Francisco

The Childrens Creativity Museum offers hands-on, multimedia arts and technology experiences designed to build creative confidence in children ages 2-12. Located in Yerba Buena Gardens near Moscone Center, the Children’s Creativity Museum gets bonus points for having an awesome 1906 LeRoy King Carousel right outside its front door! Location: 221 Fourth Street , San Francisco 94103. More info: or 820-3320.

Society Of California Pioneers

One of the oldest organizations, the Society of California Pioneers founded the first library in the state. Established in 1850, it is now run by the direct descendants of its founding members and serves as a public museum and research library. The Society memorializes every defining moment in Californian history and there are many of them! From the Gold Rush to the 1906 earthquake to the early settlement of the state, all milestones are preserved carefully thanks to the Societys repository of primary source materials. You can find the Society of California Pioneers in the Presidio of San Francisco, a now-historic park, a recreation area that used to serve as a US military fort.

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Sfo Museum Louis A Turpen Aviation Museum And Library

San Franciscos Aviation Museum and Library offers a glimpse into the importance of commercial aviation and how it plays a role in our everyday life. Since it’s located in the International Terminal of the citys airport, this museum in San Francisco a great last stop in the City by the Bay to get entertained and informed. Modeled after the citys 1930 passenger lobby, the museum focuses on the history of the airline industry and the region-specific Pacific area. The museums exhibitions, research services, and educational programs are free of charge to the public. Its exhibitions are constantly changing, and focus on different aspects of the airline industry, such as fashion in-flight which discusses stewardess uniforms.

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park In Jamestown

Best Museums in San Francisco for Kids

For even more railroad fun, visit one of the Gold Countrys most popular attractions the Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in the old Gold Rush town of Jamestown. Its a train buffs paradise featuring Sierra steam locomotives and a working roundhouse. These massive machines have been used in many movies and television shows, including High Noon, Little House on the Prairie, Bonanza and My Little Chickadee. The trains at the roundhouse are on display daily year-round, and from March through September they offer 40-minute weekend rides. When combined with a cavern tour, gold mine tour, and gold panning lessons, a trip to Railtown makes for the ideal family adventure getaway.

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Julius Kahn Playground And Clubhouse

West Pacific Avenue & Spruce StSan Francisco, CA 94118 713-4997

Why youve got to go: For a long time this has been the place where families come for a good day out.

There are a lot of family-friendly activities here which will keep you coming for more.

In 2003, it was remodeled into a Parisian playground which has since fascinated kids too.

Children will love the interactive wet sand play sculpture and climbing equipment, while adults can relax to views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Mount Tamalpais.

What to do: This is the local version of the Luxembourg Gardens.

Theres interactive sculptures for the children to play with and mom and dad can relax while enjoying a lovely view of Mount Tamalpais or the Golden Gate Bridge.

Its a great place to go to if you are moving around with a baby.

For: All ages.

Chabot Space And Science Center Oakland

Chabot Space and Science Center is a hands-on center featuring interactive exhibits, a digital planetarium, a large screen theater, hands-on activities and three powerful telescopes. Fun for kids of all ages. Location: 10000 Skyline Blvd, Oakland. Hours: Saturday & Sunday, 10 am5 pm, closed MondayFriday. More info: or call 336-7300.

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California Academy Of Science Museum

Many people recommended the California Academy of Science as one of the San Francisco family attractions, and Ill admit it does sound awesome.

However, we did not visit California Academy of Science as we found it expensive, costing our family $210 to visit for the day.

Considering we travel full time and are immersed in the world of nature, science and natural history every day, we didnt feel this was worth our money.

But, for you, this San Francisco childrens museum may be completely different. Id highly consider it on a return trip to San Francisco with kids, if we had more budget.

Things To Do In San Francisco With Kids

An inside look at the New Children’s Museum during Museum Month 2022

When you come to sunny San Francisco with your child, you can be sure that you won’t leave without bright impressions! The city of contrasts offers entertainment for children of all ages. Many parks, museums, cafes, and entertainment centers will not let your little companion get bored. Have a look at the selection of the most interesting places to plan the route of your exciting journey in advance.

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Go To The Exploratorium

The Exploratorium in the Embaracdero is a brilliant interactive science museum thatll entertain kids and adults alike. Step inside a tornado, build electrical circuits, and visit the mad scientists penny arcade. Skip the ticket line and book your ticket now. Its a really fun place for kids in San Francisco.

