There are some who think that San Francisco is how the world was really meant to be before it lost its way. Take what San Francisco has done with museums for children. Ordinarily, in any other city, you wouldn’t ever dream of taking a seven-year-old to a museum unless you wished to bore her out of a year’s growth. That’s not exactly how it is in San Francisco. In fact, the museums here are so great that you could make a trip to San Francisco with kids just for the museums.
Let’s start with the Exploratorium. The Tinkering Studio here is a place where children are encouraged to do something they never are allowed to in any museum – they are encouraged to pick things up, put them together, tinker, make a mess and invent new things. They find out how you’re supposed to connect electrical stuff together with wires to make stuff work, buzz, light up and makes noise. They find interesting mechanized robots that they can take part to explore. And with help from the in-house mechanical artist, they can create their own machine sculptures. The Exploratorium has been around for 41 years and it’s always been the same – the idea has been to allow children to really interact with the exhibits.
Or how about the California Museum of Sciences? If you’re in San Francisco with kids, you simply have to come here (and then go to the Walt Disney family Museum). It’s an aquarium, a planetarium and a natural history museum on steroids, all in one. The California Academy of Sciences is all kinds of exhibits that will help your child understand the world we live in. There is a climate change exhibit for instance that tells you that food happens to be a full quarter of your carbon footprint. There are plates of fake food all over the place; once you push a lever, the plate flips over and you get a lot of ideas on how by eating what’s in season and by staying away from industrial meats, you do a lot for the environment. When they say that chicken is a lot more environmentally friendly than fish or beef, you can right away see your child’s eyes light up. These are clear and direct instructions that any idealistic child can pick up on.
San Francisco even does a Museum of Modern Art differently. They have special workshops for families. If you’re taking in all of these museums in San Francisco with kids, the City Pass should give you great savings.