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Guide to the Bay Area Discovery Museum

Bay Area Discovery Museum GUIDE 🔎 | Bay Area Discovery Museum Hours, Tickets, What to Do & More!

Last Updated on: 17th April 2024, 09:44 am

Are you looking for a family-friendly activity in the San Francisco Bay Area? Check out the Bay Area Discovery Museum. With 7.5 acres of indoor and outdoor exhibits, the museum offers interactive and thought-provoking children’s programming with six different sections for kids to explore.

Located in Sausalito, California, this interactive museum offers engaging exhibits and activities designed to spark creativity and curiosity in young minds. From outdoor exploration areas to indoor art studios, there’s something for every child to discover. Plan your visit today to immerse your family in hands-on learning and play.

So whether you’re searching for a day trip destination or researching summer camp ideas, it’s the ideal location. In this Bay Area Discovery Museum Guide, you’ll learn everything you need about this iconic destination, including hours of operation, events, discounts, and more.

Bay Area Discovery Museum Overview

Situated at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Area Discovery Museum has been a destination for family-friendly fun for nearly three decades. Nestled within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in Sausalito, CA, this Bay Area Children’s Museum is the perfect destination for a family outing. Over 350,000 people visit the Bay Area Discovery Museum per year, which is a 133% increase from the previous decade.

The Golden Gate Recreation Area covers over 80,000 acres of land with multiple camping sites, beaches, hiking trails, and popular attractions. The Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito is one of the top attractions in the park, with 6 sections, dozens of exhibits, and a variety of exciting programs and events geared toward elementary school-aged children. Here are a few common questions parents have about the Sausalito Discovery Museum.

When Did the Bay Area Discovery Museum Open?

The museum first opened its doors in 1987. It was the passion project of two local Marin women – Clara Greisman and Sue Monaghan, who raised the capital for the creation and assembled a board of directors.

It opened temporarily in Corte Madera in April 1987 before relocating to its permanent location in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. In 2021, the museum underwent an extensive $20 million renovation. It added five new exhibits and innovative features, such as interconnected tree houses shaped like various types of nuts.

How to Get to the Bay Area Discovery Museum

The Golden Gate Bridge museum is conveniently located within Fort Baker on the Sausalito Side of the Recreation Area. The Bay Area Discovery Museum address is 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito, CA 94965.

However, for the best directions, they recommend typing the museum’s name into your GPS instead of the mailing address. Here is how to get to the museum from different parts of the Bay Area:

  • From San Francisco: Take 101 North to the Alexander Avenue Exit
  • From the East Bay: Take 580 West across the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge, follow the signs for 101 South, and get off at Alexander Avenue.
  • From the North Bay: Take 101 South and get off at the Alexander Avenue exit after the Waldo Tunnel.

It may be helpful to note that traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge sometimes makes it faster to take the Sausalito exit rather than the Alexander Avenue Exhibit. Once you get off the highway, you’ll see signs for Fort Baker and the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, CA. Free parking is available nearby.

What Age Group is the Bay Area Discovery Museum for?

The recommended Bay Area Discovery Museum age range is 6 months to 8 years old. The museum’s exhibits are geared toward teaching STEM Education to young children, with each section and exhibit geared toward different age groups. It also offers preschool and summer camp programs.

What Time Does the Bay Area Discovery Museum Open?

The Bay Area Discovery Museum’s hours are from 10am to 4pm Wednesday through Sunday for the general public, although the museum opens at 9am for members. It’s closed for everyone on Monday and Tuesday. Be aware that the museum is closed on certain special dates to accommodate holidays and staff training. You can find a list of special dates on their website.

Bay Area Discovery Museum Admissions Info, Ticket Prices and Discounts

General admission prices for Bay Area Discovery Museum tickets are:

  • $15 for babies (6 – 11 months)
  • $20 for children ( 1 – 17 years old)
  • $20 for adults (18 – 65 years old)
  • $18 for seniors (65+)

If you plan on visiting regularly, you can also get a discount by getting a Bay Area Discovery Museum membership. Membership offers benefits such as 9 am access to the museum, access to special members-only programs, $50 off birthday party rentals, and a 10% store discount. The cost of membership ranges from $209 to $1000+ per year, depending on the size of your family and how often you wish to visit the museum.

The first Wednesday of the month is the Bay Area Discovery Museum free day, where the general admission price is waived for all Bay Area residents. You can also get a Bay Area Discovery Museum discount through membership at your local library or organizations like AAA and the California Alumni Museum.

They also have an Open-Door Policy, which means families will not be turned away due to a lack of funds. So, you can get discounted Bay Area Discovery Museum tickets by visiting the front desk and offering to make a donation of what you can afford.

Are Dogs Allowed in the Bay Area Discovery Museum in San Francisco?

Dogs and other pets are not allowed into the museum unless they are service animals. Also note that it’s illegal to leave any animals unattended in Fort Baker, including pets left in cars or tied up. So, if you plan on bringing a furry friend, make sure an adult stays with them and they don’t come inside the museum.

Can You Bring Food to the Bay Area Discovery Museum?

You are permitted to bring food from home, but it must be consumed in one of the designated eating areas throughout the museum. Alternatively, you can also purchase food at the Bean Sprout—the Bay Area Discovery Museum cafe—which is open from 9am to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

What Can You Do at the Bay Area Discovery Museum?

Families and visitors will find a wide range of fun events, programs, and exhibits designed to provide a fun and enriching learning experience for kids. Whether you’re looking to participate in a structured program or just want to explore the grounds for a day, you’ll find no shortage of options. Here are a few different events and programs offered at the museum.

  • Bay Area Discovery Museum Events: Museum members receive access to special events such as musical performances, smoothie tastings, art exhibits, and more.
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum Preschool: The preschool program is open to three-year-olds and offers self-directed exploration in small groups. They are fully licensed as a childcare center by the State of California with fully certified staff and a low student-to-teacher ratio.
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum Summer Camp: The Bay Area Discovery Museum Camp is open to children ages 3 to 8 and features a fun, play-based curriculum covering enriching themes such as art, science, and engineering.

Bay Area Discovery Museum Birthday Parties: Celebrate an important milestone at the museum and book a birthday party package. All packages include a two-hour space rental that is fully furnished and decorated, support from the event staff, and a playful learning activity designed by a museum educator.


Sections of the Bay Area Discovery Museum

In addition to events and programs, the museum features multiple sections full of interactive exhibits that you can explore at your leisure. Here is a look at each section.

Art Studios

The Art Studios are designed to inspire creativity and give kids the opportunity to try something new and channel their inner artists. Clay play is one of its most popular exhibits, where kids can work with their hands and craft their own pottery.

Bay Hall

Bay Hall is an exciting exhibit space that recreates some of the Bay Area’s most iconic landmarks, such as Fisherman’s Wharf and the Port of Oakland. Kids can let their imagination run wild while playing on the custom train table modeled after Fort Baker or explore recreations of nautical vessels.

Lockout Cove

Lookout Cove is a 2.5-acre outdoor space with an expansive trail system, gravel pits, sea caves and tide pools, and a crow nest. The Discovery Museum lookout tower is one of the most popular exhibits and offers a fun place for kids to learn and socialize.

Tot Spot

The Bay Area Discovery Museum Tot Spot is a space where children under 42 inches tall can explore and satisfy their curiosity as they navigate through Bay Area and forest-themed obstacle courses and equipment designed to support their vocabulary and critical thinking skills.

Fab Lab

The Fab Lab is an exhibit and learning center designed to teach kids STEM skills. The space comes equipped with state-of-the-art digital fabrication technology, such as 3-D printers, laser printers, and vinyl cutters, giving kids the ability to get creative while also learning essential tech skills.

Gumnut Grove

Modeled after the seeds of an Eucalyptus tree, Gumnut Grove is a one-of-a-kind playground and obstacle course designed for adventurous play in a safe, supportive environment. It is designed for visitors aged 5-10 who want to explore and enjoy some of the best views in the Bay Area from atop the treehouse.

Planning a relocation to the Bay Area? AMS Relocation is the top San Francisco Bay Area moving company for a stress-free relocation. Call (650) 284-2931 for a free, customized moving quote.


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