Museums for Kids

Go Out on a Limb at the Bay Area Discovery Museum's New Exhibit

October 26, 2011

Out on a limb tree houseThis Saturday, Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum opens Out on a Limb, adventures with nature and art, it's new special exhibit that promotes nature-play through a sculptural, interactive design that incorporates nostalgic settings, such as a tree house and a fort-building area. Out on a Limb will be at the Bay Area Discovery Museum from Saturday, October 29, 2011 through January 8, 2012, and is included with general museum admission.

The 1,200 square foot imaginative environment is designed to inspire children and their caregivers to learn to explore nature by using their senses. More than simply seeing the beauty of a tree, the exhibit encourages visitors to hear the sounds of the forest, use leaves to make beautiful art, and build big and little structures from bark and limbs. Out on a Limb, adventures with nature and art was originally created by Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose.

Win Tickets to Penguins + Pajamas: An Overnight Adventure at the California Academy of Sciences

October 25, 2011

Penguins + Pajamas at the California Academy of SciencesRemember when we wrote about how much fun we had at the last California Academy of Sciences Penguins + Pajamas sleepover? Well, their next sleepover event is scheduled for Saturday, November 12, and we're giving away tickets to a lucky Marin Mommies reader!

Experience your own "night at the museum" as you explore the exhibits after-hours, stargaze at the planetarium show, and enjoy a special live animal presentation. Before bedtime, settle in for story time with cookies and milk to learn about Pierre—the Academy’s famous wetsuit-wearing penguin.

When the lights go out, unroll your sleeping bag in African Hall, next to the swaying kelp of the California Coast tank, or even at the Swamp window, face-to-face with Claude, the albino alligator. In the morning, rise and shine, then head over to the Academy Café for breakfast.

Sleepover Science Fun at Penguins + Pajamas

September 6, 2011

Cal Academy t-rex at nightWhat's the best way to experience San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences? Sleep over on one of their Penguins + Pajamas events, of course. You'll get what amounts to a private viewing of the Cal Academy's favorite attractions and exhibits, as well as speciall activities and presentations, a late-night snack, and breakfast in the Academy's café. Sound like fun?

My 8-year-old son and I had a chance to check out Penguins + Pajamas on their final "Summer of Slither" sleepover at the end of August. Backpacks, sleeping bags, and other overnight essentials in hand, we trekked to Golden Gate Park on a foggy Saturday evening, and, after parking in the park's Music Concourse Garage, lined up outside the Academy entrance with the rest of our fellow campers. Check in between 6 and 7:30 pm and select your sleeping area—you can choose from the aquarium, the swamp, African Hall, or the Islands of Evolution exhibit, then stow your gear in a tent in the museum's West Garden, and you're good to go.

Family Discount for Picasso at the de Young Museum

August 26, 2011

Picasso exhibition at the de YoungThe de Young Museum is offering Marin Mommies readers a special back-to-school family discount to see the special exhibition Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musee National Picasso, Paris on view at the museum through October 10. Bring your kids to see 120 works spanning the entire career of the world’s most influential artist—it’s art history up close and in person!

Receive a 20% discount on tickets for families by using coupon id PFAMILY when you purchase tickets on the de Young's website or in person at the museum box office. Tickets must be purchased by September 2, but are valid through the run of the show. Limit 6 tickets.

A Visit to Alameda's Historic USS Hornet Museum

August 20, 2011

The USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, CaliforniaExplore a piece of America's naval and space exploration history when you visit the the historic aircraft carrier USS Hornet in the East Bay city of Alameda. Launched in 1943 and originally based in Alameda, the USS Hornet (CV-12) served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and played a pivotal role in the Apollo space program, recovering both the Apollo 11 space capsule and its astronauts after their voyage to the Moon in 1969.

On board the restored Hornet you'll find a variety of fascinating exhibits, including several aircraft of the types that could have served on board the carrier, including a World War II TBM Avenger, an FJ-2 Fury (the naval version of the famous F-86 Sabre), an F8U-1 Crusader, and more. You can also check out objects related to the Apollo space program, including an Apollo space capsule, the mobile quarantine facility from the Apollo 14 mission, and the SH-3H Sea King helicopter used in the movie Apollo 13 and the same type of helicopter that recovered the Apollo 11 and 12 astronauts to the Hornet.

