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Top-10 Exciting Things to Do in San Francisco with Kids

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I’m Veronica Brown, I’ve been traveling for more than 10 years, traveled to more than 100 countries of the world, sharing with you the most useful and important information on the pages

San FranciskoWelcome to San Francisco: A city of gentle sun, winds and fogs. It does not matter whether you come here with children or alone, you will definitely have what to do and what to see. There are a lot of interesting things to enjoy spending holidays with kids here. Here you will find a selection of the greatest places for children, which will not leave indifferent neither kids nor their parents.



Thing to do number 1: Gain knowledge about different physical phenomena visiting Exploratorium

exploratorium san franciscoExploratorium is known as a popular interactive scientific museum, exhibitions and exhibits of which in an accessible form tell about various physical phenomena. All the exhibits can and should be touched. Moreover, in some of them there is absolutely no sense until the visitor touches them. That’s why the museum is so popular with children. They are often brought here to arouse interest in science and new knowledge.

Exploratorium appeared on the site of the pavilion, which the Americans built for the Panamoto-Pacific International Exhibition in 1915. The pavilion was a huge rotunda made of concrete, which at that time was only part of the ubiquitous use. The building was so popular with the townspeople that, at the end of the exhibition, they gave it a second life and arranged a museum here. The museum is also an informal educational center. The Museum was founded in 1969 by the famous American experimental physicist Frank Oppenheimer, who remained director of the museum until his death in 1985. Oppenheimer was convinced of the need to create public museums in addition to curricula at all levels. In 1969, Oppenheimer received a grant of $ 50,000 from the San Francisco Foundation, for which the museum was founded.

Exploratorium is engaged in the professional development of teachers, and since its foundation participates in the reform of science education. Currently, Exploratorium has developed a number of alternative educational extracurricular programs. Exploratorium also seeks to help unprofessional teachers and parents.

The museum’s exposition consists of many rotating exhibits. Currently, the collection of the museum has more than 1000 exhibits (475 of which are part of the permanent exposition).

The museum’s exhibits cover a number of subject areas, including:

  • human perception (for example, sight, hearing, learning and cognition),
  • life science,
  • physical phenomena (such as light, movement, electricity, waves and resonance, and weather phenomena ).

Since 1974, more than 250 artists working in various art fields have held their exhibitions in the Exploratorium Museum. Annually about twenty artists are invited to participate in new exhibitions, as well as to stay at the museum. Within these events, original installations, exhibitions or performances are arranged. The museum cooperates with famous figures of cinema, music and theater. Among the collaborators of the museum are Laurie Anderson, John Cage, Phillip Glass, Steve Reich, Brian Eno, Trimpin, Walter Kitundu. The museum has two floors. They are arranged in such a way that one can observe what is happening on the other.

Interesting: Among the examples of artwork can be noted Tactile Dome (created by the August Coppola project) representing a three-dimensional labyrinth in which visitors can only move by touch.

Thing to do number 2: Take a ride on the cable car

cable car san franciscoIf you are traveling in San Francisco, then certainly you want to explore the main attractions of the city. In this case, you and your kids will be glad to see one of the most recognizable city attractions – the famous cable car that runs around the city.

Predominantly, the cable car trains tourists on tourist routes. It is worth noting that the current system of cable cars in San Francisco is included in the National Register of Historic Places.

Tips to make your trip even more enjoyable:

  • Try to take a place at the window, than you can provide yourself with a sightseeing tour of San Francisco.
  • You can take with you a map on which you will independently track those stops on which you can stand. The tram route passes through a number of popular tourist places in San Francisco such as Hyde Street and Chinatown.

Remember that the driver needs time to stop the tram, so it is recommended to report his exit in advance.

The history of the cable cars of San Francisco began on August 2, 1873, when the first tram was launched by its creators Andrew Halliday on Clay Street. Initially, the first active cable railway was called Clay Street Hill Railroad. The inventor of the new urban vehicle was Ebner Doubleday. Officially, the transportation of passengers on the first tramway line of the city began on September 1, 1873. Soon the cable car became a success, which served as the basis for the construction of a ramified system of urban cable railway.

Important: Children under the age of 5 don’t need to pay for the ticket.

