San Francisco Family Attractions

San Francisco Family Attractions

San Francisco Family Attractions are world renown for Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 and bay ferries. Savvy travelers should also plan visits to the new Exploratorium on Embarcadero, AT&T Baseball Park, Metreon in Yerba Buena Gardens, upgraded San Francisco Zoo, and remarkable California Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park, among others.

Fisherman’s Wharf
DESCRIPTION: As San Francisco’s #1 visitor destination, Fisherman’s Wharf is very popular on warm days, so arrive early for close-in garage parking. The area is chocked full of gift shops, curio museums and other family attractions. The city takes great pains to ensure that it remains a working wharf for fishermen and seafood vendors as well. Take an early morning walk to observe seafood vendors at work. To get the freshest catch, some of the best seafood restaurants locate here. The boardwalk-style entertainment will not disappoint children of all ages or the young of heart. The list of attractions includes San Francisco Maritime Museum, Musee Mechanique (classic arcade games), a historic battleship, submarine and a naval supply boat docked at Pier 45. If you plan to take a ferry ride in warm months, make reservations in the early morning to ride in the afternoon or next day.
ADMISSION: Attractions range from free and fee
DAYS & HOURS: daily sunrise to until late for some restaurants and a nightclub
ADDRESS: Piers 41 & 43, San Francisco MAP
TRANSIT: Muni F Line Vintage Streetcars
PARKING: plenty of garages and paid lots nearby
PHONE: varies for each vendor
WEBSITE: http://www.fishermanswharf.org

Pier 39
DESCRIPTION: The 3rd most visited vacation destination in the country features 100 shops, 10 restaurants, a 300-berth marina, a two-story Venetian Carousel, Players Arcade-Sportsbar, Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze, Rocketboat, SpongeBob SquarePants 4D Ride, Turbo Ride thrill ride among its bushel of family attractions. There is always a crowd favorite, irascible sea lions sun and yelp on an abandoned jetty adjacent to the pier. At the edge of the pier or in 2nd floor restaurants, take in unforgettable views of the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, Angel Island, passing ferries, the Golden Gate Bridge and a large family of sea lions sunning their bodies. Street performers constantly patrol the area. Theatre 39 brings a diverse array of prominent shows ranging from theatrical productions, musicals, concerts, comedy to special events to an intimate, 275-tired seat theatre.
ADMISSION: Free
DAYS & HOURS: Sun-Thu 10a-8p, Fri-Sat 10a-10p
ADDRESS: Beach Street at The Embarcadero, San Francisco MAP
TRANSIT: Muni F Line Vintage Streetcars
PARKING: plenty of garages and paid lots in Fisherman’s Wharf
PHONE: varies by attraction
WEBSITE: http://www.pier39.com

Aquarium of the Bay
DESCRIPTION: A premier attraction at Pier 39, this 1 million gallon aquarium allows visitors to view sharks, bat rays, octopus and other marine animals from the San Francisco Bay and its surrounding waters in 300 linear feet of crystal clear tunnels filled surrounded by 700,000 gallons of filtered bay water. Moving sidewalks convey guests through the tunnels, where the experience is a bit like skin diving without getting wet. Touch pools let visitors tickle leopard sharks, bat rays, skates and sea stars. AOTB also features rare angel sharks and the graceful giant Pacific Octopus. The aquarium seeks to entertain, educate and inspire preservation of this wonderful and distinctive ecosystem. Visitors can view daily shark feedings and dive encounters where you ask questions of divers who care for the animals. Other activities are geared towards children. A Behind the Scenes Tour takes visitors on the catwalks above tanks and introduces them to chefs who feed the animals and a sneak peak at dive operations.
DAYS & HOURS: Winter-Fall hours: Mon-Thu 10a-6p and Fri-Sun 10a-7p; Spring-Summer hours: 9a–8p daily
ADMISSION: Ages 12-64 $14, Ages 3-11 and 65+ $7, under age 3 enter Free
ADDRESS: Pier 39, The Embarcadero, San Francisco MAP
TRANSIT: Muni F Line Vintage Streetcars
PARKING: plenty of garages and paid lots
PHONE: 888-732-3483
WEBSITE: http://www.aquariumofthebay.com

