We’ve got our sights set on all the amazing family-friendly things that are happening in 2020 in the Bay Area and the list is epic. From new water parks to our first LEGOLAND Discovery Center, there’s going to be so much happening on the kid scene this year. Gear up and scroll through to plan out your year!

photo: Skystar

Golden Gate Park Celebrates 150 Years with Addition of 150-Foot Observation Wheel

2020 marks the 150th anniversary of Golden Gate Park, a historic place that has never been more beautiful or beloved. On Saturday, April 4, Golden Gate Park’s actual birthday, a large Community Day celebration is planned with the opening of the 150-foot observation wheel kicking it off. The observation wheel will operate through March 1, 2021. It is planned for Golden Gate Park’s Music Concourse, the outdoor plaza near the de Young Museum, the California Academy of Sciences and the Japanese Tea Garden. The wheel will feature 36 fully enclosed, climate-controlled gondolas that each seat six passengers.

More info: goldengatepark150.com

photo: California's Great America

California's Great America to Open South Bay Shores Waterpark

Northern California’s premier amusement park is getting bigger and better in summer 2020, when California’s Great America debuts South Bay Shores Waterpark. Great America's popular Boomerang Bay is being transformed into a new waterpark experience featuring seven completely new water attractions, new and upgraded food and merchandise locations, premium cabanas and a sandy beach play area—all richly themed to reflect the excitement and fun of the Northern California coast and South Bay regions.

More info: cagreatamerica.com

photo: LEGOLAND Discovery Center

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Opens First Bay Area Location

Dubbed the ultimate indoor playground for families with children ages 3–10, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Bay Area will offer a fun, highly interactive and educational experience with a range of exciting LEGO play areas. These will include a brick pool, master classes in the Creative Workshop from the LEGO Master Model Builder, an Imagination Express train ride, an earthquake table, a 4D cinema, special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations, a café, a LEGO retail shop and, of course, the popular MINILAND area—featuring models of local iconic landmarks—found in every LEGOLAND® Discovery Center. 

More info: bayarea.legolanddiscoverycenter.com

photo: iStock

Jack London Square to Open New Food Hall

Summer will bring the opening of Oakland Assembly, the 35,000-square foot food hall in Jack London Square. We are psyched to hear about all the food stands that will offer a variety of eats from chicken shawarma to ramen. The two-story spot will have 20-25 food stands once it opens. 

Read more: sfgate.com

photo: SF Rec Park

More SF Playgrounds to be Renovated in 2020

We saw the opening of the renovated Pahnhandle Playground in 2019 and there are even more playground expansions on the horizon for 2020. McLaren Group Picnic Area and Playground is on track to open in the spring and a number of others are in the works with a total of 13 playgrounds included in this massive project. 

Read more: sfrecpark.org

photo: Peek-a-boo Factory

Peek-a-Boo Factory Returns to SF!

San Francisco parents, rejoice! Peek-a-Boo Factory has returned to the city and their expanded play space is amazing. The new three-level play structure features a variety of slides, obstacle courses, tunnels, bridges, swings, a zip line, sea saw, sit and spins, trampoline and more. You’ll love the Ninja Fitness course that will sure keep your inner Ninja warriors entertained.

Read more: peekaboofactory.com

photo: Magical Bridge

Magical Bridge Playgrounds are in the Works All Over the Bay Area

If you've been to the Magical Bridge Playground in Palo Alto, you know what an amazing play area it is. Designed to address the needs of all children, this all-abilities playground was the first of its kind in the Bay Area. There are a number of other cities looking to welcome Magical Bridge playgrounds in the next few years with Redwood City's Red Morton Park expected to open this spring. We can't wait to see all the kids playing there!

Read more: magicalbridge.org

photo: Matthew Murphy

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is Here Through July

Harry Potter fans will be thrilled to learn that the Curran Theater will be home to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child performances through July 2020. San Francisco and New York are the only destinations in the United States where fans can see the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the most awarded play in theater history. Get dressed up in your house colors and nab your tickets for this other-worldly show!

Read more: redtri.com

It's about to Get Venomous at the California Academy of Sciences

Venom: Fangs, Stingers, and Spines
A new aquarium exhibit opening March 27, 2020
Venom is one of nature’s most powerful tools—packing both the power to paralyze and the promising potential to heal. In this new aquarium exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences, get up close (from a safe distance!) with an eye-catching array of venomous species, including live spiders, scorpions, jellyfish, snakes, and more. Discover how these often-feared yet biologically important animals sting, suck, bite, and stun while using venom to capture prey and provide deadly defense against predators. Plus, learn how scientists are studying venom to harness compounds that could hold the key to curing human diseases. Then, head outside to see exciting, larger-than-life animatronic models of scorpions, spiders, ants, and bees move and come to life in the Academy’s East Garden—and explore the surprising differences between venom and poison in the natural world. Through Memorial Day, visitors of all ages can enjoy arts and crafts, check out a live bee colony, and meet some of the Academy’s friendly ambassador animals up close.

photo: Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil (ON ICE!) Comes to San Jose

Cirque du Soleil's new on-ice spectacle, AXEL, will spin San Francisco Bay Area audiences into a vibrant world where acrobatics and skating intertwine to create a unique, one-of-a-kind epic fantasy. Join Axel and his band as they take on a new journey inspired by music and graphic arts. This new production features spectacular skating, breathtaking acrobatics on ice, astonishing visual effects and an upbeat original soundtrack. AXEL will be skating into San Jose’s SAP Center from March 24–28, 2020 for eight performances only.

Read more: cirquedusoleil.com

—Kate Loweth

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