Thing to do number 3: Have a walk in the Japanese Tea Garden

Japanese Tea Garden san franciscoIf you want to enjoy natural beauty, to experience calm and harmony in Japanese style, then do not miss the opportunity to visit such a tourist attraction of San Francisco as the Japanese Tea Garden, attracting the attention of tourists from all over the world every day. There is a garden in the territory of the Golden Gate Park.

Visitors to this garden will experience the most tranquility, strolling through the amazing park and enjoying the intoxicating aromas of such plants as sweet wisteria, tender cherry blossoms, March and April blossoms, Japanese maples and bamboo groves.

The little guests are usually attracted by the arched bridge, which has the form of a drum. Besides, there are many other things worth attention:

  • pagodas,
  • ponds with fish,
  • sculptures,
  • regal stone lanterns.

But the main purpose of the garden is tea ceremonies, which provide a unique opportunity to get acquainted with such ancient Japanese custom as the art of tea drinking.

Interesting: In the garden there is a souvenir shop, where you can buy some nice things reminding you of the beautiful walk in the garden.

Thing to do number 4: Spend night in the tent camp of the San Francisco Zoo

San Francisco ZooThe San Francisco Zoo covers an area of 40 hectares in the south-west of the city, near the lake of Merced, on the Pacific coast. It contains more than 250 species of animals from different parts of the world, and the total number of inhabitants is over 700.

The zoo was founded by a banker, Herbert Flechhäcker, in 1929. During the year, the monkey island was built, houses for elephants and tigers and aviaries for bears. It was the first zoo in the US, in which there were no fences, and some parts of the territory were separated by moats with water.

A special attraction of the zoo is the zoo of insects. Here you can see such exotic species of insects as:

  • the sizzling cockroaches of Madagascar,
  • tarantulas,
  • scorpions,
  • termites and insect-ghosts, known as stickers.

Adults and children can study them under a microscope and in a game form get acquainted with the world of insects, as well as watch videos and read books.

For children and their parents, the zoo offers a unique opportunity to spend a “Night in the Zoo”, in a tent camp, broken down in the center of the park on the lawn.

Interesting: There is a large souvenir shop where you can buy a variety of themed toys and souvenirs for you kids.

Thing to do number 5: Get acquainted with the sea world in the Aquarium of the Bay

San Francisco Aquarium of the BayAquarium in San Francisco is a two-story building with two huge aquariums, through which you can go through special transparent tunnels and several separate aquariums of a slightly smaller size.

Among the inhabitants of the Aquarium there are:

  • huge jellyfish,
  • ocelli crabs,
  • rays,
  • octopuses,
  • starfish,
  • tiger sharks
  • and other inhabitants of the San Francisco Bay.

In special telescopes, the underwater landscape can be seen in detail.

Interesting: Aquarium not only tells about the inhabitants of the bay, but also acquaints visitors with the ecology of the reservoir and the way it affects human activity.

Thing to do number 6: Visit Planetarium in the California Academy of Science

San Francisco Academy of ScienceThe scientific organization of the USA, existing in the form of a large museum of natural history, was established in 1853. Now it is engaged in scientific research, exhibitions and education.

In 2008, the Academy moved to a new building in the park “Golden Gate”. Its construction lasted more than 10 years and cost the authorities $ 500 million. It includes not only scientific, office, administrative and museum departments, but also:

  • an aquarium,
  • a planetarium,
  • a scientific archive,
  • a library,
  • a botanical garden,
  • a lecture hall,
  • a 3D cinema,
  • two restaurants,
  • a Naturalist Center,
  • a terrace with lawns on the roof (the so-called “Green roof”),
  • aviary,
  • shops.

Thanks to the newest building, the Academy is one of the most modern museums in the world. The planetarium with a huge dome hangs over the deepest in the world imitation of a living coral reef. Under the other dome there is a real moist tropical forest with 40 different kinds of birds. And all in the museum there are more than 10 thousand different creatures.

Interesting: On a space of 4000 square meters, there are dioramas with African animals, a giant skeleton of a tyrannosaur with an open mouth and many other exhibits.

Thing to do number 7: Have an educational walk in the Marine National Historical Park

San Francisco Marine National Historical ParkSan Francisco’s Marine National Historical Park is an open-air museum that includes several interesting sites: Hyde Street Pier, Visitor Center, National Maritime Museum and Marine Museum Library.