Exploratorium
DESCRIPTION: One of the world’s best interactive science museums, this 330,000 sqaure foot marvel of 600 exhibits is 3 times larger than its original location in the Palace of Fine Arts. One of the best ways to think of this venue is as a public laboratory for investigation into physics and human perception. A sampling of the many exhibits should include Outdoor Gallery explores the bay, the elements, geometry, light and shadows while encouraging interaction with natural and urban phenomena Inside, Color of Water exhibit consists of 32 color swatches suspended above the water so that visitors can actively match the day’s water color and investigate the causes behind these daily shifts. Aeolian Harp by Doug Hollis is a wind-activated, sound structure that responds to the wind dynamics between Piers 15 and 17. Remote Rains translates storm information into a tangible experience of frequency, size, and velocity of raindrops, allowing people to explore complex mechanisms that drive our weather; Fog Bridge by Fujiko Nakaya magically envelops a 150-foot-long pedestrian bridge between Piers 15 and 17 in an ever-changing blanket of fog — see it lit at night. Rickshaw Obscura Cart playfully invites visitors to view landscapes and people passing by – upside down. Bay Windows visitors spin disks filled with samples of mud, sand, and gravelgathered from five distinct regions of the San Francisco Bay. You’ll want to visit the first rate restaurants and gift shop on the premises. This place is like fun calisthenics for the mind.
ADMISSION: check website
DAYS & HOURS: Tue, Fri-Sun 10a-5p, Wed 10a-10p, Thu 10a-5p and 6p-10p for ages 18+
ADDRESS: Pier 15, The Embarcadero, San Francisco MAP
TRANSIT: Muni F Line Vintage Streetcars
PARKING: paid lots nearby
PHONE: 415-528-4444
WEBSITE: http://www.exploratorium.edu

Ripley’s Believe it Or Not Museum
DESCRIPTION: This museum has nearly 300 fascinating artifact exhibits collected by world-famous traveler, Robert Ripley. You will be astounded by the strange, the odd and the unbelievable objects – guaranteed.
ADMISSION: check their website
DAYS & HOURS: 10a-Midnight
ADDRESS: 175 Jefferson Street, San Francisco MAP
PARKING: nearby garages
TRANSIT: Muni F Line Vintage Streetcars
PHONE: 415-771-6188
WEBSITE: http://www.ripleysf.com

Madame Tussauds San Francisco
DESCRIPTION: Its famous wax figures are organized in groups of History, Hall of Religions, Palace of Living Art, King Tut, Chamber of Horrors, Sports and Entertainment. Personalities represented include Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, JFK, Bruce Lee, Michael Jackson, Robin Williams, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Oprah, Barry Bonds, Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie and many more in this 100,000 square foot venue
ADMISSION: check website
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 10a-9p, Sat-Sun 9a-11p
ADDRESS: 145 Jefferson Street, San Francisco MAP
TRANSIT: Muni F Line Vintage Streetcars
PARKING: plenty of garages and paid lots
PHONE: 415-202-0416
WEBSITE: http://www.waxmuseum.com

Maritime National Historical Park
DESCRIPTION: Stand on the stern of Balclutha, face west to feel the fresh wind blowing in from the Pacific Ocean. Maritime National Historical Park offers the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Pacific Coast maritime history.
DAYS & HOURS: daily 9:30a–5p
ADMISSION: modest fee
ADDRESS: Hyde Street Pier, San Francisco MAP
TRANSIT: Muni F Line Vintage Streetcars
PARKING: Free on premises
PHONE: 415-447-5000
WEBSITE: http://www.nps.gov/

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
DESCRIPTION: Stand on the stern of Balclutha, face west to feel the fresh wind blowing in from the Pacific Ocean. It offers the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Pacific Coast maritime history outdoors and indoors. For greater context and touring exhibitions, visit the Maritime Museum, which was originally the Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building. The Bathhouse, a Streamline Moderne style, was built in 1939 as a Works Progress Administration project. It features dazzling 1930s murals created by Sargent Johnson (one of the first African-American artists working in California to achieve a national reputation) and Hilaire Hiler. During and after World War II, the Bathhouse was occupied by US troops from 1941-48, before return to original use.
DAYS & HOURS: Visitor Center daily 9:30a–5p; Maritime Museum daily 10a-4p.
ADMISSION: Free museum entry
ADDRESS: Aquatic Park and Hyde Street Pier, San Francisco MAP
TRANSIT: Muni F Line Vintage Streetcars
PARKING: Free on premises
PHONE: 415-561-7100 and Museum 415-561-7100
WEBSITE: http://www.nps.gov/

