Our (at least, my) favorite children’s museum of all time is the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito. If you have an opportunity to visit this magical place, you will certainly see why. It’s an indoor and outdoor museum, set within a stunning landscape, filled with intrigue, creativity, charm, and all around fun. It allows children to both create and explore. It’s pretty spectacular, if I do say so, myself.
First off, you may remember how I’ve praised our ASTC museum membership? I’m doing so again, because it gets us reciprocity here, as well as hundreds of other museums around the globe. If you don’t have a membership, but are looking to save, try one of the museum’s many free days – the first Wednesday of each month. You may also find discounts through your local library’s Discover & Go program.
The BADM is a great mixture of indoor and outdoor play. Outside, you will find an abundance of instruments (a favorite of my musically inclined son,) an imagination playground (soft, oversized, blue blocks that have become popular at most children’s museums we have visited within the past few years,) bubbles, chalkboards, and plenty of forest and/or animal like play structures to explore.
Lookout Cove, the BADM’s outdoor playground, made my list for best playgrounds in the bay. The play structures are all unique, ranging from an authentic boat to steer; a mini Golden Gate Bridge to run on and dive off of; a lookout tower to climb; a spider’s web to tangle up in; and a giant bird’s nest to explore.
One of our favorite attractions: dig for buried treasure and excavate fossils in a sunken (sand-filled) ship. Brooms and shovels abound. Another family favorite, put on a hard hat, grab a shovel, and get busy in the large gravel pit.
Also in Lookout Cove, little ones can crawl through the many tunnels, caves, and hiding spaces. This includes whimsy, outdoor sculptures by artist Patrick Dougherty. They even host storytime within these artistic creations.
Another area we enjoy is the tot spot. Designed for infants and toddlers only, the tot spot offers crawlers, early walkers, and toddlers a safe and stimulating environment to explore. There is always an employee on hand to make sure children (and adults) are abiding by the age rule, which is especially appreciated by caregivers of wee ones.
The tot spot is also a large area, with soft padding (no shoes allowed!), buttons to press, tunnels to explore, and even a fish tank on the ceiling. My toddler loves the water play area directly outside! Aprons are available, but it’s best to bring a change of clothes. Determined children will leave soaking wet. Don’t ask me how I know this…
Within the many buildings, you’ll find art studios (filled with crafts and activities,) a tinkering studio, a small section with books and puzzles, and always a rotating exhibit. We’ve visited during exhibits such as Curious George, the Chinese New Year, and Noon Year’s Eve. We are never disappointed!
What else? Standard admission is around $14/pp (still a bargain for all you get out of it!) Parking is plentiful, but can fill up on weekends or during special events. There is an overflow lot behind the museum. There’s also a cafe onsite, although we have never been. Plus, you will find a great store with all kinds of STEM filled toys and gifts.
I really can’t say enough good things about the Bay Area Discovery Museum. We love it here. I hope you will, too!
Bay Area Discovery Museum – Golden Gate National Recreation Area, 557 McReynolds Rd, Sausalito, CA – http://bayareadiscoverymuseum.org/