Things to do in Bay Area

Bay Area Kids’ Activities

Discover the best Bay Area kids' activities to entertain and educate your children. Visit fun museums and beautiful parks together.

Are you looking for things to do in the Bay Area with kids? Finding activities that keep little ones entertained is always a challenge. Fortunately, this region has many venues catered to children.

From museums that interest curious teens to fun options for keeping toddlers busy, we’ve got you covered. These venues offer a fun day out for the entire family.

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is a treasure trove of fun things to do with kids in the Bay Area. There are many ways to make family memories in the city’s largest open green space, from learning about science to playing in the sun.

1. California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is an educational playground for kids of all ages. Nature lovers enjoy the four-story rainforest exhibit, where butterflies flutter around your head.

Future marine biologists may prefer the Steinhart Aquarium, home to nearly 60,000 aquatic animals, including the world’s oldest aquarium fish. We love visiting Methuselah, the Australian lungfish, and her underwater pals and learning about coral reef ecosystems, diving technology, and more.

If your little ones are astronauts in the making, they’ll love the Morrison Planetarium. Kids four and older can marvel at the cosmos as it's projected onto a 75-ft. screen. They can also learn how elements are made in stars or take an expert-guided tour of the universe.

You can reserve your spot in the planetarium by scanning the QR code in the lobby or at the exhibit’s entrance.

Photographer: Anton Ivanov Photo

2. Conservatory of Flowers

The Conservatory of Flowers is North America’s oldest public wood-and-glass conservatory. It’s bursting with beautiful blooms, towering tropical trees, and delicate orchids. Wander through the misty forest exhibits, breathe in the scents of diverse species, and learn how these plants contribute to Earth’s ecosystems.

It’s a great way to teach kids some of their favorite foods, including fruits and chocolate. They’ll love hiding behind the enormous leaves of cycads, which have existed since before the time of the dinosaurs.

Note that the Conservatory of Flowers is closed on Wednesdays so workers can perform essential maintenance. On other days, it’s open from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., with the last entry at 4 p.m. Entry is free if you visit on the first Tuesday of the month.

3. Koret Children’s Quarter

The Koret Children’s Quarter playground has entertained Bay Area kids since 1888. Renovated in 2007, it has an outdoor play area and indoor facility in the Sharon Building. Art classes for kids and adults occur here regularly, allowing everyone to let their creative sides shine.

The playground is famous for its carousel. Built more than 100 years ago, it’s still going strong. Children delight in riding its 62 animals, including a dragon, rooster, and multiple dogs. It costs a dollar for children aged six to 12 and $2 for grown-ups. Kids under five ride for free with a paying adult.

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4. Blue Heron Lake (Formerly Stow Lake)

Blue Heron Lake, once known as Stow Lake, occupies 12 ac. in Golden Gate Park. Strawberry Hill Island sits in the middle of the lake and can be reached by crossing one of two elegant bridges.

You and your little ones can enjoy a lovely day exploring the trail around the lake. For even more fun, rent a pedal boat or rowboat from the Blue Heron Boathouse and traverse the lake. The boathouse also sells snacks to satisfy those play-disrupting hunger pangs.

Photographer: mightypix

5. San Francisco Zoo & Gardens

Explore the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens to see the more than 2,000 animals. Kids love watching the playful lemurs scamper around their habitat, the largest exhibit of its kind in the United States. Here, your family can watch the Magellanic penguins hopping around the rocks.

The African savanna habitat is another family favorite. Catch glimpses of giraffes, zebras, and kudu living harmoniously. You can also walk through the aviary to marvel at the exotic birds. Don’t forget to visit the gorilla preserve to connect with our imposing primate relatives.

In the Fisher Family Children’s Zoo, kids can pet and feed gentle farmyard animals. They can also ride the Little Puffer steam train and the historic carousel or burn off some energy on the Elinor Friend Playground. The zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Source: San Francisco Zoo & Gardens


Presidio is a national park with some of the Bay Area’s most beautiful scenery. It's also home to kid-friendly attractions waiting to be explored.

6. The Walt Disney Family Museum

At The Walt Disney Family Museum, your little dreamers can learn how Walt Disney created some of the world’s best-loved animated characters. Galleries show the development of his most famous creations, starting with the earliest sketches.

Guide your kids through the museum so they can discover Disney’s artistic journey for themselves. The museum is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

7. Crissy Field

Crissy Field was once a military airfield, but after restoration in 2001, it became a beautiful national park. Stroll the trail from Marina Green to Fort Point to enjoy the wide-open space. Stop for a bite to eat at the picnic tables, or visit the Warming Hut for hot chocolate and other hot drinks.

You can also play on the beaches or watch the windsurfers glide by. Put on a pair of comfortable walking shoes and prepare for a great family day out.


Embarcadero has one of the best Bay Area museums to visit with kids.