California Academy of Science
DESCRIPTION: Founded in 1853, the completely redesigned 410,000-square foot eco-sensitive green-roof museum inspires the next generation of scientists to dream the outer reaches of the Universe. The Aquarium is nearly unique for its use of space in the Philippine coral reef and home to an albino alligator in the Swamp and the kid-magnet Discovery Tidepool. Get nose-to-beak with penguins and parrots, watch sharks and sea turtles cruise beneath your feet, and feel the spray of the California coast. The Planetarium lets you fly to Mars, the Moon, or beyond the Milky Way without leaving the safety of your seat. The Museum takes you on a virtual safari in African Hall. The Living Rainforest lets you expereince a Borneo Forest Floor, Madagascar Midstory and Costa Rican Canopy for a multi-level perspective of rainforest ecosytems along the way to a flooded Amazon Basin. True to its name as an academy, the CAS is home to scientists as they return from research expeditions around the world.
ADMISSION: See website; special exhibits/lectures require seperate fees
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Sat 9:30a-5p, Sun 11a-5p
ADDRESS: 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Muni Metro N Line; take Muni and save $3 off admission without the hassle of parking
PARKING: Street parking is located throughout Golden Gate Park
PHONE: 415-379-8000
WEBSITE: http://www.calacademy.org

AT&T Park
DESCRIPTION: This beloved venue is one of the nation’s best ballparks. The sightlines are unbelievable – not a bad seat in the house. If you want to appreciate the Bay and the game, get seats to the right side of home plate. The garlic fries are as irresistible as the parking is scarce. If driving, get there early. Even if the game is lousy, you’ll have a good time enjoying the sight lines and crowd. Extra Caltrain and Muni Metro trains run before and after games to handle the load.
ADMISSION: pricing matrix for Giants baseball games
BOX OFFICE: Mon-Fri 10a-5p
ADDRESS: 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Muni Metro T Line and Caltrain 4th and King Streets Station
PARKING: plenty of garages and paid lots nearby
PHONE: 415-972-1800
WEBSITE: http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/sf/ballpark/

Willie Mays Statue
DESCRIPTION: A powerful depiction of Willie Mays hitting one of his 660 home runs, stands as one of the highest the Major League Baseball history. Willie was also known as the “Say Hey Kid” who wore number 24, collected over 3000 hits, 3000 runs scored, batted for over .300 average and earned a bushel of Golden Glove awards for fielding. He retired in 1973. Most baseball experts consider him to be the best all-around and most exciting player in the history of baseball.
ADDRESS: 24 Willie Mays Plaza at 3rd Street, San Francisco MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Muni Metro T Line and Caltrain 4th and Kings Streets Station
PARKING: plenty of garages and paid lots nearby

Willie McCovey Statue
DESCRIPTION: Another famous San Francisco Giant player in the Baseball Hall of Fame; McCovey hit over 500 home runs. The cove next to his statue is lovingly called McCovey Cove. Perhaps the most remarkable facts about both the McCovey and Mays statues is that both were dedicated with both men alive to enjoy them.
ADDRESS: Terry Francois Street, San Francisco MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: Muni Metro T Line
PARKING: next to paid lots nearby

Metreon
DESCRIPTION: This massive 350,000-square feet entertainment-retail center next to Yerba Buena Gardens started off well, but a change in lease structure tanked the original allure of its unique stores. Its still a place you and teenagers should visit for its 15-screen cineplex with Digital IMAX Theater, Sharetea, Super Duper Burgers, Lemonade, Buckhorn Grill, Sanraku, Italian Pizzeria, Chipotle and Cako Bakery.
ADMISSION: Free
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Thu 10:30a-8:30p; Sat-Sun 10:30a-9:30p; Cineplex and some restaurants have extended hours
ADDRESS: 101 Fourth Street, San Francisco MAP
RAPID TRANSIT: BART-Muni Metro Powell Street Station
PARKING: plenty of garages and paid lots
PHONE: 415-369-6000
WEBSITE: http://www.metreon.com

Children’s Creativity Museum
DESCRIPTION: A multimedia arts and technology museum that fosters creativity in young people. Blessed with so much Bay Area talent, people of all ages and backgrounds, combine the hands-on use of animation, digital technology, electronic media, traditional and non-traditional materials to power of their imaginations creating high quality stories, movies, performances, music, art and more. A fully restored carousel is next door.
ADMISSION: see website
DAYS & HOURS: Summer Hours Tue-Sun 11a-5p, School Year Hours Wed-Fri 1p-5p, Weekends 11a-5p
ADDRESS: 221 4th Street, San Francisco MAP
PARKING: plenty of nearby garages
TRANSIT: BART-Muni Metro Powell Street Station
PHONE: 415-820-3320
WEBSITE: http://creativity.org

San Francisco Zoo
DESCRIPTION: Open since 1929, it has grown and enhanced animal habitats to become one of America’s elite zoos and conservation education centers. Among its natural habitat and biodiversity exhibits, the African Savanna features giraffe, zebra, kudu, ostrich and other African wildlife in a spectacular group setting. Children’s Zoo, Lemur Forest, Grizzly Bears, Carousel, Education Center, Animal Resource Center, and an Entry Village sparkle on its 65 developed acres. The Great Ape Forest is a lush home for some of the largest apes in a North American zoo. Wagons, Jeeps, wheelchairs, and electric scooters are available for daily rental at the Entry Village on a first come, first served basis.
ADMISSION: Adults $15, Ages 65+ $12, Ages 4-14 $9, Ages 3 and under enter Free
DAYS & HOURS: 10a-5p, daily
ADDRESS: 1 Zoo Road, San Francisco MAP
PARKING: on premises
RAPID TRANSIT: Muni Metro L Line
PHONE: 415-753-7080
WEBSITE: http://www.sfzoo.org

Ocean Beach
DESCRIPTION: One of the best free things you can do in San Francisco is visit this beach with magnificent Pacific Ocean views. Enhanced with imported sand and other upgrades, this beach runs the 6 mile length of the western edge of the city. Despite year round 50-70 degree temperatures and frequent fog, you see bikers, joggers and walkers here everyday. On the warmest days, you see picnics, board surfers, body surfers, boogie boarders and swimmers who brave the strong currents and perilous riptides. Casually walk north to the Cliff House where you can peer out bay windows at Seal Rocks, enjoy a fine seafood dinner and glass of Chianti. On clear days from the Cliff House, see ocean-faring vessels passing by in route to the Golden Gate Bridge. With all the attention focused on the northern portion, don’t forget the southern portion of the beach, which is one of the cleanest in the state and near San Francisco Zoo.
ADDRESS: Great Highway, San Francisco MAP

Golden Gate Park
See article http://www.soulofamerica.com/us-cities/san-francisco/golden-gate-park/

Baker Beach
DESCRIPTION: San Francisco’s warmest beach has large waves, undertow and rip currents that make the beach unsafe for swimming. But it provides million dollar views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands, tide pools, barbeque grills and picnic tables. Steep bluffs on the northern-most end conceal a portion of the beach, making it a favorite of nude sun-bathers when the weather is over 80+ degrees.
ADDRESS: Bowley Street and Lincoln Blvd, San Francisco MAP
PHONE: 415-331-1540
WEBSITE: link

Twin Peaks
DESCRIPTION: Native-Americans believed these peaks were formed when the Great Spirit separated a quarreling couple. Spanish explorers named them “Breasts of the Indian Maiden.” After your vehicle makes several hairpin turns up the 850-foot climb to the peaks, get 360 degree postcard views and photos to brag about for a life time. Its a favorite of date couples. On the warmest days its difficult to find a parking spot. Always bring a sweater or jacket since the winds are chilly, even in Summer.
ADDRESS: Twin Peaks Blvd, San Francisco MAP

Park Merced and Fort Funston
DESCRIPTION: With a lake as the prominent backdrop, Park Merced is a golfer’s delight, provided you can get tee times. Rent a small boat for leisure paddling around the lake from sun up to sun down. Adventure Travelers note: Fort Funston is a hang gliders delight — a lot of the pros ‘hang” out.
ADDRESS: bounded by Lake Merced Blvd, Sloat Blvd, Winston Drive, San Francisco MAP

Bay Area Discovery Museum
DESCRIPTION: One of the country’s finest Children’s museums, this one-of-a-kind indoor/outdoor venue offers a full range of programs for children, parents, school groups and educators on 7.5 acres. The museum’s unique programs feature hands-on art, science and environmental exhibitions, special events and cultural festivals. Explore the natural and cultural environments of the Bay Area – from distinctive landscape elements and natural habitats, while encouraging environmental stewardship.
ADMISSION: Ages 1-17 and ages 62+ $8, Adults $10, Age 1 or less enter Free.
DAYS & HOURS: Tue-Fri 9a–4p, Sat-Sun 10a–5p
ADDRESS: 557 McReynolds Road in East Fort Baker, Sausalito, CA MAP
PARKING: on premises
PHONE: 415-339-3900
WEBSITE: http://www.baykidsmuseum.org

Return to SAN FRANCISCO

Close Comments

Share Comments With Fellow Travelers:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *