The Bay Area Discovery Museum is a wonderful children’s museum located in a picturesque spot north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito. Their hours are Tuesday-Friday 9am-4pm and Saturday-Sunday 9am-5pm. They are closed Mondays.
This museum does charge admission even for the smallest children. I would say that is because it is geared toward children from 6 months old to 5 years. Prices are $12.95 for babies 6-11 months old, $13.95 for children 1-17 years old, and $13.95 for Adults. Parking is free and there are lots of places to park.
So what does the museum offer? There are many creative exhibits and lots of hands on learning for little ones. The museum is a large open space with 8 different building you can go into and explore. Walking around outside in between the buildings they also have many musical instruments to experiment with. There is not a dull corner at this museum making it a fun place to explore and one of our favorites in the Bay area.
First building on the left is the Bay Hall. It has a large train table with many intertwining tracks and lots of space so many children can play with it at once. In the same room they have a wonderful San Francisco Wharf play area with giant rocking boat to climb up on and cast your reel to catch fish or crabs off the side. They also have a fish washing station and a rope tying exhibit and a little aquarium with tunnels to crawl all around and feel like you are under the bay. This is my kids favorite place to be and we could easily spend an hour here.
Next in the Fab Lab your child will get to experiment with blocks and gears while they try building new things. They also have a 3D printer the kids can make their own puzzle pieces.
Lookout Cove is an outdoor playground with a large shipwreck sandbox where they can sweep away buried treasures, climb up a giant mast and practice steering a ship. A little further into the open area is a gravel pit for construction loving little ones where they can put on a hard hat and get to work with a shovel and a dump truck. They also have a large cave and water display with shallow streams of water the kids can play in. They also have a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge getting built.
Outside there are also several paths and trails to explore. A giant rope spiderweb they can climb on as well as groves of artistic houses made from interweaving sticks. Out here they have story time a couple times a day as well.
Next in the Playhouse building they change the exhibit every so often. It is always spectacular. We have seen a Curious George exhibit, Transportation Exhibit, Jungle Exhibit and more. Outside is a large imagination playground with big blue foam blocks kids can build and have fun with too.
In the center of the museum is a building called the Art Studio. A great place for your kid to get a little messy with paint and chalk to get their creative juices flowing.
In the Tot lot you will find a running river way that goes under a bridge. Here you try not to get wet as you play with frogs and fish in the water. Really fun for those hot sunny days.
In the Tot Spot they have lots of puppet animals and a soft play structure. In another room they have the coolest waterbed play area to feel like you are swimming in a pond jumping from lily pad to lily pad.
We like to go early in the morning and bring a lunch and stay all day. They do have a Cafe if you forget food and are feeling a little hungry. The prices are steep but the food is pretty good. They have regular things like sandwiches and salads.
Want to go but think it might be a bit too expensive?
There are a few ways to get into the museum for a cheaper price. The first Wednesday of every month the museum is free. We have been many free days and the crowds are not bad. They tend to be a little heavier in the morning but most people leave around 11:00. Even if you are there in the early hours the museum is a very open 7.5 acres with more than 8 separate building to play in. You can also frequently get a Groupon for 46% off admission prices. The museum is a member of the ASTC passport program so if you hold a membership to any museum in the program you will receive free admission here. Many libraries have passes that can get you admission for free one time a year. Ask your local library about it or look here for more information. Lastly if you are a AAA member they do a discount as well.