Muir Woods National Monument

This place is ideal for family vacations and a child’s close encounter with nature. The fabulous Muir Woods National Monument is located 20 kilometers north of San Francisco, in a gorge along the Pacific coast. Some of the world’s tallest trees grow here, all thanks to its unique climate. Some of them are more than 70 meters tall, and the average age of the plants is between 500 and 800 years old. The park has a huge number of scenic walking trails and sites whose beauty is breathtaking. A trip to Muir Woods is a great excuse to spend a day outdoors, have a picnic, and take a break from the city’s noise.

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Pancakes At Dotties True Blue Cafe

For big helpings of American breakfast favorites, including huge pancakes, take your kids to Dotties True Blue Cafe .

This is a locals fave, and theres always a line. We got there early and had a 40 minute wait, but anything thats good and popular with the locals is busy in this city.

It is located in a bit of a sketchy area of the Tenderloin District although we felt comfortable enough.

Consider getting an UBER straight to the door, but we walked from our Kimpton Hotel in Union Square .

Zip Around In A Gocar

32 Fun Things to Do in San Francisco with Kids for 2020 (Family Friendly!)

Driving around in a GoCar is one of the top things to do in San Francisco area with kids that you may not have thought of.

Actually, when you see these small yellow cars zipping around the streets you may think its not kid-friendly at all. But our girls had a blast and it was one of the top San Francisco family activities they were most looking forward to.

It was part of our Sightseeing Pass and we only had an hour included with that. I didnt feel that was enough time. We left in peak hour traffic so got held up with that and didnt get to jump out of the car.

Id recommend hiring a car for more time and doing the longer routes around the Presidio and Golden Gate Park.

It really was a fun way to get around and are pretty easy to drive.

Top Tip:

This is probably NOT something to do in San Francisco with toddlers! Whilst there is no age limit, there is a weight limit of 30 lbs minimum.

Also, check whether your car insurance or travel insurance policy covers excess vehicle insurance for a motorbike, which is what the GoCars are classified as.

This is one of those unique San Francisco attractions for sure I dont think Ive seen this anywhere before.

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Stairways Around San Francisco

Another fun thing to do in San Francisco with kids is to check out our colorful stairways. You will find them all around the city and they are a fun way to work off some energy.

Some of the most popular are the mosaic stairs including the 16th Avenue and Hidden Garden Stairs. If you plan to visit Coit Tower, you can also climb either the Filbert Street Stairs or the Greenwich Stairs to the top for your visit.

You will also find other interesting stairways in some of SF’s other top districts and near some of our best attractions.

> > Find a list of my favorites around SF

San Francisco Museums Kids Will Love

San Francisco is bursting with interesting and unique things to do with kids and teens. If youre looking for a great museum experience for your family, be sure to check out these fourteen best San Francisco museums for kids!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links, which help support this site at no additional cost to you. only recommends companies and experiences we use and love!

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Ride The Hop On Hop Off Bus

What young kids dont like riding on the top of a big double decker bus? Especially driving across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge!

We like starting a visit to a new city by doing these hop-on-hop-off buses as it gives you a nice overview of the city and allows you to see some cool places you may wish to return to.

It can also help you save on transportation fees as they typically take you to the most iconic San Francisco points of interest.

And they are usually included in the Sightseeing Pass which is also why we jump on these buses and suggest you add this activity to your list of things to do with kids in San Francisco bay area.

Go To Pier 39 And Fishermans Wharf

Walt Disney Family Museum Tour! | San Francisco California

Its a tourist trap, but there are many reasons kids will love it, not least for being able to spot the sea lions jumping on and off the pier. Its a sure hit on the list of things to do with kids in San Francisco. Theres also a carousel, mirror maze, the wave organ and 7D experience .

Pier 39 is also home the incredible Aquarium of the Bay, which is rated as one of the best San Francisco kids attractions. Its home to 20,000 marine animals, including sharks, rays, octopus, jellyfish and otters. Skip the line and buy an advance ticket here.

Also see the USS Pampanito, a WWII submarine turned museum and memorial.

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Museum Of Russian Culture

The Museum of Russian Culture situated on 2450 Sutter St. of Lower Pacific Heights, San Francisco is a venerated archive on Russian history, the Bolshevik revolution, the first wave of Russian immigration from Siberia, China and the far East as well as to acknowledge the Russian-American community in San Francisco. This museum in San Francisco was initially established in 1948 as an archive space for safeguarding Russian artefacts from in and around America was later converted into a museum in 1953 for remembering significant Russian contribution to the American landscape. The museum is home to relics including newspaper clips, magazines, letters, journals, photographs, military flags and uniforms, the Ipatieff bomb, an Ampex video recording system, amongst other personal and historically significant artefacts from Russian history.