8. Exploratorium

Exploring the world through science and art is the name of the game at the Bay Area Exploratorium. If your kids are always asking questions, this is the best place for them to get answers. You can find out why the sky is blue, the sunset is red, and why plants are changing their roots to adapt to climate change.

Kids can even build a simple battery to power a light bulb. More than 650 hands-on activities make learning here fun and inspire kids’ creativity. The museum is open every day except Monday.

Mission District

As one of the oldest neighborhoods in the Bay Area, the Mission District remains popular, thanks to its restaurants, bars, galleries, and parks.

9. Mission Dolores Park

Mission Dolores Park is one of the most popular parks in the Bay Area, thanks to its fantastic sporting facilities. Inside the park’s 16 ac., you'll find a soccer field, tennis courts, and a kids’ playground.

Relax and enjoy the city’s skyline views while your little ones play and tumble like acrobats in training. Restrooms are available on-site, so you only need to bring some sunscreen.

North Beach

Kids love to be active, whether they’re exploring San Francisco Bay Area theme parks or bouncing off the walls of your hotel room. Help them burn off some energy with these fun activities in North Beach.

10. Joe DiMaggio Playground

The Joe DiMaggio Playground has recently been expanded and improved, making it more accessible for kids with disabilities. The playground has plenty of seating for relaxing while your little monkeys take on the climbing frame. You can even enjoy a family game of tennis on the resurfaced courts.

11. House of Air

If your kids love to bounce around, there’s no better place in the Bay Area to take them than House of Air. This indoor trampoline park offers open jump time, trampoline dodgeball, and more.

There’s a separate area for kids aged two to four, where they can play safely under supervision. Meanwhile, older kids can bounce away their excess energy in the main trampoline zone.

Once everyone has worked up an appetite, grab some delicious food at the House of Snacks café.

Fisherman’s Wharf

Many people say Fisherman’s Wharf is the most family-oriented part of the Bay Area, and we agree. It has plenty of activities to keep little ones entertained.

12. Musée Mécanique

Musée Mécanique has entertained families in the Bay Area since 1933. Visit any day of the week between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. to see the collection of more than 300 slot machines, animations, jukeboxes, coin-operated pianos, and more.

Return to your childhood with these old but perfectly functioning machines while your kids or grandkids discover the joy these objects offer for the first time. This wonderfully quirky museum bridges the generational divide and puts a smile on every face.

SoMa (South of Market)

Head to South of Market to visit some of the city’s best museums.

13. Children’s Creativity Museum

The Children’s Creativity Museum aims to help all kids feel confident in their creative abilities. Catering to youngsters aged two to 12, the museum offers a variety of fun activities. The Animation Studio allows budding filmmakers to use DUPLO, LEGO, and minifigures to bring their ideas to life.

Give your kids an opportunity to participate in the Mural Station before you leave. It’s a group project that's gradually taking shape, thanks to contributions from thousands of kids. You’ll find it in the ArtLab, a fantastic place for young artists to get messy with artistic mediums, including paint, tissue paper, and oil pastels.

The museum is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. One of the most popular exhibits is the LeRoy King Carousel, which kids can ride for a small fee. It's adorned with horses, lions, and more. The carousel dates back to 1906 and has been lovingly restored.

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The Bay Area meets the ocean at PIER 39, where, if you're lucky, you might see sea lions basking in the sun. In addition to amazing attractions, this area has wonderful restaurants offering sea-view dining.

14. Aquarium of the Bay

The ever-popular touch pools at the Aquarium of the Bay allow kids to have hands-on encounters with sea creatures, including anemones and skates. Children can also learn about marine life, including adorable river otters and fascinating broadnose sevengill sharks.

Walk through the Under the Bay exhibit to see beautiful fish and rays gliding overhead. The aquarium is open daily from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Bring your kids to meet the East Pacific red octopus. They’re sure to take home a newfound appreciation for the world beneath the waves.

Financial District

The Financial District is busy and urban, but it’s also home to one of the best kid-friendly attractions in the Bay Area.

15. San Francisco Railway Museum

Kids who love trains will be overjoyed to visit the San Francisco Railway Museum, which tells the story of rail transit in the Bay Area. They can stand at the controls of a replica 1911 San Francisco streetcar and imagine themselves in charge of this iconic mode of transport.

Here, you can view unique historical artifacts and learn about cable cars' impact on city life. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, although donations are appreciated.

Explore Endless Possibilities for Family Fun in the Bay Area

While making a list of kids’ activities, don’t forget to book tickets to one of our shows in the Bay Area. Children love watching our performers fly high in the air and contort themselves into impossible shapes.

With storytelling that emotionally engages kids and adults and music that makes the heart sing, we promise an evening of unforgettable entertainment. We look forward to seeing you and your little ones in the audience at one of our shows soon!

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