San Francisco is a wonderful city to explore with kids in tow, despite its reputation for raunchiness. In fact, we'd say few cities cater to children as expertly as this city by the bay. Here are some experiences that will enthrall the young 'uns.

  • The Exploratorium: Imagine a hands-on science museum where kids can play for hours, doing cool things like using a microscope to watch miniscule sea creatures attack each other with teeny, tiny claws. Throw in a drinking fountain in a real toilet and you’ve got the sweetest science museum on the planet.
  • Pier 39 and the California Sea Lions: Featuring ice cream and candy stores, bungee jumping, a puppet theater, and lots of cool shops, Pier 39 is every kids’ dream come true. To top it all off, this pier is home to the famous barking sea lions.
  • Musée Méchanique: Filled with old fashioned penny arcade games, this is a great place for kids to pop in quarters and experience what their great, great-grandparents did for fun 100+ years ago.
  • Aquarium of the Bay: Stand on a conveyor belt. Move through a tube in an aquarium while all sorts of sea creatures swim over and around you. Repeat. What’s not to love?
  • Cable Car Museum: Kids love to learn what makes things work. They’ll be fascinated when they enter this cool museum in action, especially if they’ve just hopped off a cable car. On the main level, you can see giant wheels turning the very cables that pull the cars around the city. Below, you might catch a gripper actually grabbing a cable.
  • California Academy of Sciences: At this institution, founded in 1853 and located in the middle of Golden Gate Park, kids’ favorite activities include watching Claude, the cool albino alligator, and learning about the planets while lying back in their chairs at the Morrison Planetarium.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.