The Bay Area offers loads of great museums, science centers and zoos. Check them all out without breaking the bank by consulting our list of days when they offer free admission. Mark your calendar, get there early and explore!

photo: California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences

San Francisco residents get a special treat: you get two free weekends each year, once in the fall and once in the spring, based on your zip code.  Check this out, to find the next free date for your digits.

This ultra-cool museum also lets the general public get in for free, four Sundays a year. Check here for the next free day. Pro-tip: get their early because the crowds are sure to be in full effect.

55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA
Phone: 415-379-8000


photo: Bay Area Discovery Museum

Bay Area Discovery Museum

Hop on over to a museum that's sure to tucker your little one out both physically and mentally. Get in for free on the first Wednesday of each month. If you can't make it on a Wednesday, check out your local library, many carry Bay Area Discovery Museum membership cards.

Fort Baker
557 McReynolds Rd.
Sausalito, CA


Pop by the uber-tot friendly Habitot to let your little engage in everything from water play to blasting off to outer space. Keep an eye here for the free admission dates in 2018 as they pop up.

2065 Kittredge Street
Berkeley, CA
Phone: 510-647-1111

photo: Michael Millman

Oakland Museum of California

Looking to inspire your little to be a better steward of the future? Check out the Oakland Museum of California whose mission is to encourage all Californians to create a brighter future for themselves and our communities. Every first Sunday of the month, you can get in for free with a suggested donation.

To check out their calendar, head here.

1000 Oak Street
Oakland, CA
Phone: 510-451-3322

Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia

Check out all things tiny candy at this Pez museum the first Thursday of every month.

214 California Dr.
Burlingame, CA

photo: San Francisco Zoo

San Francisco Zoo

Let your little animals run wild for free at the SF Zoo on certain days if you're a San Francisco resident. Check here for the next free Wednesday and don't forget to bring proof of your address and a photo I.D. 

Sloat Blvd. & Great Highway
San Francisco, CA

photo: Ole Haupt

de Young Museum

Why not expose your kiddo to a cultural heart of the city at an early age? You can get in for free on the first Tuesday of the month (special exhibition fees still apply.)

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.
San Francisco, CA

Museum of Craft and Design

Makers gonna make—so bring your mini-me the first Tuesday of each month for free! Bonus: the museum just started offering a free hands-on craft to go along with your free admission. 

2569 Third St.
San Francisco, CA

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Film and art for the win! Galleries are free, first Thursdays of each month.

BAM at 2626 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA

Legion of Honor

Take your kids to this treasure the first Tuesday of every month for free. Special exhibit fees still apply. 

Lincoln Park
100 34th Ave.
San Francisco, CA

photo: Erin Feher

SF Botanical Garden

Enjoy this beautiful botanical garden for free in a number of ways: every day from 7:30-9 a.m.; all day on the second Tuesday of every month; plus, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Years Day.

9th Ave. & Lincoln Way, Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA

photo: Kate Loweth


The Exploratorium offers five pay-what-you-wish community days throughout the year. The next community day is Pi Day, or March 14, 2018. See the rest of the community days here.

Pier 15
Embarcadero at Green Street
San Francisco, CA

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Children will get a kick out of this contemporary arts center. Free days are the first Tuesday of every month.

701 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA

photo: Asian Art Museum

Asian Art Museum

File this one for the whole family: free first Sunday of every month, including the family programs offered that day.

200 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA

UC Botanical Garden

Another beautiful botanical option, free the first Wednesday of every month.

200 Centennial Drive
Berkeley, CA
Phone: 510-643-2755

Will you be hitting up any free days? Tell us in the comments below! 

—Kate Loweth, Meghan Kalkstein, Melissa Bouse and Erin Feher

Featured image by Gayle Laird



A Guide to San Francisco’s Kid-Friendly Museums