Bay Area Discovery Museum

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The Bay Area Discovery Museum is a children's museum located in Sausalito, California inside the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is right at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. The museum's mission is "to ignite and advance creative thinking for all children,"[1] so that children will gain skills to become the innovative problem solvers of tomorrow.

The museum is geared to children from 6 months to 10 years of age with different areas of the museum tailored to a specific age group.[2] Children have the options of exploring the 6 different sections of the museum: Art Studios, Bay Hall, Discovery Hall, Lookout Cove, Tot Spot, and Fab Lab.[3] Each area is designed in a way to support and further the mission of the museum and provides hands-on, child-directed exploration that ignites creative thinking, flexible problem-solving, and exciting discoveries. All Museum exhibitions, both indoor and outdoor areas, are hands-on and play focused. In fact, Bay Area Discovery Museum is the only children's museum in the country to be located inside a National Park.

Public programming and Discovery School preschool[edit]

The museum also hosts many events and programs, allowing families to engage more deeply with the museum's missions. The Museum has its own accredited preschool, Discovery School on its premises that is grounded in child-directed learning such as the Reggio teaching method among others. Other programming at the Museum includes family classes, member programming, and camps. "drop-in" programming during the day are approximately one-hour chunks of curriculum developed around themes such as nature exploration, art exploration, or movement and singing exploration. Guests are invited to visit these programs around the museum, such as Toddler Circle Time, Storytime, The Box, Art Lab, and Nature Lab to experience varied programming centered around the mission of creative thinking and engagement.

Celebrating diversity and special events[edit]

Special holiday celebrations at the museum focus on celebrating the diversity of the Bay Area. Favorites include Chinese New Year, World on Stage music performances, Earth Day, Dia de Los Muertos, and Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. The museum hosts three fundraising events that are open to the public including, Goblin Jamboree, Snow Days, and Playdate that allow attendees to contribute to the museum's continued programming and upkeep.[4]

Community engagement: Connections[edit]

Besides programming centered at the site, the museum is actively engaged in the surrounding community in a variety of capacities. Connections, a comprehensive outreach program, aims to create sustainable relationships between the Museum and the diverse communities of the Bay Area. The Museum invites preschools to visit five times annually to experience child-directed play in our immersive exhibits. Additionally, Museum educators provide hands-on programming that deepens children's relationship to the natural world. Through exploration, collaboration and guidance from adults, big discoveries happen. Staff members visit the partnering preschools to broaden the scope of the program. Ongoing support throughout the school year helps teachers connect the Museum experience into their classroom curriculum.

Center for Childhood Creativity[edit]

The Bay Area Discovery Museum is also home to the Center for Childhood Creativity. The Bay Area Discovery Museum launched the Center for Childhood Creativity in 2011 to pioneer new research, thought-leadership, and teacher training programs that advance creative thinking in all children—extending its impact beyond the Museum. By partnering with academic institutions such as UC Berkeley and Stanford, the Center is able to present research in the latest childhood development research for a wide audience, including local parents who are interested in instilling creative practice sin their young children. Throughout the year, the center hosts Creativity Talks and Creativity Forum, both venues to hear and engage with creativity and childhood development pioneers, with the latter being a fundraiser for the Center. The Center has recently rolled out new programs such as Parent PhD, workshops that engage parents with the latest childhood research surrounding topics such as "building creativity" and celebrating "failures" as learning experiences. The Center graciously hosts area teacher and childhood education professional for various classes and training throughout the year, in hopes of helping educators to integrate creative and fun learning methods into area classrooms.

Idea Lab and STEM intensives[edit]

The Museum is also reaching out to area classrooms with new STEM programming (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) for young learners. The goal of these programs is to build a strong relationship between the wide variety of STEM topics and fun experiential learning. These STEM-based Idea Labs are workshops aligned to Common Core Math and Next Generation Science Standards for Pre-K through 3rd grade. Idea Labs can be combined with a field trip to the Museum or hosted in your classroom. Facilitated by our dynamic team of Museum educators, Idea Labs provide a playful, hands-on exploration of science and math content. Students, teacher and parents all have a role to play in these active, exploratory workshops. Multi-sensory activities will encourage risk-taking, collaborative problem-solving and creative thinking.

Discovery it Yourself (D.I.Y.) field trips[edit]

The Museum also offers D.I.Y. (Discover it Yourself) field trips to the museum for area preschools and day cares. This is self-guided Museum exploration for groups of 3-8-year-old students and their important adults. D.I.Y. Field Trips provide timed entry and departure at a discounted rate for groups of 15-80 children plus chaperones. This option provides up to 2.5 hours at the Museum and the flexibility to explore the exhibits at your own pace. Every student will go home with a coupon for discounted admission for on a future Museum visit. D.I.Y. Field Trips are a great option for preschools, early elementary classrooms, and community organizations who are looking for a shared educational experience for their group.

Admission, hours of operation, and discount programs[edit]

The museum is open from Tuesday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Saturday and Sunday 9:00 am – 5:00pm. General admission for guests 1 to 64 years old is $13.95, guests 6–12 months and seniors age 65+ are $12.95 and with guests under 6 months admitted free. The Museum has free admission on the first Wednesday of each month, discounts for activity duty military families (Blue Star Museum), as well as for:

  • Automobile Association of America (AAA): $1 off per visitor, up to 5 people
  • Association of Children's Museums (ACM): Discounted admission to members of other children's museums may be available depending on your membership level - check your membership card for the ACM sticker.
  • Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC): The ASTC Passport Program gives members free general admission to over 300 institutions located outside a 90-mile radius of your residence.
  • California Alumni Association (CAA): $1 off per visitor, up to 5 people
  • KQED: $1 off per visitor, up to 5 people
  • UCSF: $1 off per visitor, up to 5 people


  • Bay Area Parent Magazine, Best Museum, 2014 and 2013
  • Marin Magazine Reader’s Choice Awards, Best Summer Camp, 2013
  • North Bay Bohemian, Best Imagination Center, 2014
  • Best Museum and Best Birthday Place, 2013, 2011, 2010
  • Best Family Destination & Best Imagination Center, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
  • Red Tricycle, Totally Awesome Museum, 2011
  • San Francisco Bay Guardian, Best Nearby Discovery 2009
  • Pacific Sun, Best Place for a Kid's Party, Hall of Fame (winner for several consecutive years)
  • Nickelodeon's Parents' Picks Best Enviro-Friendly Place, 2008

The museum has received National Historic Preservation Award from the President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in 1992, and the California Preservation Foundation, Preservation Design Award, 2005.[1]


  1. ^ a b "About Us | Bay Area Discovery Museum". Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  2. ^ "What Ages? | Bay Area Discovery Museum". Archived from the original on 2013-08-07. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  3. ^ "Tour the Museum | Bay Area Discovery Museum". Archived from the original on 2013-08-05. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  4. ^ "Programs and Events | Bay Area Discovery Museum". Archived from the original on 2013-08-05. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°50′10″N 122°28′37″W / 37.836005°N 122.476813°W / 37.836005; -122.476813