I brought my young toddler to the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito every few months for a couple of years before I realized we had only experienced a small fraction of the space. The hands-on exhibits are designed for children ages 6 months to 8 years.
The museum grounds are located at the base of the Golden Gate bridge and the exhibits include both indoor and outdoor exploration.
Babies and toddlers can explore safely in the Tot Spot with tumbling, climbing, and water play. (Bring a set of dry clothes for the ride home!)
Bigger kids can explore the back woods area, dabble in art projects, investigate motion, and find new ways to express their creativity.
The construction zone is a favorite of many preschoolers. Put on a vest, a hardhat, and start using tools like a real worker.
The BADM is comprised of several buildings on an open campus so it might be rather dreary on a rainy day (unless you hunker down in a favorite section or don't mind getting wet). There are plenty of activities and exhibits indoors, but much of the magic is outside. The concession stand has several healthy options, and there is also an open picnic area for bringing your own food.
We have not been there since the Imagination Playground — a DIY sculpture experience — was added. Learn more about it at the Bay Area Discovery Museum website.
Deals and discounts
The first Wednesday of the month is Free Admission Day.
Otherwise, admission for everyone over 6 months old is $11 per person. A family membership for the year is $150. The museum claims that a family membership “pays for itself on its third visit,” but by my math, one parent and one child need to go seven or more times per year to break even, while a family of four need to go four times during the year. ($44 x 4 = $176). It is true that a family of five will break even on the third visit.
Admission is half-price for members of Habitot, Lawrence Hall of Science, and Chabot Science Center — and vice versa.
All photos courtesy of Bay Area Discovery Museum.