San Francisco for Kids

6 Activities in San Francisco Kids Will Love

California has its share of exciting theme parks, which kids love, but San Francisco offers experiences everyone - including the kids - can enjoy. From riding the trolley up and down the hills to exploring the shops offbeat neighborhoods, or even just admiring the water from the Golden Gate Bridge. If you’re headed to San Francisco with the kids, you’ll find the city is a playground filled with activities for the whole family.

1. Walt Disney Family Museum

Presidio Park of San Francisco

The Walt Disney Family Museum chronicles the life and work of the world-famous Walt Disney. Interactive exhibits, photographs & film provide the progression of Walt's humble beginnings from his first job as a cartoonist to opening the most successful theme park in history. Watch clips from many of Disney's movies learn about the creative process that went into designing the beloved rides at the Disney parks. The kids will love the animations, memorabilia, and of course, Mickey Mouse. The museum sits in a large park, Presidio of San Francisco, which is an enjoyable walk or hike in itself. On a clear day, you’ll be able to spot the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

2. California Academy of Sciences

san francisco for kids

For the budding scientist in your little genius, this museum may spark independent thought and new ideas about the world around us. Home to one of the largest collections of natural history in the world (over 46 million objects). there’s no time for boredom. Learn about the life of dinosaurs at the interactive exhibit “Dino Days.” Lean back in the planetarium and see & hear facts about the solar systems, stars, and our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Every Thursday, the museum hosts a “Nightlife” event, where the adults have the museum all to themselves and can see the exhibits plus take in live music.

3. Exploratorium

san francisco for kids

Science and math lovers will thoroughly appreciate this museum's approach with educational interactive exhibits. Open year-round and perfect for active kids (and adults) who love getting their hands, and maybe shoes, dirty. Walk through the “Out Quiet Yourself” exhibit to see how softly you can walk on a gravel path. Use your voice to create visible patterns in the sand. Be amazed and maybe confused by your eyes as they change perception when flooded by different colorful lights. After a full day exploring here, your kids might need a nap!

4. USS Pampanito

san francisco for kids
A unique experience in the bay, the USS Pampanito is a submarine-turned-museum and is a great stop to your day visiting the beautiful waterfront of San Francisco. What was once a naval submarine used in WWII in 1944-1945, is now open to the curious public who can see how sailors lived months in cramped quarters. Guests can tour almost every room on the vessel including the motor room, radio room, torpedo room, and forward deck. For a truly different experience, ask about the special night tours offered, allowing you to sleep in one of the submarine’s 48 bunk beds.

5. Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

san francisco for kids

Up to 10,000 handmade cookies per day are made at this factory, which has been producing cookies since 1962. You can watch the cookie-making process from mixing to baking on a rotating griddle wheel. Try a free sample and pick up a bag or 2 to take home. Aside from the traditional cookie, try a strawberry, chocolate, or green tea flavor. For extra fun, glazed or dipped cookies can be eaten. The factory will create a customized message tucked inside the delicious treat, making for a one-of-a-kind souvenir.

6. Whale Watching Tour

san francisco for kids

A must-see for nature lovers or anyone looking for a thrilling adventure on the high seas (ok, it’s just the bay - but it counts!) is an afternoon of whale watching. Between December and April, ships take passengers on a cruise in the bay to catch sight of majestic gray and killer whales on their migration south for the winter. You may even get splashed as they breach the bay waters. Truly a fun way to spend some time with the family!

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