Did you know that traveling with kids in San Francisco is a wonderful adventure? Yes, you heard it right! It’s a beautiful city and looks like your own backyard or playground. Make your kids feel like they are on top of the world with these activities that both your kids and you will surely enjoy.
Discover the Creatures of the Bay at the Aquarium at Pier 39
The Aquarium of the Bay is a popular option for those visiting San Francisco with kids. The aquarium is in the heart of Pier 39 and easy to access from anywhere in the city. Here you will learn more about the plants and animals in the SF Bay. Other fun things to do at the aquarium include the hands on lab and the 3-D movie theater.
Best Times to Visit:
- The best time to visit is first thing in the morning. This is usually when I visit and it’s still pretty quiet during this time.
- The weekdays are the best, as the weekends can get quite crowded. However, if you get there early, you can usually beat the crowds.
- A trip to the San Francisco Bay Aquarium will take anywhere from an hour to three hours. If you plan on catching the movies and/or the magic show, then add another hour to your visit time.
Ticket Prices and Hours:
Children (4-12) and Seniors (65+): $14.95
The family pack tickets are $68. This includes tickets for two adults and two children.
*There is also a behind the scenes tour at the aquarium. It is a little more expensive, but a great way to learn even more about the animals that live in the SF Bay.
Daily: 9 am to 8 pm
Visit the 4-Floor Rainforest at the California Academy of Sciences
The most visited museum in San Francisco is the California Academy of Sciences. There are several fun activities for both kids and adults. Walk through the four-story rain forest, see a show at the planetarium or watch the fish swim at the large Steinhart Aquarium. You can also step in the earthquake simulator to feel what it’s like to be in an earthquake.
Additional Visiting Tips & Ticket Options:
A visit to the San Francisco Science Museum will take anywhere from two to four hours. This all depends on what you want to see – and when you can get tickets to the planetarium. Even though this sounds like a long visit – the time will fly by.
Since the museum is really popular, I recommend heading over first thing in the morning. You can secure your tickets to the planetarium and start your visit before it gets too crowded.
Monday – Saturday: 9:30am to 5pm
Sunday: 11am – 5pm
The museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.
It is recommended buying your tickets in advance. This allows you to skip the line and head straight in when you arrive.
General admission pricing:
Seniors (65 and older): $29.95
Students with ID: $29.95
Youth (12 – 17): $29.95
Child (4 – 11): $24.95
3 and Under: Free
How to get there:
The San Francisco Science Museum is located on the eastern side of Golden Gate Park. There are several options that will get you to the Academy including public transportation, driving, or the hop on hop off bus tour.
Tinker with the Exhibits at the Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is a hands-on, educational museum for kids of all ages. Here you can visit hundreds of exhibits where you will learn things such as how electricity works, what causes earthquakes and how important everyday things are made. It’s a great way to spend the day in San Francisco with kids.
Visiting the Museum
The Exploratorium in San Francisco is open during the following hours: Summer Hours (through Friday, September 2)
Saturday – Thursday: 10am – 5pm
Thursday evenings (18+): 6pm – 10pm
Friday: 10am – 10pm
Monday: Closed except on select holidays
Adults (18 – 64): $29.95
Seniors (65+), People with Disabilities, Teachers, Students, and Youth (13-17): $24.95
Children (4-12): $19.95
Children 3 & Under: Free
After Dark Tickets (Thursday Nights for 18+)
Lab Members: Free
Admire the Animals at the San Francisco Zoo
This SF attraction is often overlooked, but is the perfect activity for kids. This San Francisco activity is just steps from the Pacific Ocean on the western side of the city. Here you can see tigers, penguins and gorillas. You can also see a few rare animals such as a snow leopard, a black rhinoceros and two polar bears. Make sure you check out the animal feeding schedule too.
Visiting Tips: Tickets, Hours, and Other Details:
The San Francisco Zoo is open every day including holidays. Their regular hours are:
Mid-March to October: 10am to 5pm
November to Mid-March: 10am to 4pm
Adults (15 – 64): $20
Seniors (65+): $17
Children (4 – 14): $14
Children (3 and under): Free
*Another thing to note is that there is a fee for parking right at the zoo. The cost for parking during the week is $10. The cost on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays is $12.
See the Cables in Action at the Cable Car Museum
The Cable Car Museum is a free museum in SF’s Nob Hill neighborhood. While it covers the history of the cable cars, the most interesting thing for kids is the large wheels pulling the cables. There are currently four cables running in the city for the three cable car lines.
The San Francisco Cable Car Museum is free and open every day.
April 1 – September 30: 10am to 6pm
October 1 – March 31: 10am to 5pm
Closed on New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
How to Get Here:
The museum is at 1201 Mason Street. This is the star on the map above at the corner of Washington and Mason Streets.
A visit to the San Francisco Cable Car Museum takes about an hour to an hour and a half.
The best way to get here is to take the Mason/Powell or the Hyde/Powell lines. Both stop right out front of the museum.
Images source: http://www.sftravel.com
Travel for Kids has so many fun things to do with kids in San Francisco, but you’ll need a fun place to stay. If you’re looking for a quiet and budget-friendly hotel in San Francisco, San Francisco Inn is the best choice. Located right in the center of San Francisco, the hotel is comfortable for families, and near to places you’ll want to explore with your kids.