There are many kid friendly museums in the Bay Area. Both San Jose and San Francisco have multiple museums that kids of all ages love to visit. I have been to many, myself, and these are hands-on and welcome kids to touch and experiment with the displays, too. Some, like the Genghis Kahn exhibit at The Tech Museum in San Jose, CA, do not allow any hands-on, and do not allow flash photography, but others like the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA does. Other museums in the area, like the Children’s Discovery Museum, San Jose or Exploratorium in San Francisco, are great for school field trips because the kids learn as they handle the displays.
The Tech Museum in San Jose, CA
201 South Market Street San Jose, CA 95113
For directions including BART, Light Rail, CalTrain, driving and bus, click here.
The Tech Museum is currently featuring “Genghis Kahn: The Exhibit”. This is the only west coast stop for this exhibition and has limited hours and runs through July 2010. The admission prices also include admission to the other Tech galleries as well. For ticket prices, including member pricing, click here. They warn of no video or flash photography in the Genghis Kahn exhibit.
There are many permanent exhibits in the Tech Museum that both adults and children will enjoy: The Tech Awards Gallery, Technology benefiting humanity, The Tech Virtual Test Zone, Green by Design, [email protected], IDEA House, The Spirit of American Innovation, Life Tech Gallery, Innovation Gallery, and Exploration Gallery. Each one of these is unique and fascinating. My son loves this museum and it is his favorite. The Tech Museum is popular with local schools for science field trips.
The Tech Museum also sports an IMAX theater. They are currently featuring “Arabia”, “Hubble”, “IMAX Under the Sea” and “Twilight: Eclipse”. To view the schedule and movie descriptions, click here.
California Academy of Sciences: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA
55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco Ca 94118
Contact info: (415) 379-8000 or [email protected]
For directions, click here.
Ticket Pricing is as follows:
Senior (ages 65 and over), Student and Youth (ages 12-17): $19.95
Child (ages 4-11) $14.95
Ages 3 and under free
The California Academy of Sciences hours are Monday through Saturday 9:30am to 5:00pm and Sunday 11:00am to 5:00pm.
The California Academy of Sciences boasts the Steinhart Aquarium, Morris Planetarium, Kimball Natural History Museum, Rainforests of the World, and the new Extreme Mammals Exhibit.
The California Academy of Sciences is also a very popular destination for school field trips of students of all ages. I volunteered as a chaperone with my son’s day camp last summer. It was a lot to take in during a short amount of time. If you choose to go, and I advise everyone to go at least once in his or her lifetime, I suggest you make it an all day trip. You need the time to fully take in all the exhibits. We started with the Rainforests of the World. It is a huge sphere in the middle of the building that has 4 floors of rainforests. It is positively amazing to see such a wonder in the middle of a building in Golden Gate Park! Next we walked around the Kimball Natural History Museum, admiring the dinosaur bones and the hands-on exhibits for the kids. We then walked over to the “Swamp” and got to view Claude, the albino American alligator. He was fascinating to see. The Steinhart Aquarium was downstairs and all of the kids stopped and were in awe of the stunning fish swimming around the ceiling high tanks. Even the most active kids stopped to admire the coral reefs and be mesmerized by the swimming magnificence of the fish and sea life. Sadly, I cannot report on the Morris Planetarium, but I heard it was absolutely awesome to see. This year the California Academy of Sciences is hosting the new Extreme Mammals Exhibit. I hope to go on another field trip this summer to see that one, too. Yes, I could take my kids to see it, but being there with 40 other kids, and seeing how they all respond and react to the beauty of this museum is worth it. Each kid will bring home a different memory of this vast museum and hearing them chatter about their favorite exhibits on the bus ride home, is worth it.
Children’s Discovery Museum, San Jose CA
The Museum is located in downtown San Jose at the intersection of Woz Way and Auzerais Street. For directions, click here, and pricing, click here
For more information, please call (408) 298-5437 ext. 259 or e-mail at [email protected]
The Children’s Discovery Museum is currently showing Bob the Builder™ – Project: Build It. It is a hands-on exhibit featuring the characters from the popular show. To see the other great exhibits like Run! Jump! Fly!Adventures in Action™, open May 29th through September 9, 2010, and many others, click here and look to the left of the page.
Exploratorium in San Francisco, CA
Located at the Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
For directions click here, and for ticket pricing, click here.
If you are into the sciences, then this is the museum for you. Click here to see the floor plan of this gigantic building of knowledge. I went on a field trip 3 years ago with my son and the same day camp personnel, and it was so memorable that my son and I still talk about what we learned and saw.
Personal experience with my son
The above hyperlinks for Children’s Discovery Museum, Exploratorium, California Academy of Sciences, and The Tech Museum