With kids being home and parents getting creative in finding things to do during this COVID year, options are running low. Now that museums are starting to open up, it’s a great time to visit safely. With the holidays not far away, what better gift than a membership to our beloved Bay Area museums that have been hit hard this year? From all things air transportation to Charlie Brown fans, treat your child (and yourself), with a gift that not only teaches but is fun for the whole family. Parents rejoice!

San Francisco

photo: The Exploratorium

Exploratorium

The Membership: Two family memberships are available for purchase. The Family Explorers Membership includes unlimited daytime admission for up to two adults and accompanying guests, plus up to four children for $149. For those that want grandparents to be able to visit with the kiddos anytime, check out the Family Explorers with Caregiver Card. It adds unlimited daytime admission for one adult, and grandparents can visit anytime with kids for $199.
Compare That To: Admission is $29.95/adult; $24.95/youth (13-17); $19.95/youth (4-12); free for children under three. After Dark tickets are also $19.95/non-members. 
The Biggest Perks: 10% discount at the store, exclusive invitations to members-only events and exhibitions, discounted tickets to Tactile Dome and After Dark, and discounted guest tickets for daytime admission. Membership is also 100% fully tax-deductible. 

Note that the museum is currently closed and will open at a future date.

Pier 15 (Embarcadero at Green St.)
San Francisco, CA 
Online: exploratorium.edu

Walt Disney Family Museum

The Membership: Family Membership includes admission for four members plus one additional guest per visit with eight film vouchers that can be redeemed for tickets to their monthly film screenings for $245. 
Compare That To: Daily admission is $25/adult; $15/youth (6-17); free for children under five.
The Biggest Perks: All the benefits of the Dual and Individual Membership including participation in NARM and ROAM (giving access to hundreds of museums across the country), one-time-use VIP tickets to guests, discounts for additional tickets, invitations to members-only events and a 10% discount to the store. It’s also tax-deductible! 

104 Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA 
Online: waltdisney.org

photo: Kate Loweth

SFMOMA

The Membership: Great for visiting with family and friends, the Dual Membership includes admission for one member and up to three guests for a total of four adults per visit for $180. 
Compare The To: Daily admission is $25/adult; $19/youth (19-24); free for guests 18 & under. 
Biggest Perks: Up to 16 free tickets for each surcharged special exhibition, members-only preview days and parties, 10% off museum store purchases (20% off member sale days), 10% off gift memberships, discounted tickets to films, lectures, and education programs and 25% off parking in the SFMOMA garage. 

151 Third St.
San Francisco, CA 
Online: sfmoma.org

photo: Kathryn Whitney © 2018 California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences

The Membership: Family Membership includes admission for two adults and children 17 & under for $269. For the best deal with grandparents, opt for the Family Plus which includes two adults, children 17 & under and one caregiver, plus free admission for two guests for $329. For those with a flexible schedule and OK with blackout dates, consider the Community Value Membership for $169 for two adults (parents or grandparents) and children 17 & under. It’s a great way to visit the museum and save money as well! 
Compare That To: Daily admission is $29.74/adult; $23.25/youth (13-17); free for children under two. 
Biggest Perks: Invitations to exclusive exhibit previews and member talks, members-only planetarium shows, animal feedings and hands-on programs, 20% off lectures, sleepovers, tours and NightLife, 10% off shopping, dining and birthday party rentals and express entry to the museum. Fully tax-deductible as well! 

Golden Gate Park
55 Music Concourse Dr.
San Francisco, CA 
Online: calacademy.org

photo: de Young Museum

deYoung Museum

The Membership: The Family Membership is fully tax-deductible and is good for two members and two guests (17 & up).  
Compare That To: Daily one-time admission is $15/adult; free for guests 17 & under. 
Biggest Perks: Invitation to Member Mornings on select Saturday mornings, admission to special exhibitions for six children up to age 17, discounts on Summer Camp and classes designed for families and children, 10% off at the museum stores (and 20% off during seasons members-only sale days), discounts on audio tours, programs and events. 

Golden Gate Park
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.
San Francisco, CA 
Online: deyoung.famsf.org

East Bay

Chabot Space and Science Center

The Membership: The Earth Family Membership includes two parents and all children in the household 18 & under for $99. The Earth Orbiter is also available and includes a grandparent for $150/year.
Compare That To: Admission is $18/adult; $14/youth (3-12); free for children under three.
Biggest Perks: Priority registration for summer camps, events and workshops (which are super popular), access to monthly members-only telescope viewing, discounts on Starry Nights Gift Shop and Town Kitchen Cafe and free or discounted admission to science centers and museums worldwide from the ASTC Passport program. 