The Exploratorium In San Francisco At Pier 15

Scientific American magazine rated the Exploratorium the best science museum in the world and I couldnt agree more. Inside youll find hundreds of exhibits that explore everything from giant bubble-blowing to Einsteins theory of relativity. Its like a mad scientists penny arcade, educational fun house, and experimental laboratory all rolled into one and every exhibit is designed to be interactive, educational, and fun. Dont think its just for kids parents inevitably end up being the most reluctant to leave. The gift store at the Exploratorium is my favorite place to do my birthday shopping for my nieces and nephews and you dont need an admission ticket to shop there.

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How To Get Around San Francisco With Kids

San Francisco is a city where you dont really need a car. The public transport is excellent and we only used our car to get in and out of the city.

The SFMTA website is useful as you can track live progress of the bus/train/cable car youre waiting for, and the Muni app is handy as its an easy way to buy tickets for your journey.

If you are parking in the city, be warned that you tend to be limited to a two-hour stay on residential streets, and also watch out for when street cleaning is happening as you mustnt park during those hours . We also found a really handy app called Best Parking, which tells you about free/cheap places to park in the city.

Disney Movie At The Disney Museum

Best Museums in San Francisco for Kids

Most weekend days, the Walt Disney Museum shows a classic Disney movie in their Fantasia Theater. These films range from Bambi to Mary Poppins.

Although the schedule varies slightly, you will usually find at least one show in the morning and a couple showings in the afternoon. Tickets are an additional $5 for those with tickets to the museum. If you just want to see a movie, the cost is $10 for adults and $8 for youth. Five and under are free

The museum itself is also interesting. It walks you through the life of Walt Disney. It shows you all about how he got started, some early versions of his cartoons, the process to create those cartoons and so much more.

VRBO: In addition to hotels, you’ll also find some great places to stay locally through VRBO. Book an apartment or a room and feel more like a local. Find some great places to stay on VRBO here.

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Ripley’s Believe It Or Not

In other words, it is a museum of paradoxes! It was named after Robert Ripley, an American artist, and collector who assembled many unique and extraordinary things from all over the world. The slogan of the museum is “Believe it or not.” Its exhibits include a wax replica of the tallest man on the planet, stuffed dinosaurs, matchstick houses, pictures from dictaphone tapes, and a mummy mermaid. Each item on display is truly amazing. In addition, visitors can animate some of the installations themselves. Children will find it interesting to interact with the interactive exhibits and feel like a guest of a small fairy tale world.

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Your kids might also love:

  • 7D Flyer
  • Mirror Maze

Pier 39 is full of those touristy kitschy things. We didnt hang around for too long, but we did those activities as it was included on our Sightseeing Pass didnt cost us any extra and the girls really loved it.

Video: Top Attractions in San Francisco with Kids

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Glbt Historical Society Museum

The Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Historical Society is an organization that started to support the acceptance of the LGBTQ community and validates their fundamental rights. The museum has an archive reading room with an extensive collection of photographs, periodicals, personal audiovisual recordings and stories, etc. They showcase exhibits about Harvey Milks life as an openly gay politician, his assassination, etc. The display includes temporary exhibits regarding AIDS awareness, drag-queens, life of activist Angela Davis, Gay Pride, etc. In addition to this, they host panel discussions, film screenings and galas. The museum gift shop offers a range of apparel, accessories, bags, etc.

San Francisco Railway Museum

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San Franciscos antique railway system that runs throughout the city is a vital part of its identity. Its also one of the few places where the vintage system can be experienced to its fullest. The San Francisco Railway Museum is a tribute to the citys rail history. Kids can experience what its like to be at the helm of one of SFs iconic railcars in the lifesize streetcar. There are historic artefacts, interactive displays, and AV displays. The museum is a perfect example of using modern technology to bring the past to life. The free museum is located opposite the San Francisco Ferry Building, where you can take a ferry across the Bay to the many islands like Alcatraz Island and Angel Island.

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Watch Read Listen + Make

Access for free admission for visitors 18 and under is made possible by major support from Arthur Rock and Toni Rembe Rock. Generous support is provided by Irwin and Concepción Federman, Patricia W. Fitzpatrick, Crankstart Foundation, Maryellie and Rupert Johnson, and Lisa and John Pritzker.

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