Zeum is not your typical museum, but a place that builds voice, ignites the imagination, nurtures the creative process, and encourages innovation. Zeum is a nonprofit multimedia arts and technology museum. It aims to foster creativity and innovation in young people and their families. It’s the only Bay Area museum where individuals of all ages, backgrounds, communities, and learning styles can combine hands-on animation, digital technology, electronic media, traditional and nontraditional materials, and the power of their imaginations to create high quality stories, movies, performances, music, and art. This museum offers captivating exhibits for different age groups, so you can take a 12-year-old and a 5- year-old here and neither will be left out.

Contact no: (415) 820-3320

Location: 221 Fourth Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Learn more here.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is an art museum, yes, and it’s true that most museums of this sort don’t have a reptutation for exactly being child friendly. Still, the SFMOMA is a perfect museum for children who are a little bit more precocious than most. This is a world-class art museum, with exhibits that focus on modern art and to a lesser extent, art that represents Northern California. Their permanent collection includes important works by Jackson Pollock, Richard Diebenkorn, Paul Klee, Marcel Duchamp, and Ansel Adams. Like we said, not every child will be interested, but for that one who is, the SFMOMA is waiting.

Contact no: (415) 357-4000

Location: 151 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Learn more here.

Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf

The eerie wax statues at The Wax Museum really do seem to be alive. The craftsmanship of the sculptors makes every one of the more than 200 statues at this Fisherman’s Wharf institution come to life. The Museum maintains a good mix of historical and contemporary figures, so there should be sveral that both you and your children will recognize.

Contact no: (800) 439-4305

Location: 145 Jefferson Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

Learn more here.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum

The Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf is big, bright, loud, ridiculous, and full of bizarre oddities. While exhibits seem incredible, when given the choice, you and your children will probably opt to believe them. On display are the two-headed calf, the eight foot cable car made of matchsticks, and the shrunken corpse. The museum doesn’t really have a unifying theme and its only underlying message seems to be that the world is an exceedingly strange place. Still, it’s great fun, and you can have your future told to you there by a mechanical man — what other place on earth can you say that about?

Contact no: (415) 202-9850

Location: 175 Jefferson Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

Learn more here.

Musee Mecanique

The Musee Mecanique is one of the world’s largest collections of antique arcade machines. Machines on display include turn-of-the-century nickelodeons and modern video games. It can deliver a lesson in history to you and to your childen who have never heard of Pac-Man. All of the games are still coin-operated and some of the old ones take nickels, so there’s a lesson about inflation to learn as well. Make sure not to miss “Laffing Sal,” an enormous mechanical woman who chortles when paid two-bits, or the old-fashioned photo booth where you can take some keepsake pictures.

Contact no: (415) 346-2000

Location: Pier 45, San Francisco, CA 94133

Learn more here.


The world’s first and best hands-on science museum sits in the Marina district. What sets this museum apart is that there is no rope separating visitors from the exhibits. Visitors are encourage to touch, feel, pick up, and interact with everything in the building. The museum, more than any other, is something to do rather than something to see. Make sure not to miss the Shadow Box in which you can make a semipermanent record of your shadow on the wall or Make a Tornado in which you create or destroy a miniature tornado. Exhibits change frequently but are sure to inform, stimulate, and astound all ages.

Contact no: (415) 561-0360

Location: 3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

Learn more here.

Cartoon Art Museum

This museum aims to teach visitors about the history and possibilities of the nation’s most overlooked art form and cultural export. Charlie Brown, Spider-Man, Horton, and Mr. Magoo, the museum pays homage to the tops in the field and sheds some light on their long-neglected creators. You can find stuffy museums that feature modernism, post-modernism, or reverse-post-post modernism in any city, but San Francisco gives you the informal Cartoon Art Museum. Long-forgotten favorites jockey for space with new creations, so you and your child will have a lot to explain to each other.

Contact no: (415) 227-8666

Location: 655 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

Learn more here.

California Academy of Sciences

This massive museum reopened at its new site in Golden Gate Park. The museum features, among many other exhibits, a breathtaking dinosaur collection. No one’s sure exactly why children love dinosaurs so much. Is it that they were big? That they’re extinct? The museum also prides itself on its Skulls exhibit, which consists of skulls from all over the animal kingdom, presented together to astounding effect, and sure to delight some children.

Contact no: (415) 379-8000

Location: 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA 94118

Learn more here.