Bay Area Family Venues that are Reopening

"Big Picture: Natural World of Photography" is one of the newest exhibits at California Academy of Sciences which is reopening to the public Oct. 23.

Courtesy photo

Some family venues around the Bay Area are starting to reopen with social distancing restrictions. Before you go, check websites or call to see if there have been changes. If you know of other family-friendly locations in the Bay Area that are opening, please send an email to:

SFMOMA has reopened. To commerorate its reopening, the art museum is offering Free Community Days through Oct. 18. This includes free admission and parking at the museum garage. Daily attendance is limited to 25% capacity. Social distancing is required and all visitors ages 3 and up must wear a mask. Entry will be through timed tickets and visitors are encouraged to reserve them online. Tickets will be available on site, but availability is not guaranteed. For more information, click here.


Asian Art Museum is reopening to the general public Oct. 3 and offering a member preview Oct. 1-2. Admission is free through Oct. 12 but you must reserve a ticket online. The museum has new safety measures in place including frequent cleaning of high-touch areas, plexi-glass shields at the admission desks, hand sanitizing stations and reduced capacity to enable physical distancing. Visitors must wear a mask. Some new exhibits include "Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightment" and "Lost at Sea: Art Recovered From Shipwrecks." To reserve a ticket, click here. For more information, click here.


California Academy of Sciences is reopening to its donors and members on Oct. 13 and the public on Oct. 23. It will reopen at 25 percent capacity to reduce crowding and promote physical distancing. Beginning Oct. 5 members and donors can make reservations to visit and the general public can make reservations and purchase tickets starting Oct. 14. Walk-up sales will not be available. All visitors will be required to wear a mask. Some new exhibits include "Big Picture: Natural World of Photography" and "Venom." For more information and tickets, click here.


Children's Fairyland is reopening on Oct. 3 at reduced capacity with physical distancing and new rules. Puppet shows, live performances, storytimes and rides will not be available during this time, but there will be other activities. Tickets are available at a temporarily reduced price of $8. For more information about rules and reserving a spot click here.


The de Young Museum is scheduled to reopen on Sept. 25. Safety measures included increased cleaning, sanitizing stations and Plexiglass shields at ticket and membership desks. There will also be signs for visitors to help with physical distancing, timed ticketing, reduced capacity and all visitors will be required to wear a face mask. For more information or tickets, click here.


Winchester Mystery House reopened its indoor tours at 25 percent capacity. It now has a touchless, self-guided mansion tour that allows guests to independently navigate the home and expansive estate. Tour Hosts will be positioned throughout the estate to assist guests as-needed, but the experience will be entirely self-guided with educational and engaging audio and signage. Additional safety measures include mandatory masks for all guests and employees, timed ticketing, a one-way linear tour path, and sanitization stations throughout the estate. There's also a self-guided garden tour. For more information or tickets, click here.


Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco reopened on Sept. 21. Visitors must reserve a time slot on the website. Hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Visitors must wear a mask and practice social distancing. Some exhibits are temporarily closed. For more information click here.


Alcatraz Island reopened on Aug. 17. However, the interior of facilities will remain closed due to COVID-19. Ferries, operated under contract by Alcatraz Cruises, will operate with a reduced capacity to support visitor and staff safety and proper social distancing. Visitors have access to the exterior of Cell House, Building 64, Warden's House, Water Tower, Officer's Club and Model Industries Building. They can also visit outdoor areas of the island, including historic Eagle Plaza, Recreation Yard, Sally Port and Rose Garden along the East, West and North Road. Visitors must practice social distancing and wear a face covering when social distancing is not possible. For more information, click here.


Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk will offer drive-in movies Aug. 21-Sept. 26 every Friday and Saturday. The movies, which will be shown at the River Parking Lot, include Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Guardians of the Galaxy, Aladdin (2019), The Goonies, 50 First Dates and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It cost $25 per car. Online sales will be coming soon. Guests must stay in their vehicles unless they are using the restroom and masks must be worn when you are outside of your vehicle. For more information, click here.


Bay Area Discovery Museum reopened its outdoor spaces at reduced capacity on Aug. 8. Its initial reopening was for members only with a public reopening date still to be determined. The museum is implementing a timed ticketing system for admission so that staff can monitor site capacity thoughout the day. All visitors are encouraged to reserve their ticket online in advance. Member tickets will be reserved free of charge. Exhibits that are open include Lookout Cove and the fishing boat Faith. There's also new programs like "Mystery Items," which sends families on scavenger hunts throughout the museum, and "Family Building Challenge" which brings to life the most popular elements of BADM's programs -- creativity, collaboration and design thinking. For more information, click here.


History San Jose plans to begin historical walking tours of History Park every Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. A museum guide will lead a group of visitors through History Park discussing the historical and architectural background of each building. Tours will be limited to 10 people and will last one hour. Masks are required and social distancing will be enforced. Tickets are $12 for ages 16 and up, $6 for ages 6-15, and free for ages 5 and under. Tours are by reservation only and tickets may be purchased on Eventbrite. You must either bring your confirmation or show your confirmation on your phone.


Oakland Zoo is reopening on July 29 to the general public, with donor and member special preview days on July 27 and 28. Tickets will be available for sale starting July 26. Since the closure on March 17, there are many new residents for visitors to see including Kijiji the giraffe, Aluna, a newborn Hamadryas baboon, and seven newborn American buffalo calves. Guests can enjoy a majority of the zoo with specific areas closed for health and safety precautions. The zoo will be limiting the number of guests at any given time through a new online reservation-based ticketing system for all visitors. There will also be limited dining and shopping opportunities, frequent cleaning and sanitization of high-touch areas, sanitizing stations throughout the zoo, face covering requirement for guests 3 and up, and social distancing. With admissions now limited to one-third of normal capacity, revenue will fall short of meeting the zoo's normal operating costs. In order to help offset the budget needs, it is planning a live virtual fundraiser/reopening celebration, "LollapaZOOla" stream on the zoo's website on July 25 at 7 p.m. It will involve silent and live auctions, musical guests and more. For more information, click here.


