Museums for Kids

Enjoy Museums for Free at Target Arts & Wonder Weekend

July 14, 2010

This weekend, Target (you know, that place where you buy diapers and bathroom cleaner and toys and the occasional dress or shirt) presents Arts & Wonder, a free family event with free general admission to six of San Francisco's leading museums and free art activities and performances.

This weekend-long marathon of free family fun kicks off Friday, July 16, 2010 from 5–8:45 pm at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, where you can turn Target's canine mascot Bullseye into a work of Andy Warhol-inspired "Pup" art and watch a ballet performance celebrating the work of Impressionist painter Edgar Degas. General admission and activities and performances are free, but if you want to see the Birth of Impressionism exhibition (highly recommended!) you'll have to get a special timed ticket—$15 for adults, $10 for children 6–17, and free for kids 5 and under.

See King Tut for Free This Weekend, Courtesy of Target

February 16, 2010

King TutKing Tut is in the news again this week. While it seems he had some pretty miserable health problems, he also had a lot of really beautiful and amazing stuff, much of which is on view through March 28, 2010 at San Francisco's de Young Museum. If you haven't seen the show yet, this weekend may be the time to do so, because it's free! That's right, this Saturday and Sunday, February 20 and 21, admission to Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs will be absolutely free, courtesy of the generous folks at Target

The only catch is that the free tickets to see Tut are handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, and a limited number of people can go through the exhibition each day. Expect the free tickets to be gone early in the day. There's a limit of four tickets per adult, and tickets will be timed and dated. The museum box office will open at 8:30 am on Saturday and Sunday; the first exhibition entry is at 9 am.

Two Cool Museum Exhibitions Open This Weekend

November 1, 2009

BADM stream for Animal SecretsLooking for something to do this weekend that doesn't involve Halloween? Two interesting new exhibitions open at local museums this weekend that could be perfect outings for your family.

At Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum, families can explore the hidden habitats and secret lives of forest animals in the special exhibition Animal Secrets, which runs from tomorrow through May 9, 2010. Specially designed for children ages 3–8, Animal Secrets uses imagintive role-play and hands-on activities to help children discover nature from an animal's point of view. Environments to be explored include a stream, meadow, woodland, cave, and naturalist's tent.

The Bay Area Discovery Museum is open Tuesday–Friday 9 am–4 pm and weekends 10 am–5 pm. Admission is $8 for children 1–17 and seniors 62+ and $10 for adults; free for children under 1 and members.

For more information, visit or call (415) 339-3900.

Celebrate Sendak at the Contemporary Jewish Museum!

September 2, 2009

Maurice Sendak: Final Drawing from Where the Wild Things AreThis fall, the work of legendary children's book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak will be on view at San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum. The exhibition There's a Mystery There: Sendak on Sendak is a major retrospective of over 100 works by Maurice Sendak, and features original watercolors and drawings from more than 40 of his books—including the groundbreaking Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen—as well as rare sketches, working materials, and interview footage.

There's a Mystery There: Sendak on Sendak opens Tuesday, September 8, and runs through January 19, 2010.

The exhibition is organized by the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia, the world's only repository of Maurice Sendak's work. The exhibition allows both children and adults to gain a deeper understanding not only of Sendak's beloved characters and books but of the author himself, as well as explore the real-life people, places, and events that inspired many of the elements in his stories.

The King Tut Show for Families

July 13, 2009

Canopic Stopper of TutankhamunThe exhibition Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at San Francisco's de Young Museum is probably the hottest museum show in the Bay Area this summer. If you grew up in the Bay Area, then chances are you remember the blockbuster 1979 Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibition from when you were a child. We had a chance to view the current King Tut show last week, and took our ancient Egypt-obsessed six-year-old and three-year-old through to look at artifacts from the tomb of the famous boy king and other Egyptian notables.

Overall, the show is stunning. All tickets are timed and dated, so you line up at your appointed time (the museum really has this organized well) and then enter through a set of double doors that look like they came from Pirates of the Caribbean or another similar Disneyland attraction. You're ushered into a dark room where a brief 90-second video introduces you to King Tut and ancient Egypt. When the video ends, another set of doors swing open and you enter the actual exhibition, where you're greeted by a beautiful, near-life-size granite statue of Tutanhkamun.

King Tut Opens at the de Young Museum on Saturday

June 24, 2009

Statues of King TutUnless you've been living under a rock or in a remote cabin in the Sierras for the last year or so, you know that the big King Tut exhibition, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, opens at the de Young Museum in San Francisco this Saturday, June 27. The exhibition will be there through March 28 of next year.

Entrance to Tut in '79The last King Tut exhibition that rolled through the Bay Area back in 1979, back when many of us were small children, and certainly there are many of us who are looking forward to taking our children to see these treasures this time. This exhibition is bigger, and concentrates a little more on the history of ancient Egypt around the time of Tut, with artifacts from the tombs of his ancestors and members of his royal court, as well as 50 objects from Tutankhamun's tomb itself. What isn't in the show is the famous solid gold mummy mask that was the hit of 1979's Treasures of Tutankhamun; you're going to have to fly the family out to Cairo to see that, as the Egyptian government won't let it travel anymore for safety reasons.

Children of Hangzhou Opens at the BADM Saturday

June 10, 2009

Children of Hangzhou at the Bay Area Discovery MuseumMarin's popular Bay Area Discovery Museum opens its latest special exhibition, Children of Hangzou: Connecting with China, this Saturday, June 13. The exhibition runs through September 13, 2009. Organized by the Boston Children's Museum, the Children of Hangzhou allows families to explore modern Chinese life through the children of Hangzhou, Boston's sister city.

This exhibition is devoted to demistifying contemporary China, especially in light of China's ever-increasing role as a global power and Pacific Rim neighbor, and inspiring families to learn more about the country and its people. Children will look at everyday life in China through the eyes of four young people living in Hangzhou.

At the exhibition, kids can explore aspects of daily life in China by exploring places such as the bus stop, an apartment building, the Yellow Dragon Theater, the Hangzhou library, a farm, and a middle school. The Discovery Museum always offers hands-on activities, so be prepared to try writing Chinese, cook, plant rice, perform in a Chinese opera, and more!

King Tut Tickets On Sale Now!

April 6, 2009

King TutAdvance tickets for this summer's King Tut exhibition at San Francisco's de Young Museum go on sale to the general public today! Tut last made an appearance at the de Young in 1979, and many of you out there probably saw the exhibition as children. The new exhibition, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, will be at the de Young from June 27, 2009 through March 28, 2010, and includes over 130 works from the tomb of King Tut and other auspicious ancient Egyptians.

Visit for more information on ordering tickets and about the exhibition. You can also preview the artifacts on display and send a King Tut e-card.

School Tickets for King Tut Available Now!

February 28, 2009

Mannequin of King TutKing Tut is returning to San Francisco! The treasures of the famous Boy King return to the de Young Museum this summer. Tut last made an appearance at the de Young in 1979, and many of you out there probably saw the exhibition as children. The new exhibition, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, will be at the de Young from June 27, 2009 through March 28, 2010, and includes over 130 works from the tomb of King Tut and other auspicious ancient Egyptians.

While general admission tickets won't be on sale until April 6, school groups can reserve their tickets for the coming school year now. Schools can purchase tickets at the special discounted rate of $15 per student, and tickets for chaperones (one per ten students) are complimentary.

Teachers in California K–12 public schools can also enter a lottery to receive free or reduced price tickets for their group. Fill out the form on the King Tut website to enter the lottery. Ticket price will range from free to $10 per student, depending on corporate underwriting, and lottery results will be announced in September.

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