Place Search | Place - Places For Kids

13 Search Results For:

Interactive Museums

Bay Area Discovery Museum

557 McReynolds Rd
Sausalito, CA 94965

This Museum is more of a hands-on center for imagination and creative development, with a lot of Bay Area props, than a more classic outlay like the Asian Art Museum. It's like a huge playground for kids, but it would be hard to find a free playground with this mixture of inside amenities (puppets, full train station) and creative outside features (gravel pit with tow trucks, Golden Gate Bridge replica, toddler water zone with plastic fish). Children are offered objects outside to play with, from the natural elements of sand and water to larger versions of toys that already fascinates them (foam versions of Tinkertoys). The idea is that parents can ask their kids open-ended questions to get the kids involved in play, so that the kids are dreaming and creating things from their imagination rather than coming to a place to be entertained with digested information and ideas from multimedia. Inside at the Art Table, the kids are offered the ability to get more messy with paint and sand than at home – bring extra clothes or a smock. The simulated Bay Hall and Wave Workshop has representations of what they'd see at Fisherman's Wharf and in Oakland, along with trains and tunnels, so that they can start thinking about what they're seeing and how the ocean works. If kids get inspired and want to go outside again, no problem – take them to Lookout Cove where they can get on the Bonnie boat and pretend to be pirates on the sea. The shipwreck hull, the trail, and the sea cave can spark all sorts of survival questions, especially if you start reading Robinson Crusoe to them at night. Other reviewers have commented just as often on the stunning views of the actual Golden Gate Bridge, the number of activities and classes available, and the garden. Since the Discovery Museum is both indoors and outdoors, toddlers may love the streams of water, or they may want to go in and out of the reed maze, giant tree trunk, and climb all over the giant spider web. Themes and activities are geared toward the younger set, so you might not want to push the age limit of 8 years old.

Learn More

10164 views

1 reviews

Chabot Space & Science Center

10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, CA 94619

Two words: Planetarium and Observatory. That should get all sorts of ideas flowing for space travel, star gazing, and going home to watch re-runs of Star Trek episodes. First, go to the Chabot Space and Science Center so you can get some good ideas. If you can make time to go on a Friday or a Saturday and stay through the evening, you'll be able to use the telescopes in the Observatory. Fortunately, there's coffee at the new Bean Sprouts Café, so you'll have enough caffeine to stay up. The Planetarium has a 70-foot screen and can seat over 230 people, so there will be plenty of room for watching shows that could rival any IMAX theatre. There are astronauts and alien searches, there is space travel and constellation investigation, there is time travel back to the Mayan days. For a small extra fee, there are even psychedelic laser light shows including music from the Beatles to Pink Floyd. The Exhibits are for those who want to explore with their eyes and their fingers. The Bill Nye Climate Lab has an invention station and a climate-themed video game, as well as displays on emissions and keeping the ocean from becoming the world's largest landfill. Stars, nebulae, and black holes can be found in Destination Universe, while moon rocks and the Mercury space vehicle ride will certainly inspire the kids to stay for telescope time. If everyone wants more information on the Mayans after seeing the Planetarium video, there's an educational display on their calendar, reading, and writing. This can be a great way to sneak in more social studies and history lessons. Also, if you've ever told your kids not to look at the sun, you'll have to eat your words at the Touch the Sun display – especially if the kids find out that there's an available mobile app.

Learn More

3924 views

0 reviews

Children's Creativity Museum

221 4th St., San Francisco, CA 94560

The Children's Creativity Museum is like a multimedia studio left open for the directors' kids to explore. From the Animation studio with clay critters, to the Music studio with a green screen, children and young adults can put their energy and talents to good use here. What you'll really have to worry about is that the children will get spoiled for any other museum. Since they're not only allowed, but encouraged, to touch all of the art....well, use your imagination. In fact, the Imagination Lab, the Movie Studio and the Do It Yourself studio are all very popular. The Mystery Box challenge changes frequently, and requires the kids to think their way around design problems. For a minor fee, you can even take a DVD home with you instead of worrying about capturing a video via iPhone, since the kids' activities, songs, and storytelling can be recorded. Also, the children are no longer restricted to an older age group (6-12). Since the facility got renovated, the younger children (3-5) can play on the train table and busy themselves with crafts, from painting to playing dress-up. (Warning - bring ear plugs for the music room because the drums are popular.) A few parents have said that the toddler toys are rather generic and a little grubby. However, the Early Birdies program is popular, especially with the members who get to go free. (It's $15 for non-members.) If the kids have any energy left, there's a great and free playground outside the museum with grass, a labyrinth, and a sandpit.

Learn More

3757 views

0 reviews

CuriOdyssey

1651 Coyote Point Dr.
San Mateo, CA 94401

If you've explored the great open grasslands, magical Marina, and the dragon and castle playground of Coyote Point, you definitely have to take a peek at CuriOdyssey. This is what used to be Coyote Point Museum, just with a facelift, though parents with fond childhood memories will be relieved to know that there are still personable otters here – ready to entertain through the glass. On Saturdays at noon, the otters are even more entertaining at feeding time, and stick around for some facts and fun with the bobcat at 1 pm. The Animal Connections shows rotate every weekend. You could get introduced to a skunk one week, a hissing cockroach the next, and get lucky with the falcon getting fed on the third weekend. With 100 animals here, from the warm-blooded bobcat to the cold-blooded boa, there should be enough to get the kids excited about going to a zoo in the future. That's if you can tear them away from the butterflies and hummingbirds in the gardens, or the aviary with the majestic golden eagle and ugly turkey vulture. The hands-on exhibits can show the forces of nature, like the Riverbed Experiment that shows water flow and erosion, or backyard science experiments that expand your vision and hearing. Anyone who hasn't yet seen the Exploratorium will want to, after being able to blow the fog to and fro, and playing with the spinning gears. While there aren't a huge number of exhibits here, besides the rain panel and the echo chamber, it'll be enough to whet the kids' appetites for more. There are the same choices here for snacks as at the Marina, mainly chips and string cheese and granola bars. You may want to take along a picnic basket and eat in the general park area before coming to see the animals, especially if the kids need some real food. Just watch out for the gulls and geese, who can get very bold when begging.