Summer of Slither Sleepovers at the California Academy of Sciences

August 3, 2011

Kids with penguin at California Academy of SciencesIn honor its newest exhibit, Snakes & Lizards: The Summer of Slither, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is offering a special edition of its popular Penguins + Pajamas sleepover for kids ages 5 and older and their adult chaperones. These sleepovers feature an exclusive overnight stay at the Academy, special live animal presentations, access to all exhibits including Snakes & Lizards, a late night snack, and breakfast. Right now through August 20 you can save $20 by entering promo code PPAUG20 when you purchase your sleepover tickets online.

During your very own night at the museum, you can explore the entire Academy, take in an after-hours planetarium show and special animal presentations, and slither through Snakes & Lizards, where you’ll discover more than 60 reptiles from around the world with incredible adaptations like projectile tongues and remarkable camouflage. Before bedtime, whisper good night to Lemondrop the 15-foot-long albino python, and settle in for story time with cookies and milk to learn about Pierre—the Academy’s famous wetsuit-wearing penguin.

Dinosaurs Galore and More at Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science

July 12, 2011

LHS dinosaurI haven't been to Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science since way back when I was in college, so when I learned about their new exhibit Dinosaurs Unearthed, it seemed like a great reason to visit this hands-on science center located in the hills high above the UC Berkeley campus. Since the focus of the show is dinosaurs—every kid's favorite science subject—my children thought it was a great idea for an outing, too.

Dinosaurs Unearthed, on view at the Lawrence Hall of Science through January 1, 2012, features lifelike animatronic dinosaurs that open their jaws, move the limbs and tails, blink their eyes, roar, stomp, and more. My son and daughter were both extremely excited to come explore the world of the dinosaurs here, and we were not disappointed. You can visit a variety of popular dinos, including Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus, Apatosaurus, Triceratops, and others.

As soon as your enter the building, we got a taste of what was in store with a life-size triceratops near the exhibition entrance. We were all amazed by how realistic it looked. The kids were so excited they insisted on seeing the dinosaur exhibit immediately.

Summer Sunsets Concert Series at the Bay Area Discovery Museum

July 8, 2011

This summer, Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum is open late by popular demand on select Fridays for the Summer Sunsets Concert Series. Come to the museum from 5–7 pm tonight, July 8, and July 22, August 5 and 19 for an evening of family fun by the Bay with music, food, and the special exhibition Curious George: Let's Get Curious! Curious George himself makes a personal appearance at 5:30 pm (so don't forget your camera) and musical performances begin at 6 pm.

This year's Summer Sunsets lineup:

  • July 8: Rhythm Child introduces children and families to the basic elements of music in a drum circle experience. Come drum, dance, and sing in the museum's Festival Plaza.
  • July 22: Popular Bay Area children's entertainer Enzo Garcia brings his eclectic selection of instruments— including five-string banjo, musical saw, accordion, harmonica, and enzotar—and songs to the museum.
  • August 5: Dance and sing along with the Bloody Scupper Plunder Club as they perform songs of piracy, general mayhem, and high-seas adventure.
  • August 22: It's always a dance party with Asheba, the energetic singer, songwriter, and storyteller whose show is spiced with Caribbean and world beats inspired by his childhood on Trinidad.

Let's Get Curious! at the Bay Area Discovery Museum

June 18, 2011

Curious GeorgeThe curious little monkey whose adventures have captivated children and adults for 65 years is at the Bay Area Discovery Museum! Curious George: Let's Get Curious opens Saturday, June 18 and runs through September 11, 2011. The exhibition introduces children to the world of Curious George and leads them on a fun, interactive math, science, and engineering-based adventure.

Explore the neighborhood where George and the Man with the Yellow Hat live, and meet familiar characters from the classic books by Margret and H.A. Rey and the PBS KIDS animated series. Different areas to visit include:

  • The apartment building, where you can operate wheels to move George on pulleys from window to window, climb the fire escape, and play with color, light, and shadow.
  • The sidewalk produce stand, where kids can pretend to sell and shop and us fruits and vegetables to explore shapes, sorting, weighing, and counting.
  • The construction site, where you can design a building and get to work with building materials and machines.
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