Bay Area Discovery Museum
Location: 557 McReynolds Rd., Sausalito, Ca 94965
Pricing: $$ (you can often find them on Groupon)
Hours: Tues-Sun, 9am-5pm
Description: Bay Area Discovery Museum is one of my favorite places to go! The backdrop is beautiful, surrounded by the Marin headlands with the Golden Gate Bridge in plain view (easy picture access). Parts of the museum are outside so you can enjoy the outdoors and the view from wherever you are. The outdoors is one of the most exciting parts! There are endless possibilities for children to explore: a gravel pit for digging, a real boat to climb in and out of, caves, water play with a pretend tide pool, a bouncy spider web, stump steps, a gigantic tree log to climb through, and just really beautiful grounds through trees and bushes to walk through. There is an on-site cafe with various healthy choices for you and your little explorers--something for the whole family. There are many different houses to explore with lots of different activities in them. One house has a train room, one has a water/ ocean room, there is an arts and crafts house, and there is a rolling activity house. Once when visiting with my daughter she decided to put the pile of "oohblek" on top of her head as a joke of wearing a hat- well the joke was on me! What my daughter "discovered" was that oohblek sticks to your hair, and it took me a spray bottle of vinegar and the next twenty minutes to scrub it out! But the staff was really nice and helpful and informed me that it happens every other day there. This place is truly a "discovery" museum.
Highlights: The outdoor grounds on a clear day is the place to be! Although warm and beautiful, it is the East Bay so bring layers in case it is windy. There is so much to explore outdoors that you will most likely spend the majority of your time out there. One of the coolest things outside is the gravel pit, where children can dig with shovels and diggers while wearing hard hats and construction vests. Where else can kids play with gravel?! The Arts and Crafts room always has different hands-on activities like painting, "oohblek", and play dough. The Train room has a great big train set to capture the attention of little conductors. Also, in this same room is an elaborate "Fisherman's Warf" setting with a crawl through under water adventure, a rocking fishing boat, and my daughter's favorite the crab catchers which lower and go up with pulley's that have ample play fish and crabs to play with. As an adult, my favorite thing about this place are the unparalleled views of the Golden Gate Bridge and surrounding San Francisco areas.
Tips: Bring your lunch with you. There are plenty of picnic benches available and no rule against bringing in your own food. The cafe, although yummy and nutritious, can get a bit pricey especially if you have more then one child with you.