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, 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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