One of the best things about living in San Francisco is all of the fun things to do: the culture, the outdoors, the unique experiences. You name it, and the Bay Area’s got it. With so many options, though, sometimes it’s daunting to decide what to do with the family on the weekend, and, let’s face it, there’s an element of risk in trying something new with kids. A day of family fun can quickly turn into a day of family frustration, if the elements of the day don’t line up quite right. That’s why we’re sharing twelve of our favorite kid-friendly day trips to get you started on the right track.
Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito -From June to October you can visit with the Seal Lions that are getting ready to return to the wild. Admission is free. Open 10am – 4pm. *You can also visit nearby fun spots including: Point Bonita Light House, Bay Area Discovery Museum and Rodeo Beach.
Train Town, Sonoma – Features 4 miles of train track that goes through tunnels, over bridges and makes a stop in a miniature town with 6 different amusement rides and a petting zoo. In the summer, they are open daily. $6.75 per person for the train ride and $2.75 per coupon per amusement park ride. Parking is free. After train town, visit one of the many nearby wineries in Sonoma Square or around the area. We’ve got tips for wine tasting with kids right here.
Children’s Museum of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa – This place is fun! A garden that includes hands-on learning about salmon & butterfly life cycles, tractors and windmills and Russian River water play. They even have what they call a TOTopia exhibit, a specially designed play for babies and toddlers who are 35 inches and smaller! Open Wednesday – Monday: 9am–4pm (Sundays: 9am–11am for Members Only). Adults and children- $12, babies under 12 months- FREE.
Safari West, Santa Rosa – Definitely a little pricey but totally worth it! It is home to 900 exotic mammals and birds and approximately 90 species. Check the website for all the different tours, sleepovers and guided walks for hours and pricing. The experiences are recommended for children over 4 years old.
CuriOdyssey, San Mateo – A non-profit science museum and zoo, they care for over 100 mostly native animals. Lots of walking trails and picnic areas around the museum, as well. Hours: Tues – Sun, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Mondays. $8 – Children (under 2 years old FREE) $11 – Adults.
Filoli, Woodside– Tour and hike through this 20th century estate which sits on a 654–acre property, including the 54,000 square foot Georgian country house and spectacular 16–acre English Renaissance garden. Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00am – 5:00pm. Adults $20, Children 4 years and younger are free. *Great place to take family pictures!
Roaring Camp Railroads, Felton – Activities in the town include: Train Rides, California Redwoods Hike, Gold Panning, Blacksmithing, Candle-Making, Old Time Photo Studio, Shopping at the General Store, Horseshoes. Check the website for schedule and ticket prices. They also have a Beach Train at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk as well.
Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey – Jellyfish, octopus, hammer head sharks and interactive children activities with touch pools make this a win for any family. Adult – $49.95, Child(Ages 3-12) – $29.95, under 3 free. Daily hours, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
FairyLand, Oakland – They offer 60 storybook sets, kid-sized rides, friendly animals, and 10 acres of gardens. Fun for all ages, but especially those under age 8. Check their website for park hours, since they do change their schedule with every season, but, come summer, they’re open 7 days a week.
Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley – So many cool exhibits from a Planetarium to an Animal Discovery Room and an Energy Wall. Open Wed.–Sun. and select holidays, 10a.m.–5p.m.
USS Hornet, Alameda – Take a tour of the ship and learn about science and history concepts in an interactive and fun way with hands-on activities. Open Daily, 10am – 5pm. Adult Admission-$20, Seniors & Military-$15, Students-$15, Youth-$10, Children 6 & under – Free.
Oakland Zoo, Oakland – This zoo has lots of animals, including elephants, camel, bison and a hyena. Open every day: 10a.m. – 4p.m. Adult (Ages 15-64) – $19.75, child (Ages 2-14) – $15.75, parking pass $10.