Take your kids to the Randall Museum to experience nature and the environment right here in the City. The space is surrounded by beautiful views that you can soak up while you walk around. Hike up to Corona Heights Hill, which is right next to the facility.
Children have the opportunity to get up close to different kinds of animals that can no longer be independent because of injuries or danger from predators. Docents bring out native California animals for an even more up-close encounter.
Near the entrance is a hands-on seismograph and an earthquake refugee shack. Kids learn about how people survived after the 1906 earthquake.
At the lobby entrance of the Golden Gate Model Railroad is an interactive railroad-themed exhibition exploring how trains have shaped the world we live in. Kids can climb aboard a scale model of a caboose to discover what it was like riding the rails on an old time train.
The theater is a great spot for a variety of exciting concerts, performances, films, and lectures. See the museum's website for theater listings. Fees vary for films and other performances.
The museum is a meeting place for all kinds of clubs, such as Cine Club, Deutscher Musik Verein (The German Band), Galileo Gem Guild, SF Amateur Astronomers, Golden Gate Model Railroad Club, SF Beekeepers, SF Natural History, Musical Theatre Works, Young People's Teen Musical Theatre Company, and many more.
The museum offers lots of classes and workshops in woodworking, ceramics and clay, jewelry making, photography, robotics, animal care for teens, and more. There are drop-in classes available on Saturdays for the whole family. Fees vary and are available on a sliding scale.
Classes scheduled during afterschool hours are a great enhancement to science education. Kids ages 8 to 12 can sign up for a five-week session in anatomy, chemistry, and outdoor/environmental sciences.
Toddlers, parents, and caregivers can drop in at the Tree House Toddler Exploration Zone from 10am–5pm Tues–Sat. This room behind the front desk has a climbing structure and lots of books and toys. Kids participate in preschool activities such as music, arts and crafts, science, and story time. A minimal fee may be required.
Families can register for classes and other programs at SFRecOnline. You can search for programs by activity or by location.
The Randall Museum offers something for everyone during their two-week summer day camps. Camps are divided by themes in nature, art, and science. Kids bring a bag lunch, drinks, and a water bottle. Partial scholarships are available. These camps are very popular and fill up fast! Registration is done through SFRecOnline.
2014 Two-week Art and Science Summer Sessions:
Dates: June 2–August 1 (no camp week of July 1)
Ages: 6 to 12
Days/Times: Mondays through Fridays, 9:45am–3pm
Cost: $440 per session
Extended care: 8am–9:45am, 3pm–6pm (additional fees apply)
Detailed information on summer camp can be found here
2014 Randall Museum Overnight Camp Mather Art and Science Camp:
Dates: July 14–July 18
Ages: 10 to 12
2014 Five-day Marine Explorers Field Trip Day Camp Sessions:
Dates: June 16–June 20, June 23–June 27, July 14–July 18
Ages: 8 to 12
Cost: $309 per session
2013–2014 One-day Winter Camp Sessions:
- Candy Trains and Freestyle Painting: December 24
- Rollercoasters and Animal Puppets: December 26
- Pirate Day: December 27
- Hobby Horse and Animal Banners: December 31
- Treehouses and Birds: January 2
- Superheros and Marionettes: January 3
Ages: 8 to 12
Cost: $75 per day
Your child can have a birthday party at the museum on Sundays only. The grounds have beautiful views, especially on sunny days. The basic party package ($275 for members, $300 for non-members) is for 10 children, access to a private party room, and an age-appropriate art project for everyone. Additional guests are $5–$7. You bring everything else. Call (415) 554-9681 for more information.
You can also celebrate your child's birthday at a special performance hosted by the Buddy Club. Shows are scheduled on selected Sundays from October through April. Performances are magical, musical, and very zany. Groups are welcome to attend. The party package is only $85 plus show tickets, which are $8 per person.
Admission is FREE but donations are appreciated.