The Hyde Street dock is located in the port area in the northeast of the city, called “Fisherman’s Wharf” – this is one of the main tourist attractions of San Francisco. The following historic vessels are moored on the pier of Hyde Street: the Balclutha sailing vessel of 1886, the CA Thayer schooner of 1895, the 1890 Eureka ferry, the Alma 1891 schooner, the 1908 Hercules tug and the 1913 Eppleton boat propulsion.

A lot of small boys imagine that they are captains of ships. Here you and your kids will have such an experience boarding the vessels, inspecting the cabins, the engine room, the captain’s cabin, listening to the stories of the guides about the naval history of these places. In addition, there are many small sea ships of the end of the last century – the beginning of the last century.

A minute’s walk from the pier is the museum building, which tells about the history of navigation, the construction of sailing ships, modern sea liners and also demonstrate the technical arrangement of lighthouses.

Interesting: It will be interesting and useful for children to visit temporary exhibitions held here, which tell about the history of many inventions, for example, radio or television.

Thing to do number 8: See the collection of cartoons in the Walt Disney Family Museum

San Francisco Walt Disney Family MuseumThe Walt Disney Family Museum was opened in October 2009 in the Presidio National Park in San Francisco, California, USA.

Walt Disney is a famous American animated cartoonist, film director, screenwriter, founder of Walt Disney Company. He shot 111 films and was the producer of another 576 movies, won 26 Oscar awards. In 1968, Walt Disney was posthumously awarded the Gold Medal of Congress – the highest award of the United States.

The Animation Classic Museum was founded by his daughter Diana Disney Miller. Here you can see the exposition of:

  • personal belongings,
  • documents,
  • a collection of cartoons,
  • sketches of drawings to them,
  • a model of Disneyland and other exhibits.

The Disneyland model is very interesting. That’s how in his imagination Disney represented a wonder-city. In diameter, the model is slightly less than 4 meters. There are authentic attractions of the park, as well as some ideas that have not been completed.

The building is saturated with modern equipment: 215 monitors for viewing cartoons, sound equipment for listening to music for films, a cinema for 120 people. In the vast hall of the museum there are 248 awards exhibited, received by Walt Disney.

Interesting: The back wall of the museum is completely made of glass, which allows you to admire the views of the bay and the bridge “Golden Gate”.

Thing to do number 9: Dive into the children’s paradise called the Children’s Adventure Museum of Sausalito

San Francisco Children’s Adventure Museum of SausalitoIf you are with the children at the Golden Gate Bridge, do not be lazy to move through it and ride 10 minutes to the Children’s Adventure Museum of Sausalito. This is the only place about which it is absolutely possible to say that it is suitable for children of all ages. The museum consists of 8 blocks. Part is in inside and the other part is outside.

So, your children can enjoy a lot of activities here:

  • draw from the heart and sketch anything, even yourself, and then wash;
  • simulate a real port or just play in the port catching crabs, or picking up cargo on board the ship and all this in an adult way, for real;
  • play in the railway.

This is a children’s paradise. Twist the hoop, play drums, blow bubbles, climb masts, run in the labyrinth – all this can be done in the museum of discoveries.

Interesting: In the museum you can feel yourself a real pirate, a builder, a great scientist, and a traveler.

Thing to do number 10: Treat yourself to chocolate at the Ghirardelli Factory

Ghirardelli FactoryThe chocolate company Girardelli is a division of the Swiss confectioner Lindt & Sprungli in the USA. The company was founded and named after the Italian chocolate Domenico Ghirardelli, who, after working in South America, emigrated to California and opened his chocolate factory in 1852.

Girardelli’s chocolate company is the third most senior in the United States, after Baker’s Chocolate and Whitman’s. Almost a century after the opening, the factory became one of San Francisco’s main attractions and remains up to this day.

Both adults and kids will be impressed by the variety of chocolate candies. The assortment of sweets is very large:

  • different milk chocolate,
  • chocolate with caramel,
  • chocolate with raspberries,
  • black chocolate with mint,
  • truffle,
  • chocolate with the taste of sea salt.

Be sure to try the ice cream, which will be made from chocolate Ghirardelli in front of you.

Interesting: You can not only satisfy your little sweet tooth with tasty chocolate and ice-cream but also show the process of making chocolate at the factory.



Written By:

I’m Veronica Brown, I’ve been traveling for more than 10 years, traveled to more than 100 countries of the world, sharing with you the most useful and important information on the pages

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