Spotlight: Bay Area Discovery Museums
The Bay Area has a ton of fun discovery museums for children of all ages. For the last two weeks on social media I have been doing a spotlight on all of those places. So here is my condensed round up list of those places. You can click on the underlined name to be taken to that page on my website...happy exploring!
1) CuriOdyssey in San Mateo is more than just a science discovery museum they also rescue animals that can not be re-released back into the wild and house them there for life. There is an indoor component of this museum that has lots of fun interactive ways for children to discover and explore. Science related exhibits. The second part of this place is the outdoors area with all the cute rescued animals where you can learn about their story and how they got there. Our favorite are the otters! CuriOdyssey is located in Coyote Point which also has two fun parks at it and lots of picnic tables to bring your lunch along with you. Next FREE DAY is Friday January 26th!
2) Habitot in Berkeley is a really fun place for children 5 and under. Although I did take my 8 year old with us there on their free day and she had a blast too! But it's really meant for preschool age children. Habitot has designated learning areas in different little sections for children to explore. There is an art area, water play, a dramatic food play/ grocery store area, trains, a soft tumble area, a reading quiet area, paint your own face area, and a roving exhibit area that changes every few months I'd say. The cost is $10 each to get in including adults so it is nice when they have free days which they have multiple times a year. The 2018 free days are not posted yet but as soon as they are I will update it on my website.
3) Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley is a great place for older kids. This science museum has lots of hands on projects that older children can explore and get their creative juices flowing with. Almost always there are exhibits that children can make or create things. Last time we went we made paper planes, hats out of various art supplies like paper bowls and tape, Ayala also created a habitat, and she got to pet a lizard. They have tons of animals down below that they sometimes bring up for the kids to meet. One time Satya got to make a rat maze and then race a real rat through. Free for kids 2 and under, free for UCB students and staff, free to anyone misplaced by the California wildfires, free with EBT card.
4) Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose is way cool and probably has the best water play area of any of the discovery museums that we have been too. They have so many things to see and do there, you almost don't know where to begin. My kids enjoyed walking through the real ambulance and firetrucks, the self face painting room, the dramatic play area, and the toddler area. But what they loved the most was the water play area with flying balls, gushing waters, vortexes, splashing water, pullys, etc. And then there's the wonderful outdoors area which looks like a giant tree house with slides, bridges, tunnels, gravel pit, and lots of stuff to build with- it's like a magical garden!
5) California Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park is one of those places that you may not go to often but you must go there! It is so awesome with their underground aquarium, indoor rain forest, planetarium, lovable penguins, and of course their famous albino alligator. The aquarium is really extensive and you can almost visit that all on its own, there is so much to see. We love the indoor rain forest because you can get up close and personal with butterfly friends. They have a pretty good cafeteria there if you are hungry and of course a gift shop you will have to twirl past with your kids. One of the best features is that it is in Golden Gate Park so you can easily go see other sights in the park at the same time- might as well as long as you have a parking place. Next FREE DAY Sunday February 11th (get there early!).
6) Oakland Museum in Oakland (obviously lol) is a fun place for kids and they can learn so much about not only the history of California but the history of Oakland as well! They always have awesome rotating exhibits that my kids are always interested in. You might wonder what my 2 year old does when she goes here and is it just for older kids? Well even my two enjoys herself. The big art installations catch her eye, the koi fish entertain her, and there is just lots of room to roam- so she spends a lot of time running around and that's OK! Every Friday night they have Off the Grid, music, dancing, free admission and activities for kids, and half off admission for adults while the galleries stay open late. Every first Sunday of the month is a FREE DAY so check it out and see what they have to offer!
7) Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito is probably our favorite on the list! We love this place. There is so much to see, do , and get your hands into. There is a designated toddler area with bouncy water beds, padded climbing structures, outdoor water play area, and climbing exploration area. As for the rest of the place there are multiple art rooms with various projects going on, rotating sensory projects, a train room, a Bay room with a fishing boat, pulleys, live fish, etc. There is this gorgeous outdoor area with boats, a gravel pit, water play, stick houses, a bouncing spider web, stump steps, and amazing views of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. We just love it there. My mom bought a grandparents year pass and we've already visited 4 times and I've gotten in a combo of 6 kids and 2 adults under it! It is so worth it if you are going to visit more than twice a year. But if you want to go for FREE every first Wednesday of the month is a FREE DAY!