Kid Friendly San Francisco Attractions

Super Bowl 50 is less than a month away, which means that San Francisco and the Bay Area will soon welcome hoards of sports fans and their families. Granted there will be events surrounding America’s most popular sporting event, you’re going to likely seek out other activities during your stay in San Francisco, especially if you’re traveling with your children. With that in mind, here are some kid friendly San Francisco attractions that will surely keep the younglings engaged and entertained.

Kid Friendly San Francisco Attractions

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf, particularly Pier 39, is one of the most popular kid friendly San Francisco attractions. Here, you can take your children to watch dozens of sea lions sunbathe then visit the Aquarium of the Bay where they can learn about the types of plants and marine life that call San Francisco Bay home. Highlights include an exhibit about sharks and tunnels underneath a several hundred gallon fish tank featuring sharks, schools of anchovies, and giant sea bass.

Kid friendly San Francisco attractions: One of the Tunnels at the Aquarium of the Bay
One of the Tunnels at the Aquarium of the Bay

Practical Information

Location: Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39, Beach Street and The Embarcadero

Nearest Muni Stop: F Line to Embarcadero and Stockton St

Hours of Operation: Opens at 10 a.m. daily

Cost: General Admission is $22.95 for adults, $13.95 for kids 4-12 and seniors, and children under 4 are free

California Academy of Science

If you’re traveling with a young scientist in the making, ensure that you stop by the California Academy of Science, San Francisco’s premier science museum located in the city’s Golden Gate Park. Marvel at its four-story high rain forest while getting up close and personal with one of its 5,000 animal residents. It also features the world class Steinhart Aquarium where guests can view a number of marine habitats including coral reefs in the Philippines and the California coast. Finally, for the little ones curious about the cosmos, don’t miss the Morrison Planetarium and one of their lectures and shows.

Kid friendly San Francisco attractions: Diver Cleaning the Tank at Steinhart Aquarium
Diver Cleaning the Tank at Steinhart Aquarium

Practical Information

Location: Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive

Nearest Muni Stop: N Judah Streetcar, 9th Avenue and Irving Street

Hours of Operation: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays; last entry at 4 p.m.

Cost: General Admission is $34.95 for adults, $29.95 youths ages 12-17, seniors 65 and older, and students with a valid I.D., 24.95 for kids 4-11, below four are free

Exploratorium

It’s waterfront location is just one of the reasons to visit San Francisco’s latest museum. What makes the Exploratorium top the list of kid friendly San Francisco attractions is its highly interactive exhibits. Designed to be more like a giant educational center than a museum, it features hundreds of engaging displays about science, art, and human perception. Kids can learn what causes an earthquake through a simulation and discover how electricity works. There’s also a gallery that demonstrates how things we can turn garbage into gold.

Kid friendly San Francisco attractions: Pier 15 and Exploratorium from Telegraph Hill
Pier 15 and Exploratorium from Telegraph Hill

Practical Information

Location: Pier 15 at the Embarcadero

Nearest Muni Stop: F train to Embarcadero and Green Street

Hours of Operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday; extended hours on Thursday and closed on Mondays except some holidays

Cost: General Admission is $29 for adults, $24 for youths ages 13-17, seniors 65 and older, and students 18+ with a valid I.D., $19 for kids 4-11, below four are free

San Francisco Zoo

Zoos are always a hit with children and the one in San Francisco is no different. What’s more, this kid friendly San Francisco attractions also sits just right across the Pacific Ocean so you can spend a few hours perusing the animal exhibits and then hit the beach afterwards. A few of San Francisco Zoo’s highlights include the Australian WalkAbout where you can get up close and personal with kangaroos and wallabies, the South American Tropical Rainforest and Aviary where kids can experience first hand how a rainforest ecosystem really works, and the Jones Family Gorilla Preserve where you can view and observe the behaviors of western lowland gorillas. Their rare animal collection includes Sumatran tigers, black rhinoceros, polar bears, and a snow leopard.

Kid friendly San Francisco attractions: Elly the Black Rhino, San Francisco Zoo
Elly the Black Rhino, San Francisco Zoo

Practical Information

Location: Great Hwy across from Ocean Beach

Nearest Muni Stop: L Taraval line to San Francisco Zoo stop

Hours of Operation: Daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: General Admission is $19 for adults, $16 for seniors 65 and older, $16 for kids 4-14, free for children under $4; city residents get a 15-25% discount

San Francisco Beaches

You would never think of San Francisco as a beach town, but many forget that the western side of the city contains several miles of golden sand beaches. Despite the windy conditions and colder than normal water temperature, plenty of locals and visitors can be seen enjoying these urban beaches. Ocean Beach, the largest of the lot, has volleyball courts and several of picnic areas which makes it a popular choice for families.

Kid friendly San Francisco attractions: Kite Surfing at Ocean Beach
Kite Surfing at Ocean Beach

Practical Information

Location: Point Lobos Avenue, Great Hwy

Nearest Bus Stop: Take the #5 to Ocean Beach and get off at La Playa and Cabrillo Streets

Hours of Operation: Sunrise to around 10 p.m. or when the sun sets

Cost: Free

About Iris A

Website: http://www.travelingwithiris.com

Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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