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7 BEST Bay Area Activities for Families

Are you taking the kids to San Francisco? Those traveling to San Francisco with children are going to want to plan activities that will keep the kids interested. We have some great Bay Area activities for families you should consider.

7 San Francisco Bay Area Activities for Families

7 Favorite Bay Area Activities for Families

When traveling with your family to San Francisco, add these activities to your list of things to do:

Take the kids to the California Academy of Science in San Francisco

1. California Academy of Sciences 

One of our favorite Bay area attractions for families happens to be located in Golden Gate Park.

Named one of the largest Natural history museums in the world, the California Academy of Sciences is more than just a museum. It is an aquarium, planetarium, and also research building.

California Academy of Science Rain Forest

Your kids will have a great time exploring the indoor rain forest, the earth quake simulator, dinosaur fossils and all the interactive features inside!

Earth Quake simulator California Academy of Sciences
Courtesy Another Believer

Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time here! I’d say at the least, 3 hours.

Hours of Operation:
Monday – Saturday: 9:30 am – 5 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 5 pm
Thursday Night Life (21+):6 – 10 pm

Admission Varies, but the earlier you book your ticket, the better (The California Academy of Sciences is on the Go San Francisco Card).

Walt Disney Museum in San Francisco

2. The Walt Disney Family Museum

When you think of Disney, you probably don’t think San Francisco!

Located in the Presidio of San Francisco, The Walt Disney Family Museum chronicles the life of Walt Disney (made possible by his eldest daughter, the late Diane Disney Miller).

Inside you will find interactive galleries, exhibits narrated in Walt’s own voice, early drawings, cartoons, movies, and a 13-foot model of Disney’s original vision of Disneyland.

This is one of our favorite Bay Area attractions for families traveling with children of any age since everyone is familiar with Disneyland and the Disney catalog of movies.

Hours of Operation:
10am-6pm everyday but Tuesday

Tickets can be purchased online or on the property.

3. Museum of Ice Cream (Currently Closed)

If you have come to San Francisco with teens, you will certainly win cool points if you take them to the Museum of Ice Cream. While called a museum, it is not really a museum so to speak, but a multi-sensory exhibit.

You will find colorful displays and rooms that have some sort of interactive component that makes them perfect for taking selfies!

You’ll find everything from a unicorn to a swimming pool of rainbow sprinkles.

Hours of Operation:

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 12:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Friday: 12:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Saturday: 9:30 am – 8:45 pm
Sunday: 9:30 am – 8:00 pm
Tuesdays: Closed

All tickets are $38; Children 2 and younger are FREE
Groups of 10 or more can buy tickets at the discounted rate of $29 per ticket

Madame Tussauds and San Francisco Dungeon Combo

4. Madame Tussauds

A great attraction in San Francisco for teens is Madame Tussauds. 

At Madame Tussauds, they will find Hollywood icons, popular pop culture celebrities along with British royalty, and other world leaders in wax to pose for pictures with. 

The tour also includes going behind the scenes to learn how they are created.

145 Jefferson St, 145 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA

Madame Tussauds Hours of Operation

  • Sunday – Thursday 10:00AM -7:00PM
  • Friday – Saturday 10:00AM – 8:00PM
Take your kids to Exploratorium in San Francisco
© Exploratorium,

5. Exploratorium at Pier 15

Even if your kids aren’t particularly interested in science, they will find this interactive space with more than 650 hands-on exhibits a fun way to spend the day!

Exploratorium is full of things to keep both their minds and bodies engaged. 

At this museum, you will find different themed galleries to explore. Your kids can do everything from stand inside a powerful natural vortex to create their own sculpture with reuseable materials.

Tactile Dome at Exploratorium
© Exploratorium,

Kids will be fully engaged in learning how things work in many different capacities!

Be sure to see the 22-foot tall Tinkerer’s Clock in motion, find out how bugs come together to decompose a rat carcass and explore the Tactile Dome where you will put your senses to the test. 

Exploratorium Demonstrations
© Exploratorium,

Throughout the Exploratorium you will find docents to answer questions and live demonstrations taking place.

Fog Display at Exploratorium
© Exploratorium,

And the fun doesn’t end inside. There is even more going on outside, like a full immersive fog display that explains how fog works.

Since the museum is indoors and outdoors, be sure to wear appropriate clothing and kids should wear clothes that allow them to explore the museum and interact with ease.

Hours of Operation: Tuesday–Sunday 10 am to 5 pm

Bay Aquarium in San Francisco

6. Aquarium by the Bay

If you are planning a trip to Fisherman’s Wharf, you really should take the kids to the Aquarium by the Bay.

While small, this aquarium has some neat features that make it worth a visit (especially since it is on the Go San Francisco Card).

Sea Urchins & Anemones

You will get to see all the different types of aquatic life, from jellyfish to sea anemones. There are sharks, different reptiles, and even some super cute river otters. 

Hours of Operation:
Open Every day from 10 am – 6 pm

Yoda Statue at Lucasfilms

7. Lucasfilm

If you have kids who are fans of Star Wars, you should make the trip to Lucas Film headquarters. Located in the Presidio of San Francisco, this is the main campus for Lucasfilm.

Lucasfilm’s campus is a working production facility so while you can’t tour the production studio, you can walk in the lobby and see some pretty cool memorabilia! The main lobby is open to the public from 8 am-5 pm Monday-Friday.

Location: 1 Letterman Dr, San Francisco, CA 94129

One thing we do recommend is purchasing a Go San Francisco Card in advance of your trip. This card can save you a ton of time and money as many of the places on our list of favorite Bay Area activities for families are on it.

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Have you been to San Francisco with kids? What are some of your favorite things to do?

Looking for outdoor adventures in San Francisco? Consider these outdoor activities in the Bay area.

Want to visit a few nearby places? We have a great list of day trips from San Francisco.

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