Top 10 Things To Do in San Francisco With Kids
Do you have children and wondering if there are any things to do in San Francisco with kids on a family vacation? Let us assure you that the Golden Gate City holds some of the most amazing and kid friendly attractions and sights tailored for kids of all ages. Let our Top 10 things to do in San Francisco with kids list guide you through them.
1. San Francisco Zoo holds a well-deserved top spot among the most kid friendly San Francisco tourist attractions. The Zoo is not only home for over 260 animal species but also helps your kids learn about the importance of respecting and preserving animals. What started in the 1930’s as a single California grizzly bear exhibit has grown, expanded, and renovated into one of the largest and most extensive zoos in the country. Kids will love learning in an environment where they can see exotic wildlife, watch feedings of lively penguins, or even play with animals hands-on in the Fisher Family Children’s Zoo. Most of the zoo’s exhibitions are constructed with teaching children in mind, and with the amount of fun they have they will never forget this trip.
2. The San Francisco Wax Museum is the most enjoyable of all things to do in San Francisco with kids due to a vast collection of life size wax sculptures of characters representing many historical and cultural periods throughout the history of the world. This one hundred thousand square foot pavilion houses dozens of recreations of figures from pop culture and history alike. You will see many kids’ favorite pop stars, movie actors and sports personalities. Walking through the Wax Museum is like having a fun history lesson because your kids are sure to bombard you with questions regarding many interesting personalities presented at its exhibits. Walk through a replica of King Tut’s life, from his marriage to his burial and eventual discovery by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon; see artists and their finest works brought into three dimensions in the Palace of Living Art; and even see your favorite blockbuster stars in the Sports and Entertainment exhibit. A quirky blend of history, art, and entertainment will make this exhibit a memorable highlight.
3. Fisherman’s Wharf district holds multiple fun things to do in San Francisco with kids. Pier 39 and the Ghirardelli Square are fun to walk around because you are sure to bump into many interesting street performers so popular among kids like the Bush Man, jugglers or street comedians. Some performers are targeting specifically young travelers so your kids are sure to enjoy this area. Admission is free at the Musée Mécanique, where you can view an impressive collection of coin operated mechanical instruments and arcade machines, all still in working order. Take a tour of the bizarre at Ripley’s Believe It or Not, see colorful marine life at the Aquarium of the Bay, and watch as hundreds of sea lions gather at the PIER 39′s West Marina. With a Wharf Pass you can experience twenty of Fisherman’s Wharf’s major attractions for a flat price with valuable coupons thrown in as well.
4. Situated on the west side of Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghiradelli Square is a plaza full of trendy shopping and fine dining. While it may not be one of first choices of the things to do in San Francisco with kids, there are definitely opportunities for kids there. In the Aquatic Park just below the square, kids can play in a protected water and sand area, and there are showers provided for cleanup. The Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop makes delicious gifts and sweet treats using their famous chocolates, along with coffees for the grown-ups. For family friendly activities, check out what events the Square may be holding during various points in the year.
5. The weird comes to the Wharf in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, San Francisco. The museum features ten thousand square feet of displays and galleries, interactive exhibits, and tribal artifacts from around the world and all are guaranteed to be every bit as unbelievable as the name suggests. Bizarre art, unusual relics, and surprising factoids fill the floors. Also stumble through the technologically enhanced Marvelous Mirror maze, and satisfy your sweet tooth at the Ripley’s Candy and Toy Factory. The Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum is one of the most unusual things to do in San Francisco with kids, and sure to be a whole-family pleaser. The fact that museum holds lots of weird and bizarre things to look at, it might be more appropriate for older kids.
6. Located on the Fisherman’s Wharf, the Aquarium of The Bay is one of the most entertaining educational things to do in San Francisco with kids. The aquarium holds over twenty thousand aquatic animals, many native to the waters of San Francisco bay. Walk through the Discover the Bay exhibition to learn about all the species that make the bay their home, then walk up close in Under the Bay. The Under the Bay exhibit stretches through two three hundred foot glass tunnels through seven hundred thousand gallons of filtered bay water filled with aquatic life. End your tour with the PG&E Bay Lab where animals from California and around the world serve as ambassadors to inform on conservation. Kids are sure to be left excited from so many different Aquarium events like shark feedings, or talking to divers while they are underwater and asking lots of questions to professional staff about many inhabitants of the Aquarium.
7. Exploratorium Museum is among the ultimate San Francisco attractions offering many smart hands on exhibits for kids to explore and get amazed at. Frank Oppenheimer founded the Exploratorium Museum in 1969 with the intent of showing the world that science was not a drab set of formulas found only in books, but a fascinating and creative world discovered through experimentation and curiosity. This spark of inspiration makes it one of the most potentially valuable, while still entertaining, things to do in San Francisco with kids. Each of the museum’s over six hundred exhibits are hands-on and are suited to enrich imaginations of every age and teach how the human mind perceives and understands the world around it. Various demonstrations are held each day, and self-guided tour guides are available.
8. There are myriad things to do in San Francisco with kids, but few are tailored for them quite as spectacularly as Zeum (recently changed its name to Children’s Creativity Museum). Zeum is unlike the majority of children’s museums, focusing on encouraging kids of all ages to interact with multimedia equipment and exhibits; and let their creativity run free as they animate, create music videos, experiment with special effects, and participate in workshops. “To nurture creativity, collaboration, and communication” is Zeum’s mission statement, and it has been honored and awarded multiple times by such groups as Parents Connect for their effecting outreach and outstanding community service. Children’s Creativity Museum is specifically intended kid’s museum designed to arouse kid’s imagination and creativity. Here kids can pretend being art directors, music writers or animation artists. In addition, kids can record, print and take home their newly created masterpieces.
9. If searching for more educational things to do in San Francisco with kids, take a walk through U.S. marital history on the USS Pampanito Submarine Tour. The submarine Pampanito was originally built in 1943 as World War II still raged, at a cost of 6 million dollars. The ship served in the Pacific war front, and was finally commemorated for her service as a memorial and museum in 1982. Visitors can explore the vessel much as she was during her days in the Pacific, from the deck all the way to the torpedo rooms. Interpretations are available in audio recording format as much of the vessel has remained as intact as possible, not cluttered with signs or galleries.
10. Visiting not one but two National Parks located within San Francisco city limits is a wonderful experience to do together with kids. The historical Alcatraz Prison might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of fun things to do in San Francisco. However, this museum is especially popular among boys of ages 6 and up. Kids think it’s really cool to take a boat ride and to arrive to a barren rock island that holds this former military prison. The Alcatraz Prison tour lets you take a glimpse at real prisoner cells, real inmate’s objects, escape dummies and many more interesting exhibits. Bike Golden Gate Bridge with your kids and help them learn about this wonder of engineering work that is ranked among some of the most unique Wonders of the New World.