San Francisco has so much to offer families and tourists who are looking for a fun city with kid friendly destinations, great sight-seeing, tours and American history. If you’ve never been, San Francisco is a fun place to visit for all ages and I’ve narrowed down our top 10 family fun destinations in San Francisco just for you. We had fun at these places during our last visit and I’m sure you will too!
The Exploratorium is located at Pier 15 and is a museum of science & art with hundreds of hands-on displays for all ages to enjoy. The museum consists of a few hundred exhibits, fun film screenings, and art and science investigations. Plan on spending some time here discovering the wonders of light, friction, water, movement, ocean life, weather facts, photography, inertia etc. It’s truly a fun experience. Food and drinks are available in the cafe should you get lost in your exploration and need to have lunch.
California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences is definitely a fun place to take the kids to. When we visited, the kids and I enjoyed the beautiful aquariums, a planetarium, and natural history museum. The most interesting exhibit here is the Osher Rainforest located in the middle of the museum and is a four-story rainforest filled with free-flying birds, reptiles, amphibians and Amazonian fish. Be sure to wear layers because the rainforest can get pretty steamy! Want to learn more before you make your plans? Check out these live web cams.
Blue and Gold Fleet Bay Cruise
Located at Pier 39, the Blue & Gold Fleet’s 60-minute Bay Cruise Adventure was perfect for a sunny day. We’ve never been to San Francisco before and I’m so glad we chose this cruise. During our trip, we sailed past the PIER 39 sea lions and cruised along San Francisco’s waterfront admiring San Francisco’s skyline from the Bay learning history of the city and Alcatraz Island from our guides. We also toured underneath the Golden Gate bridge which was breathtaking! We have several wonderful pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge from the water that captured the true beauty of our cruise.
The Cable Cars are so much fun for the kids. A true San Francisco experience without a doubt! To make it easy, I recommend purchasing a San Francisco City pass that allows you to not only visit the aquariums and attractions mentioned in this post but also free cable car rides for a full 7 days. This allowed us the leisure of riding them when we had time to squeeze it in. They even saved us during a long day of shopping. Since I had already purchased a ticket, we were able to just hop right on. This is something our kids don’t have here in Michigan so it was both adventurous and a fun cultural experience for them.
AT & T Park
Watching the Giants play at AT&T Park is a must! Kids love ballparks and this one is beautiful with beautiful views. AT&T Park was chosen, as the 2008 Sports Facility of the Year by Sports Business Journal and it’s quite obvious why. During our visit the Giants won against the Mets. The night was a win-win for all of us!
Aquarium of the Bay
Pier 39 offers so much and the Aquarium of the Bay is another great destination at the Pier. The Aquarium is located in a 50,000 square foot building filled with sea life directly from the Bay. Walking through the glass tunnel and being surrounded by sharks, rays and several types of fish was the most exciting part of our tour. The kids loved it and I did too! Click here to buy your tickets and be sure to ask about the Behind-The-Scenes and Feed-The-Sharks tours.
Walt Disney Family Museum
Located in beautiful Presidio, the Walt Disney Museum is 40,000-square-feet of real Walt Disney life. Walt Disney family photos, letters, memorabilia and examples of his Disney’s work are shared on each floor. We enjoyed the video displays of over 200 video screens throughout the galleries that played interviews with Disney, early “how-to” drawing tutorials and up-to-date accomplishments of the famed theme parks and their old and current attractions. The museum also offers education and hands-on workshops for teachers and students to inspire imagination and exploration. It also includes a museum store, a Fantasia-themed theater, and a cafe if you’re in need of lunch or a snack during your visit. Click here for upcoming calendar events.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a non-profit aquarium with a mission to conserve our oceans. For thirty years they’ve been fully focused on protecting the oceans for future generations while inspiring guests with the beauty and wonder of sea life and their environments. Infants to seniors, this venue is fun and educational for everyone. The aquarium is filled with sea creatures, and fish including; sea turtles, penguins, sea otters, sharks, and much more! Coming from Michigan, this museum opened our eyes to many sea creatures we don’t get to see everyday and taught us about their habitat, species and the current dangers in our seas effecting them. This is a great stop off the beaten path for the kids.
De Young Museum
De Young Museum is located in the same park as the California Academy of Sciences mnetioned above (Golden Gate Park) and has been available for guests to enjoy for over 100 years. The facility integrates art, architecture and the natural landscape in one multi-faceted destination. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron and Fong & Chan Architects in San Francisco, the building is absolutely gorgeous inside and out. American art from the 17th through the 20th centuries, textile arts, and art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas are all celebrated at de Young.
San Francisco Zoo
The San Francisco Zoo is a great place for kids of all ages. The zoo is full of interesting animals including giraffes, chimpanzees, grizzly bears, kangaroos, penguins and much more. They even have fun attractions for the little ons to keep them busy including a Little Puffer Train, a Wild encounter Tour and a Dentzel Carousel. This zoo is also dog friendly, so you can take your favorite pet with you for a walk and enjoy the park together.
So there you have it. A list of our top 10 family fun destinations in San Francisco. My best advice is to purchase a San Francisco City Pass prior to your trip and enjoy the city! Do you have a favorite destination in San Francisco? Have a question? Please leave a comment below if you like. I’d love to hear from you.