Note that the museum is currently closed, but plans to re-open in June 2021.

1000 Skyline Blvd.
Oakland, CA 
Online: chabotspace.org

Habitot Children's Museum

The Membership: The Ambassador Family Membership is a great membership that’s easy on the wallet. It includes unlimited visits for up to four household family members (including caregivers) for $34. Note that there is a six-month minimum enrollment. 
Compare That To: Daily admission is $12/adult and children; free for babies 12 months & under. 
Biggest Perks: Half-price admission at over 200 children’s museums nationwide (including seven in the Bay Area), unlimited additional guests at just $10, 10% off birthday parties and Parent Night Out events and 20% discount at the store.

Note that the museum is currently closed and will open at a future date. 

2065 Kittredge St.
Berkeley, CA 
Online: habitot.org

Peninsula/South Bay

photo: Hiller

Hiller Aviation Museum

The Membership: The Family Membership is $90 and includes admission for two adults and up to four children 17 & under with discounts on Aviation Camp. A Pioneer Membership is also available and adds an additional card for another adult (up to three per visit) and two one-time guest passes for $125.
Compare That To: Currently open only on the weekends with a discounted fee of $14.40/adult (normally $18); $8.80/youth (normally $14); free for children four & under. 
Biggest Perks: Discounts on workshops and special programs, 10% discount at the shop (and 25% off on Special Member Days), 10% discount on birthday parties, invitation to members-only aviation parties, free Flight Sim Zone and Drone Plex access and discounts on FMX Flight Simulator. Families can also score a 10% discount on Aviation Camp enrollment. 

601 Skyway Rd.
San Carlos, CA 
Online: hiller.org

Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose

The Membership: Choose between a Family or Grandparent Membership for $175 which includes unlimited admission for two adults and children or grandchildren 18 & under. 
Compare That To: Currently the museum is only open to Bill’s Backyard and is $5/guest; free for infants. 
Biggest Perks: Members-only invitation to exclusive events and exhibition previews, discount at the FoodShed and two one-time-use guest passes. 

Currently, the museum is only allowing admission to Bill’s Backyard with plans to re-open the rest of the museum in phases. 

180 Woz Way
San Jose, CA 
Online: cdm.org

CuriOdyssey

The Membership: A Family Membership is $145 and includes admission for two adults and children (or grandchildren) 18 & under and free parking when visiting the museum. 
Compare That To: Daily admission is $15.95/adult; $12.95/child; free for babies 17 months & under.
Biggest Perks: Discounts for IlluminOdyssey Outdoors, free entrance to Coyote Point Recreation Area, discounted admission for family and friends, 10% discount at the shop, and for birthday parties, and free or discounted tickets to over 400 science and wildlife centers. Memberships are also fully tax-deductible!

1651 Coyote Point Dr.
San Mateo, CA 
Online: curiodyssey.org

North Bay

Bay Area Discovery Museum

The Membership: The Family Membership includes two adults and all children in the household, with a 20% discount for teachers and corporate employees. There is also a Grandparents Membership which includes all the same benefits as the Family Membership, with the addition of including all grandchildren a grandparent member wishes to cover. Membership does not include admission to the Goblin Jamboree. 
Compare That To: General admission is $16.95/adult; $16.95/kids (1-18); $14.95/babies (6-11 months) and seniors.
Biggest Perks: Exclusive member storytimes and meetups (hands-on STEM and art projects), admission to BADM festivals and special events, free or discounted tickets to over 500 children's museums and science centers worldwide, four guest passes, credit towards birthday parties and a 10% discount at the store and cafe. 

557 McReynolds Rd.
Sausalito, CA 
Online: bayareadiscoverymuseum.org

Charles M. Shultz Museum

The Membership: Includes admission for two adults and all children 18 & under, plus four guest passes for $75.
Compare That To: Admission is $12/adult; $5/youth (4-18); free for children under three. 
Biggest Perks: Invitation to members-only events, 20% discount on museum workshops, 10% off at the museum store, discount on ice skating at Snoopy’s Home Ice and admission to the Children's Museum of Sonoma County and the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. Plus NARM and ROAM privileges. 

Note that the museum is currently closed and will open at a future date.

2301 Hardies Lane
Santa Rosa, CA 
Online: schulzmuseum.org

—Sandra Lee

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