Family-Friendly Museum Highlights in San Francisco

A Little Yumminess - San Francisco Bay Area
July 23, 2017

One of the advantages of living in a major city is the access we have to some amazing museums. San Francisco is fortunate to have several world-class museums within its borders, and many of them do a great job of offering family-friendly activities and events. Some offer regular monthly or even weekly programs aimed at children and/or families, while others offer one-off family friendly programs in conjunction with special occasions or festivals. Here are a few of our favorites....

Doing and Viewing Art at the Fine Art Museums

This is fantastic weekly art program for children run by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and offered both at the Legion of Honor and De Young Museum. The art class starts with a tour of a part of the De Young Museum or Legion and is followed by related hands-on art projects led by Bay Area artists. 

Children above the age of eight can be dropped off while parents explore the Golden Gate Park or the exhibits at the museum. Themes explored include "In Living Color," "Holiday Art," "Playful Paper Pieces," among many other engaging themes. The art materials are high quality, and the program is free. No advance sign up is necessary.

Family Fun Days at the Asian Art Museum 

The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco has one of the most comprehensive collections of Asian art in the world. Every first and third Sunday of each month, the museum offers family tours, art activities, performances, and more. In addition, every Saturday, there are special docent-led tours that provide children and parents with the tools and vocabulary to look at and talk about art. Families get the chance to explore the galleries with a docent on a search for artwork with amazing animals, creepy creatures and beautiful beings.

They also regularly offer family friendly programming that ties in with Asian holidays and festivals like Chinese New Year and the Indian Diwali. Also look out for special yoga and dance classes for families. The Asian Art Museum definitely tries its best to as family friendly as possible. Plus, it is right next to the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library, which is worth a stop before or after you are done checking out the museum. Another must-do is an Asian inspired meal at the cafeteria at the museum. It's a trip to Asia without leaving home!

Family Classes at Randall Museum

The Randall Museum is a true San Francisco treasure. In addition to being a free museum for children and parents, its science focus makes it a very cool place to visit. The Randall Museum hosts a number of family-friendly special events each year. Some, such as Bug Day, Family Halloween Fest, and Holiday Craft Day, are perennial favorites, and there are also special one-time events to look out for. Stay on top of their event calendar!

Your children can take many amazing science and art classes at the Randall Museum, but what is probably most attractive are their parent-child classes. You can do a woodworking class with your little ones and have a blast making wooden toys, sculptures, and other creative projects. If woodworking is not your cup of tea, check out the ceramics or clay classes. These classes are incredibly popular, and they fill up in a blink of an eye, so stay on top of the registration opening dates.

History for Half Pints: Arts, Crafts, and Storytelling at the California Historical Society

The California Historical Society is a 140-year-old, non-profit organization, which aims to showcase California's richly diverse past in a meaningful way. Every second Saturday at 1:00 p.m., families join the California Historical Society (CHS) on interactive tours of its Juana Briones exhibition. In addition, children get to participate in fun craft projects and listen to stories about California history. The programming often includes fun music for all ages. Other activities include paper jewelry making, herbs demonstration, dress up, and interactive docent-led tours. Though the event is free you have to sign-up/RSVP on the website.

Friday Nights at the de Young

The Friday Nights program at the de Young is a really neat way to attract families to the museum after-hours. The event usually includes a mix of live music, dance and theater performances, film screenings, panel discussions, lectures, artist demonstrations, hands-on art activities, and exhibition tours.

Local artists are usually at the event conducting drop-in workshops, debuting new commissions, displaying their art in the Kimball Education Gallery, and taking part in conversations with visitors about the creative process. The café remains open later and you can enjoy some goodies or even dinner.  For grown-ups the offering often includes (much-needed by a Friday) specialty cocktails. Plus, the observation tower is open till 8:00 p.m. for amazing night-time views of San Francisco.

Stacie Dong and Simran Singh are the moms behind A Little Yumminess, a family food blog where they share spiced-up recipes, hands-on food-related activities and kid-friendly food adventures. You can also find them on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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