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3 days planning

by Laura

Three days in SF with 2 kids 10 and 15. What are some fun and interesting things to do?

Hi Laura and thank you for your question.

You will find a number of fun activities for your three-day visit. Many of the activities in SF that are great for kids this age are also interesting for adults too. This will make it a fun all around vacation.

Here are just a few places to check out during your stay:

*California Academy of Sciences: The California Academy of Sciences is an amazing place for kids of all ages. It’s four museums in one, so everyone can check out their favorite topic. It includes a four-story rainforest (that you can walk through and get up close and personal with the butterflies), a natural history museum (might not be super interesting for them at this age), a planetarium (get there first thing to get tickets to the show – they are free with admission, but he tickets go fast), and an aquarium. They will probably really enjoy the earthquake simulator as well as a few other hands on displays.

*Exploratorium: The Exploratorium is a hands on science and human perception museum. They have several hands on exhibits where they can learn about light, sound, and other science related topics. They might also like the fog bridge, which is outside the museum. They have exhibits indoors and out.

*Ferry Cruise: The ferry cruises are also very popular. You can choose from a 60 or 90-minute cruise around the bay. The cruise takes you past SF’s attractions along the waterfront. You will also ride under the Golden Gate Bridge – twice. You can also learn more about the attractions you’ll see along the way (from the narrator) or you can just enjoy the scenery. They have both indoor and outdoor seating. You can find tickets for these ferries at up to half off on Goldstar, so I recommend heading there for tickets. Click here to visit their site to book discounted tickets.

*7D Experience: They might also enjoy the 7D experience on Pier 39. It’s part theater, part movie and includes quite a bit of participation by the audience members. It’s more of a journey where you compete with the other people on the ride/experience with you. You might battle ghosts in a haunted mine, go on a pirate adventure, or other fun activities. The 7D Experience game/theater/ride changes frequently, so stop by to find out what they are currently offering.

*S.S. Pampanito: They might also enjoy visiting this submarine. You get the chance to walk inside and explore what it would be like to live on one of these vessels. It’s next door to a WWII Liberty Ship called the Jeremiah O’Brien. Both are on Pier 45 in Fisherman’s Wharf.

*Cable Car Museum: The cool thing about the Cable Car Museum is that you can watch the live cables pulling cars around San Francisco. There is a small history museum here too. I’m not sure that will be interesting to your kids, but most kids of this age really enjoy watching the cables spin. The museum is free and easy to get to as it’s right between Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square. The best way to get here is by cable car, which is also a fun way to travel around SF.

You can also check out my page 25 Things to Do with Kids in SF. It has a few additional ideas. Some will be a little too young for your kids, but you might find a few additional things to do as a family.

I hope this gives you a few ideas to get you started. Let me know if you have any additional questions.

Thank you and enjoy your trip to San Francisco!


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