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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Review: Randall Museum in San Francisco

I can’t believe that this was the first time I’ve been to the Randall Museum. Not only is it FREE but it has the most gorgeous view of any Bay Area museum (competitors include the Lawrence Hall of Science or the Legion of Honor). And getting there was definitely half the fun. When driving through the City, I’ve seen the signs before, toward the top of 17th Street, near Twin Peaks and all the planet-named streets. It’s a maze up there, with gorgeous houses too.

This museum is probably best for the six and under set, though Dori (who is 8) still had fun. Their current changing exhibit is Wild in the City, which focuses on the creatures (like raccoons) that live among us. The little playhouse there featured a puppet theater, where Dori and Zack put on a performance for the toddlers. It was a nail-biting one, since Zack recently learned the “F” word at school, and enjoys teaching the word to others.

The animal room has a variety of creatures, from these lovely cockroaches, to chickens, to salamanders that get fed crickets by hand (or rather by long tweezer).
On Saturdays, from 10-4, the Golden Gate Model Railroad Club opens its room downstairs, and runs the trains throughout the elaborate set-up. This room was filled with excited little boys. The trains weren’t running continuously, and the club members didn’t pay much attention to the kids, but the trains did run a few times while we were there. On the 3rd Saturday of odd numbered months, the club runs Junior Engineer Day, and they allow the kids to operate the trains (no extra cost).

The kids spent the most time at the LEGO earthquake exhibit. Build a structure and see how well it stands after pressing the earthquake button, which makes the foundation shake.

My favorite was the pollywog tank, where the tadpoles were turning into frogs.

The museum hosts birthday parties and craft activities, as well as ceramics classes. After looking at their information, it seems there’s little this museum doesn’t do.

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