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1 contemporary Jewish MuseumIn the mood for some art? Science? Technology? How about a visit to a zoo or aquarium? Whatever your fancy, San Francisco is the place to find fantastic museums.  

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 Visiting Museums with Children  
  When you think of outings with your children, do you consider going to a museum other than a children's museum? Today's museums are not the traditional buildings with musty halls filled with rocks and bones that you may remember from your childhood. They are castles, historic homes, old churches, hall of fame facilities, galleries, gardens, and more. Before visiting a museum with your children, consider their ages, how to make the visit more enjoyable for them, how to afford it, and which museum to choose.

Choose museums with hands-on exhibits that are designed for age appropriate children. Children's museums are natural choices, but don't limit yourself to those. Many science, art, and history museums have some preschool-age child exhibits. As your children reach school age, take them to exhibits that correlate with what they are studying in school.

To learn more about visiting museums with your children, click here.


National and International Museum Weblinks

• Wildlife.org is a website that lets you put together and curate your own wildlife art exhibits.
Bensguide.gpo.gov (think Ben Franklin) is a comprehensive list of U.S. government websites designed for kids.
American Museum of Natural History has a great site for kids.
• Exploratorium provides a list of the top 10 cool science sites.
National Geographic Site for kids will get your child into nature.

The Smithsonian’s site for kids has science, history, culture, and nature at your fingertips.
NASA site for kids will blast your astronomy lover into cyberspace!
The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco is a great site for history buffs or students studying San Francisco history.

San Francisco Free Museum Days

For the budget-minded families who would like to visit museums without breaking the bank...take advantage of the free admission days at various institutions around town.

First Tuesday of each month free:
• Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Gallery, 701 Mission St. at 3rd, (415) 978-2787. 
exploratorium.xs• The de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, Golden Gate Park, (415) 863-3330. Hours: 9:30am–5:15pm.
• Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park in the Presidio, (415) 863-3330. Hours: 9:30am–5pm.
• Conservatory of Flowers, John F. Kennedy Dr. in Golden Gate Park, (415) 666-7001. Hours: 10am–4:30pm.
• Cartoon Art Museum, 655 Mission St., (415) 227-8666 (pay-what-you-wish day).

Second Tuesday of each month free plus Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day:
• San Francisco Botanical Garden, 1199 9th Ave (at Lincoln Way), 661-1316. Hours: Mon–Fri 8am–4:30pm, Sat–Sun and holidays 10am–5pm (FREE for all San Francisco City and County residents with proof of residency (Valid CA ID, or PG&E bill + photo ID) everyday.

First Wednesday of each month free:
• Bay Area Discovery Museum, 557 McReynolds Rd., Sausalito, (415) 339-3900. Hours: 9am-4pm
• San Francisco Zoo, Sloat Blvd. at 47th Ave. (415) 753-7080. Hours: 10am–5pm(4pm winter months). Free for San Francisco residents only. Please bring identification.

First Thursday of each month free:

• The Chinese Historical Society of America, 965 Clay Street. Hours:12pm–5pm.

First Sunday of each month free:
• Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St. at Fulton, (415) 581-3500. Hours: 10am–5pm.
• Hyde Street Pier National Historic Landmark Vessels, 2905 Hyde St. (415) 561-5000. Hours: 9:30am–5pm.

Various free Community Days-  Check calendar for weekdays and weekends.
• CuriOdyssey, 1651 Coyote Point Dr., San Mateo. (650) 342-7755. Hours: 12pm–5pm

Quarterly Sunday of each month free:
• California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Dr. (415) 379-8000, Hours: 9:30am–5pm and Sundays 11am–5pm. The free days will be on certain Sundays. Note: Residents of San Francisco can enjoy free admission on a designated weekend each spring and fall, according to ZIP code- Proof of residency must be provided.  View the 2014 SF Neighborhood Free Day schedule, Click here.

Free everyday!  Donations always welcome:
• Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, (415) 554-9600. Hours: 10am–5pm.
• San Francisco Fire Department Museum, 655 Presidio Ave., (415) 558-3546, Thursday through Sunday, 1–4pm.
Museo ItaloAmericano, Fort Mason Center. Building C. Tuesday – Sunday, Hours: noon– 4pm
• San Francisco Maritime Museum, 900 Beach St. (415) 556-3002. Hours: 9:30am–5pm.
• Musee Mecanique, Pier 45 (Shed A at the end of Taylor Street),  346-2000. Hours: 10 am–7 pm (Sat/Sun until 8pm). 

Additional Discounts:
• Save $3 on admission when you walk, bike, or take public transportation to the Academy of Sciences.
• Local museums participate in BLUE STAR MUSEUMS where more than 1,300 museums across America to offer free admission to military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
• Bank of America Museums On Us® Program offer free admission on the first full weekend of hte month includes de Young Museum, Legion of Honor, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Children's Creativity Museum.  Must show your photo ID and Bank of America/Merrill Lynch card for the adventure.
• AAA offers a variety of discounts including to SF Zoo, California Academy of Sciences and more.
• Go San Francisco Card- Enjoy free admission to museums and attractionsCard.

Golden Gate Park offers a shuttle ride that is free to all residents and visitors in San Francisco. The shuttles run between 9 am and 6 pm every 15 to 20 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays as well as all legal holidays.

The shuttles wills stop at all Golden Gate Park destinations such as McLaren Lodge, National AIDS Memorial Grove, Koret Children’s Playground, Conservatory of Flowers, de Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Rose Garden, Stow Lake, Marx Meadow, Spreckles Lake, Bison Paddock, Dutch Windmill, Murphy Windmill, Ocean Beach and more.


brown sign 2SFkids Tip

Do your current museum memberships entitle you to free or reduced cost entrance to other local museums or museums that you may visit on vacation? Check out the Reciprocating Science and Technology Passport List to find out.

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