Science, nature and a sense of wonder are what you find at the California Academy of Sciences. And now one of San Francisco’s most fun and family-friendly museums has become even more welcoming to little ones with its newly reopened and reimagined Curiosity Grove, an indoor space for play and exploration. Read on to get the scoop.
Farewell, Explorers Cove; Hello, Curiosity Grove
Curiosity Grove is a complete update of the Academy’s beloved Early Explorers Cove play area. The Cove was originally designed as a separate space for very young babies and their caregivers. Recently the Academy decided it was time to update the Cove, and incorporate feedback from visitors to make it even more appealing and useful to families.
Updated Rules Let the Whole Family Enjoy
The newly remodeled Curiosity Grove is now open to children of all ages, so older siblings can now play alongside their younger ones. This change was made to accommodate families with multiple children of varying ages, so they don’t have to split up for the littlest ones to enjoy Curiosity Grove.The other big, exciting change is the elimination of the check-in process. Curiosity Grove is open to all families during their operating hours. The front room which was originally used for check-in has been transformed into an additional play area, and the corridors in the space have been expanded to encourage traffic flow between the rooms. This change is meant to encourage more families to spread out and enjoy Curiosity Grove without the frustration of waiting in line.
Gorgeous New Murals and Toys
Curiosity Grove itself looks beautiful after the update. Several walls and other furniture were removed to make the room more open and spacious. The walls are covered with charming murals by LA-based illustrator Alexander Vidal depicting California’s diverse ecosystems, so it feels like you’re surrounded by the forest and sylvan animals. The treehouse in the corner is a big draw for energetic littles, while the activity tables with puzzles and games will be rotated frequently with different themes. Play tents, animal costumes, and nature-themed activities continue the outdoors theme. Parents will be happy to know there’s plenty of room for stroller parking, a separate nursing nook, and family-friendly restrooms, to make your time here as easy as possible.
More Kid-Friendly Activities in the Academy
Out in the entry room, kids can play with more games, or make drawings to add to the community art wall. Staff members will occasionally drop in to lead activities or share a cool discovery. Beside the updated Curiosity Grove, the Academy is continually working to provide more early childhood programming for its youngest visitors. Check the museum calendar for daily kid-oriented events, which include Storytelling Yoga, puppet shows, animal encounters, and more.
If you’re planning a visit to the Academy soon to check out Curiosity Grove, don’t miss some of the other current, kid-friendly attractions, including the Pterosaur exhibit on the second floor with pterosaur flight simulators, the Earthquake exhibit on the main floor with a carnival-worthy shake house, and the Naturalist Center with tons of books, activities, and specimens for curious littles to explore.
Curiosity Grove at the California Academy of Sciences
Golden Gate Park
55 Music Concourse Drive,
Cost: Included with admission
Hours: Mon. to Sat., 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. & Sun. 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.