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Museums with displays collecting dust and smudged glass boxes filled with antique replicas? No thanks. California’s museums are anything but snore-worthy. In fact, we’re a little jealous that our childhood didn’t include weekly visits to these hot spots. This summer spice up your vacation (or staycation) with a visit to one of our favorite museums that make learning fun with hands-on activities and wow-worthy adventures. We came up with a handful of museums — some familiar and others that may be newbies to you — that will prevent summer brain drain and delight your kids beyond belief.

Randall Museum

Randall Museum
The Randall Museum, located in the heart of San Francisco, boasts a bevy of opportunities for your kids to get hands-on with science, nature, and and even trains. At this off the beaten path museum, your kids can walk on the wild side with live animals like the museum's resident brown pelican and gopher snake, hang out in a scale model of a caboose, and get creative with clay every Saturday at the museum's drop-in ceramics class. The cost of a visit to Randall Museum? Nothing -- admission is always free!

Why We Love It:
The Randall Museum offers the intimate (and educational) experience you always hope for in a bigger museum, but sometimes fail to experience when you're rushing from exhibit to exhibit with tired kids. The museum is small and packed with fun, which is great for your pint-sized explorers. There's even a Tree House Toddler Exploration zone for the littles, which features age appropriate books, toys, and a climbing structure. Expect a welcoming and personal experience at Randall Museum, a favorite amongst Bay Area locals.

Online: randallmuseum.org/Default.aspx

photo courtesy of the Greg G. via Yelp 

What’s your favorite educational (and fun!) museum?

Written by: Erin Lem