Museums for Kids

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.

Picasso Comes to the de Young Museum

June 11, 2011

Picasso exhibition at the de YoungThe hot museum ticket this summer is for the de Young's exhibition Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée Picasso, Paris, which opens today and runs through October 9. Spanning the entirety of this 20th-century master's career, the exhibition presents 150 of "Picasso's Picassos"—paintings, sculptures, and works on paper kept by Picasso as part of his own personal collection. The works are part of the collection of the Musée Picasso in Paris, which was established to house the nearly 3,600 works given to the French government after Picasso's death in 1973.

Picasso is a fascinating look into the career of this important artist. Rooms in the exhibition cover every phase in his lengthy career, from his early Blue period in the 1900s to his experimentations with Cubism and Surrealism to late works from the 1960s and '70s. It's a fascinating look at the development of the artist's work over time.

Last Week to See Olmec at the de Young Museum

May 1, 2011

Olmec sculptures at the de Young MuseumThis week is your last chance to check out the fantastic exhibition Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico, which closes on Sunday, May 8 (Mother's Day). This kid-friendly museum exhibition features two rare Olmec stone heads—humungous scultpures carved out of single giant boulders, as well as a wide variety of other artifacts from this ancient culture.

The Olmec are considered the "mother culture" of Mesoamerica and America's oldest civilzation, developing their iconic and sophisticated artistic style by the second millennium BC. Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico includes over 100 objects drawn primarily from Mexican national collections, many of which have never been seen by North American audiences.

Imagination Playground Now Open at the Bay Area Discovery Museum

April 11, 2011

Imagination Playground at the Bay Area Discovery MuseumCome down and play in Imagination Playground, a newly opened permanent exhibition at Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum. Located in the museum's Festival Plaza, Imagination Playground is a breakthrough concept in playspace design created by architect David Rockwell to encourage the child-directed, unstructured free play that is so important in nurturing children's creativity.

Imagination Playground offers kids endless possibilities for creative play. Children can use a wide array of different elements—including giant foam blocks, slides, noodles, fabric, carts, and balls—to create their own play experiences and reconfigure and modify them. They can also bring sand and water into play in their creations. Adult "Play Associates" are on hand to maintain a safe and secure environment and assure a steady supply of parts for maximum fun and creativity.

Explore the Bay Area's Maritime History at Hyde Street Pier

February 19, 2011

Hyde Stree Pier and EurekaSituated on one of the world's greatest natural harbors, San Francisco and the Bay Area have a rich and storied maritime history. Your family can explore our seafaring heritage by heading over to Hyde Street Pier and its collection of historic ships. Part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, a visit to Hyde Street Pier and its vessels is a fun, educational, and inexpensive family outing.

Located near Aquatic Park and Fisherman's Wharf, Hyde Street Pier is, as its name suggests, a pier extending out into San Francisco Bay from the foot of Hyde Street. You'll probably see the stars of Hyde Street Pier's fleet—the 1886 square-rigger Balclutha and the massive 1890 Eureka ferryboat before you get to the pier itself. In addition to Balclutha and Eureka, the pier is home to four other historic ships: the 1895 lumber schooner C. A. Thayer, the 1891 scow schooner Alma, the 1907 oceangoing steam tug Hercules, and the 1914 paddlewheel tug Eppleton Hall.Best of all, you can actually go on board and explore several of these restored vessels.

Pulp Fashion's Amazing Paper Art at the Legion of Honor

February 5, 2011

Duchess Marie Claire de Croy and ChildStarting this weekend, you and your family can experience the amazing exhibition Pulp Fashion: The Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave at San Francisco's Legion of Honor museum in Lincoln Park. Pulp Fashion showcases the work of de Borchgrave, a Belgian artist who creates stunning costumes, based on art history and historic fashions, out of paper and paint. Everything depicted, from fabric, lace, and hats to jewelry, books, and fans is crafted from paper, cardboard, and paint only.

Pulp Fashion presents 60 masterworks depicting examples from throughout the history of costume, from the Renaissance finery of the Medicis and gowns worn by Queen Elizabeth I and Marie-Antoinette to designs by Christian Dior and Coco Chanel. There are also five special creations inspired by popular paintings in the Legion of Honor's permanent collection, which are presented here for the first time ever. Make sure you go upstairs to the Legion's European art galleries to check out the works in person after you view their paper counterparts in the exhibition.

Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit at the Asian Art Museum

February 4, 2011

The Year of the Rabbit by Oliver ChinCome celebrate the Year of the Rabbit at San Francisco's Asian Art Museum this weekend! The museum has a full schedule of fun Chinese New Year acitivities on both Saturday and Sunday, February 5 and 6.

The museum kicks off its Lunar New Year celebration with author Oliver Chin and the colorful cast of characters from The Year of the Rabbit, the newest in his Tales from the Chinese Zodiac series. Meet Rosie the rabbit and her human friend Jai in this charming tale about their "hare-raising" adventures. After the reading, screen-print a reusable tote bag with an image from the book or make a cool button to pin on your favorite jacket. Then, hop through the galleries on a storytelling tour to hear classics like How the Years Were Named and Teardrop Dragon. Supplies are limited; one tote bag and button per person. Schedule: Reading with Oliver Chin 1–1:45 pm, hands-on activities 2–4 pm, animal zodiac stories 3–3:45 pm.

Arcade Games of Yesteryear at Musee Mecanique

January 24, 2011

Playing soccer at Musee MecaniqueWhen the electronic trappings of modern life get to be too much, close up the laptop, put away the iPhone, turn off the TV, unplug the Wii and head into San Francisco and spend the day at Musee Mecanique. What is Musee Mecanique, you ask? It's an eccentric private museum devoted to arcade games and attractions of a bygone era.

If you grew up in the Bay Area, you may remember the Musee Mecanique back when it was housed underneath the Cliff House. (If you're a real San Francisco old timer your recall the collection from your days at the long-defunct Playland at the Beach amusement park.) When the Cliff House underwent remodeling a few years ago, the collection moved to Pier 45 at Fisherman's Wharf.

While the Pier 45 location doesn't have the same ambience (if that's the correct term to describe the cold, dark, and slightly dingy former site), it more than makes up for it by actually being there at all. And some people even prefer the Musee Mecanique's current bright and airy setting.

Curious George Saves the Day at the CJM

November 13, 2010

Curious GeorgeGenerations of children and their parents love the classic Curious George books authored by the husband-and-wife team of Margret and H. A. Rey. This fall, San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum (the CJM) presents the fascinating exhibition Curious George Saves the Day: The Art of Margret and H. A. Rey, which opens on Sunday, November 14, 2010 and runs through March 13, 2011.

The story of the Reys is an adventure in itself. H. A. Rey (born Hans Augusto Reyersbach, 1898–1977) and Margret Rey (née Margarete Waldstein, 1906–1996) were both born in Hamburg, Germany, to Jewish families. They lived together in Paris in the late 1930s, and fled Europe after the Nazi invasion of France in 1940, eventually settling in New York City by way of Brazil. They went on to publish over 30 books, including their iconic series about the little monkey with insatiable curiosity (and his friend the Man with the Yellow Hat, of course).

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