Learn More

4303 views

0 reviews

Exploratorium

698 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94111

Exploring is something that kids naturally do, and the Exploratorium is designed for questions and curious fingers. Ideally located only a mile away from the famous Fisherman's Wharf, there's always something fascinating to see on the Pier 1 waterfront near the Embarcadero business district – and the Exploratorium's Fisher Bay Observatory shows ships and tides and underwater creatures. Even if the foggy weather clears up near the Golden Gate Bridge, the Exploratorium's Fog Bridge can still wrap you in drifts of mystery every 30 minutes. With 150 new exhibits (formerly 'only' 450), there's plenty of room for art and science to coexist. If you're into algae and vibrant color, there's an air-pumping chandelier to play with. If you want to see your own reflection the way it looks from your eye's point of view (upside down) and hear your voice bounce off of a canyon wall, the Giant Mirror can help. The Tinkering Studio can help you put your invention ideas into practice. Kids who display unsual abilities in motion should check out the skateboard exibit and the sports science displays, which can range from baseball's popularity in Japan to the measurement of hockey collisions and your reaction time. More contemplative types might enjoy the gardening videos on carniverous plants and Antarctic greenhouses – or check out the effects of hybridization on seeds. (Older kids might want to know how coffee works and the process involved in making sparkling wine.) The microscopes at the Imaging Station show cells and fruit flies up close, and the activities and sculptures in the Geometry Playground can get kids interested in the science of shapes. Film and audio enthusiasts should find a home in the no-see-um Tactile Dome, Webcast Studio, or Kanbar Forum, with mix-and-match audio at Soundscapes (Tuesday and Friday) and “Off The Screen” showings of new film and live cinema performances (Wednesday and Saturday). Exploratorium, complete with a working Biology Lab, is the kind of place where both adults and kids can wander unrestrained, letting their curiosity guide them. (Nearly two acres of the new facility is dedicated to social and human behavior exhibits – outside and free to the public.) With programs for public and homeschooled kids alike, individual and group learning is encouraged without rules about what you can look at but not touch, with exhibits even at the eateries (including the Seaglass Restaurant's bay view and the made-to-order seismic joint café with sushi bar). Just remember to pack light sweaters in case of gusty weather, and strollers can be hard to get on weekends due to the first-come first-served basis.

Learn More

4073 views

0 reviews

Habitot Children's Museum

2065 Kittredge St.
Berkeley, CA 94704
United States

This is definitely a place to bring the young ones, whether they want to operate the spaceships and ambulances, don an apron and splash paint around, or splash around in the Waterworks zone. This water zone is even more important in this indoor facility than at others, because the facility is in a basement. One of the only repeated complaints from reviewers was that the museum is smaller than the party area, and occasionally gets hot and stuffy. Staying near the water zone can help alleviate this issue, while the indoor bathroom helps alleviate calls of nature. Other parents had high praise for the arts and crafts area, from the hands-on instructors to the quality of the materials available, though the kids may want to just hang out at the Train Tables all day. Also, if you've ever had a great time at a park or museum, only to have the kids fall apart when they realize they can't take home the toys, this won't happen here. Habitot members can access the lending library for books and toys, and you can get ideas for what will keep them entertained at home. While street and lot parking are relatively inexpensive and easy to access, the facility is very accessible by public transport in downtown Berkeley. Habitot can also be used as a drop-off center every fourth Friday for the monthly Parents' Night Out – the kids get pizza and play while parents get to remember life before diapers. It's a win for everyone.

Learn More

2745 views

0 reviews

Mocha (Museum of Children's Arts)

1625 Clay St.
Oakland, CA 94612

While most child-centered learning centers, museums, and play spaces in San Francisco and Oakland have art classes, MOCHA focuses almost exclusively on art as a first-tier learning tool. Many kid-friendly places strive to incorporate art into other areas of education, such as science and environmental awareness. MOCHA's pupose has a bigger focus – using art to bond together community relationships and reduce city crime rates with more positive influences. The underlying seriousness doesn't keep kids or parents from enjoying themselves. Most of what's available is the Open Studio time, where parents and kids can drop in unnanounced on Friday and Saturday, pay their $7 each, and spend a few hours discovering their own creativity. Options may be a little limited for toddlers, though the glueing and stamping station can usually keep them occupied if the trucks and train tracks are in use. Four-year-olds and older kids will definitely benefit from the computers, Legos, coloring, and painting. Occasionally, the tasks change, so the kids can delve into something more complicated like making books, marbleizing paper, and the mechanics of printmaking. Parents who felt cramped in the old location will definitely want to take a look at the new building, which allows the staff to open up multiple art projects so that kids can take their pick of activities. The new location on Clay Street has also opened up possibilities for more museum displays, art parties, and summer camps, which can really help out parents. The summer camps mean that parents can drop off their children around 9 am, and have a day to get their own tasks done while the kids are busy expressing themselves and learning how to create beauty until 3:30 pm. For $65 per day, or $300 per week, this can be a sanity saver.

Learn More

5493 views

0 reviews