As a parent with young kids, the days of leisurely, intellectual museum visits are over. But some museums ARE doing a fair amount to attract families. Get the parents in the door AND teach the kiddies something about art.
Contemporary Jewish Museum: The CJM has several ways to get the kids thinking about (and creating) art at this museum south of Market. Every Sunday, the museum offers drop-in art making, with topics relating to current museum exhibits, traditions, architecture, and holidays. The second Sunday of the month, the CJM opens early for preschoolers and their families, with interactive, kid-friendly ways to explore the museum.
If you show up with the kiddos any other day, just ask for a free Family Art Pack, with age-appropriate activities to engage the kids in the exhibits. Entry for kids at the CJM is always free, and you don’t need to be Jewish to participate or enjoy the museum.
As mentioned previously, the CJM is open on December 25th for free (thanks Target!) - with family activities. 151 Third Street.
de Young Museum: This Golden Gate Park masterpiece reopened a few years ago, housed in a modern and architecturally interesting structure — but the kids probably won’t care much about that. Instead, they’ll go for the kid-friendly tour and studio workshops, where they’ll create their own art. These programs, aimed at kids ages 4-12, run each Saturday, with morning or afternoon sessions.
Or register for a free, weekday after-school program for elementary/middle schoolage kids. Those classes meet twice. Programs are free after paid admission. 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive.
SFMOMA: Kids may tour museums via school field trips, but that’s no fun for the parents left behind. Twice monthly family programs at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) lets Mom and Dad — and even the grandparents — tag along. Family Sundays include free admission for kids under age 12, and they’ll be treated to a family tour, hands-on art projects, book readings, and movie screenings. Each month sports a different theme. 151 Third Street.