Museums for Raising a Nature Lover
If you’re looking for ways to teach your child about furry critters, birds, marine life, natural sciences and the environment, the Bay Area offers plenty of options.
Lindsay Wildlife Museum – This environmental education center and wildlife rehabilitation hospital is home to more than 50 species of live, native animals. Activities include petting circles, feeding demonstrations and an up-close look at the emergency room. Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $8-10. 1931 First Ave., Walnut Creek. 925-935-1978.
Sulphur Creek Nature Center – Families can view the outdoor animal displays, explore the Discovery Center and enjoy a picnic in the serene park under the oaks. The center also offers great camps and education programs for kids. Daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. FREE. 1801 D St., Hayward. 510-881-6747.
WildCare – Enjoy amazing animal encounters, live animal presentations and learn how this center helps injured animals. It also offers camps and education programs. Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. FREE. 76 Albert Park Lane, San Rafael. 415-456-7283.
The Marine Mammal Center – Since 1975, more than 16,000 marine animals have been rescued and treated at this facility. It offers tours, school programs and more. Daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m. FREE. Marin Headlands, 2000 Bunker Road, Fort Cronkhite. 415-289-7325.
CuriOdyssey – This center in Coyote Point Park combines hands-on experiments in physics, natural sciences and more with animals on display. Animals include river otters, bobcats, birds, reptiles and more. Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5p.m. $8.50-13.50. 1651 Coyote Point Drive, San Mateo. 650-342-7755.
California Academy of Sciences – This gem in Golden Gate Park is one of the largest science museums in the world. It features a planetarium, aquarium and natural history museum all under one living roof. Mon.-Sat. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (check website for holiday hours). $25.95-35.95, 3 and under FREE. 55 Music Concourse Drive. 415-379-8000.
Randall Museum – This is a combination nature museum, science museum and arts venue. It has a live animal exhibit displaying animals in their habitats, public art on display and drop-in art and science workshops. Open Thu.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. FREE. 199 Museum Way. 415-554-9600.
McClellan Ranch Environmental Education Center – Families can stop by this center every Sat. and Sun. for up-close experience with the resident animals and to check out the exhibits. It also offers nature classes and activities, summer family events, community gardens and hiking trails. Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. FREE. 22221 McClellan Road, Cupertino. 408-777-3149.
Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center – Enjoy 15 miles of multi-use trails, bird watching and a visitor center with fascinating facts about animals living in the area. Check website for hours. FREE. 2775 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto. 650-329-2506.
Teresa Mills-Faraudo is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent.