Child’s Play: Kid-Friendly Attractions in San Francisco


By Heather Turk

Allegiant passengers traveling to San Francisco with youngsters in tow will find a variety of places to keep the kids interested during their vacation. From awesome aquariums to mind-blowing museums, this city knows how to entertain guests of all ages with its family-friendly attractions.


The “Touch the Bay” exhibit at Aquarium of the Bay Credit: Photo courtesy of Aquarium of the Bay

The “Touch the Bay” exhibit 

Home to approximately 20,000 animals found in San Francisco Bay and along the California coastline, this family favorite always makes a splash with visitors young and old. Guests can get up close to several different aquatic species, such as jellyfish, green moray eels, sevengill sharks and California’s state fish, the orange garibaldi, during their visit. The aquarium also features three playful North American river otters in its popular “River Otters: Watershed Ambassadors” exhibit. For a truly hands-on experience, be sure to visit “Touch the Bay” where guests can touch a variety of sea creatures, including juvenile bay rays, sea stars and even sharks, in one of two touch pools.


Make a stop-motion animated movie inside the Animation Studio at the Children’s Creativity Museum Credit: Photo courtesy of the Children’s Creativity Museum

Animation Studio at the Children’s Creativity Museum

The sky’s the limit at this popular children’s museum, which features hands-on workshops and exhibits designed to nurture creativity. Visitors can learn how to make a stop-motion animated movie using wire and clay in the Animation Studio; write code while programming a robot to throw a ball, navigate mazes and complete other challenges in the Tech Lab; or create their own video game or board game in the new “Games” exhibit, which features a variety of game-themed activities. When it’s time to rest those creative juices, take a spin back in time on San Francisco’s most historic carousel. Hand carved in 1906, the carousel is located just outside the museum in Yerba Buena Gardens (additional fee applies).


Make simple circuit boards at The Tinkering Studio inside the Exploratorium Credit: Photo by Gayle Laird/© Exploratorium

Make simple circuit boards at The Tinkering Studio

It’s the one never-ending question most parents dread—“Why?”—but at this playful learning laboratory, children are encouraged to explore their curiosity about the world around them. Boasting more than 600 exhibits, like the popular “Shadow Box,” which temporarily freezes a person’s shadow on a phosphorus wall by storing light from a strobe flash, the museum houses six main galleries each focusing on a different area of exploration. Guests will find interactive exhibits ranging from human behavior to the science of the San Francisco Bay. Visitors can even think with their hands inside The Tinkering Studio. On March 14th admission is free for Pi Day, the mathematical holiday founded at the Exploratorium.


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