Holiday Family Fun at Bay Area Museums

December 13, 2016

Exploratorium hands-on fun museumHave fun at the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s iceless skating rink this holiday season. Photo: Bay Area Discovery Museum

The holidays are a perfect time for a family visit to a museum, where you can both have fun and learn something indoors. Many local San Francisco Bay Area museums offer fun holiday-themed programs, including hands-on activities, special exhibits, and more. You'll even find ice skating and real live reindeer! Here are six of our favorite local museums worth visiting with the kiddos this holiday season.

Bay Area Discovery Museum

During the holiday season, family favorite the Bay Area Discovery Museum offers a synthetic "iceless" skating rink for all the fun of ice skating without the cold and icy falls. They'll also hold a Noon Year's Eve party from 9 am–2 pm on December 31 with a noontime ball drop, music by DJ ManCub, and more. Location: Fort Baker, 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito, 94965. www.bayareadiscoverymuseum.org

California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park welcomes back its popular 'Tis the Season for Science program, with hands-on exhibits, indoor snow flurries, carolers, and real live reindeer! The fun takes place through January 8. Location: 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco. www.calacademy.org

Walt Disney Family Museum

The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco's Presidio presents the exhibition Home for the Holidays at Carolwood and the documentary Christmas with Walt Disney, both highlighting holiday celebrations at the Disney family home. The museum will also offer screenings of classic Disney films Pinocchio and Babes in Toyland. Location: 104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco Presidio. waltdisney.com

Charles M. Schulz Museum

Santa Rosa's Schulz Museum offers a variety of Peanuts-style holiday programs, including holiday gift-making and a Kids' Night at the Museum on Saturday, December 17, hand-on Hanukkah crafts and activities on December 18, and Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! on December 31, complete with root beer toasts at noon and 3 pm. Location: 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa. schulzmuseum.org

Playland-Not-At-The-Beach

This museum of fun in the East Bay town of El Cerrito celebrates all the holidays of the season with its Holiday Classics Weekends from December 17–January 2. Spot all the classic holiday characters and win a prize! They'll alo be holding a family friendly New Year's Eve party with unlimited pinball. Location: 10979 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito 94530. www.playland-not-at-the-beach.org

Habitot Children's Museum

Berkeley's Habitot holds a holiday gingerbread house making party—where you can help decorate a giant gingerbread house—on December 17. When finished, the house will be donated to a local family shelter. Bring a bag of decorating candy and receive a free adult admission pass to use on your next visit. Location: 2065 Kittredge Street, Berkeley 94704. www.habitot.org