The San Francisco Zoo reopens to the public on Wed., July 15, following two members-only days. All guests, including members, must reserve a date and time online, and parking must also be purchased in advance. Reservations are limited, and social distancing and masks (for anyone over 2) are required. Outdoor areas are open and visitors must follow one-way "pathways." Food is available for takeout with outdoor seating. The zoo is also not accepting cash. Find more details here.


Angel Island State Park is now open. Visitors can enjoy trails, tram tours and to go meals from the cafe. The boat docks and vessel mooring area is open as well as restrooms. The Angel Island Tiburon Ferry is providing transportation to the island. All buildings, Immigration Station tours and camping are closed. For more information, go here.


The Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa is temporarily closed due to coronavirus restrictions. When it can reopen again, visitors can view  exhbits including "Lucy! Fussbudget to Feminist" (through March 7, 2021) and "Greetings, Charlie Brown! The Peanuts-Hallmark Connection" (through September 27). A new exhibition, "Girl Power in Peanuts," opens at the end of the month (July 29–December 7). Face coverings and social distancing will be required. For more information on the museum and its new safety policies, visit its website.


Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo will reopen to members on July 2 and the general public July 4. However, rides will remain closed until a later date. Visitors can view the animals in the Marine World Experience. Guests must wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash and sanitize often and cover their mouth when coughing. More information is available here.


Muir Woods National Monument has reopened. While the visitor center remains closed, the restrooms, cafe, trails and gift shop are open. Reservations are required. Park hours are 9 a.m. to 6 pm. More information and reservations are available here.


CuriOdyssey Science Playground & Zoo in San Mateo reopened outdoor areas to the public on July 1. Advance online reservations are required for both members and non-members for entry Wednesdays through Sundays at 10 a.m. and 12, 2 and 4 p.m. Admission includes the zoo and a new outdoor exhibit called "Illusions" on optical illusions and visual perception. Admission will be limited to 100 guests per session, and everyone age 5 and over is expected to wear a face mask and remain at least six feet from other guests. More informarion and tickets are available here


Golden Gate Park 150 Years Welcome Center & Shop is now open on John F. Kennedy Drive in the park. The new pop-up center features Golden Gate Park 150th anniversary merchandise as well as items from local artists. When coronavirus restrictions loosen up, the center will include park guides who will provide visitors with information about the park. It's open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. weather permitting. It's located across from Conservatory of Flowers. For more information, click here.


The San Francisco Ferry Building is now open with expanded outdoor dining at its restaurants, a rotating line-up of live acoustic musicians, merchants and the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. There are enhanced cleaning procedures, more hand sanitizing stations and face coverings are required. For more information, click here.


Safari West in Santa Rosa reopened June 20. The 400-acre wild animal park has safety measures in place to protect visitors such as plastic or plexiglass dividers where appropriate, additional cleaning practices and social distancing. Visitiors are asked to bring a face mask and not go to the park if they are feeling sick. For more information, click here.


Pier 39 in San Francisco is now open. Enjoy the fresh air, amazing views, seafood served al fresco and the sea lions. Some retail shops will be open as well. Guests are asked to wear face coverings if they are ages 13 and up, wash hands frequently and practice social distancing. It's open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, click here.


San Francisco Botanical Garden is now open with certain restrictions. Visitors can enjoy more than 9,000 kinds of plants from across the globe at the botanical garden in Golden Gate Park. Face coverings are required for visitors and staff. The Helen Crocker Russel Library of Horticulture, Garden Bookshop, Plant Arbor and Children's Garden are still closed. Advanced ticket reservations are highly recommended to reduce wait times, monitor crowd size and ensure enough space for social distancing. It's open 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. For more information click here.


Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has opened its food concessions and retail locations daily 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Rides, arcades, mini-golf and attractions are still closed because of state and local shelter-in-place orders. Food and shopping locations that are open include Barbary Coast Restaurant, Marini's Candies, Carousel Cones, World Grill and Octopus' Garden. Coasters Grill & Patio at the Boardwalk Bowl will be open for daily restaurant service and select quick-serve options will be available on Aloha Terrace on Beach Street. Employees will receive regular COVID-19 screening including temperature checks. All visitors and employees will be required to wear face coverings. There will also be regular social distancing protocals, hand sanitizing stations, frequent sanitation of highly touced surfaces and cashless transactions only. The Free Friday Nigh Bands on the Beach concert series has been canceled for summer of 2020. For more information, click here.


Pop-up Drive-in Movies are showing at the Alameda County Fairgrounds throughout the summer. A classic feature will show each Friday and Saturday night, starting at dark, but not before 8:45 p.m. Guests will listen to the movie through their vehicle radio or on a portable FM radio. Admission is a $25 parking fee purchased online in advance or $30 on-site if the parking spaces are still available. The parking fee includes the movie and one free ticket to the 2021 Alameda County Fair. Masks must be worn if car windows are open and when walking to the restroom. To purchase tickets or for more information click here.


Filoli Garden is now open with reduced garden-only admissions. The garden is open with certain restrictions to maintain social distancing. The house remains closed until indoor spaces are allowed to reopen. Please see the details of the reopening in the newsletter, Filoli Features.


West Wind Drive-Ins in Concord and San Jose have reopened with restrictions. People must stay in their cars except to use the restroom. Those who do leave their car must wear a face mask, and cars need to be parked 10 feet away from other vehicles in the drive-in. For more details, go here.


Teresa Mills-Faraudo is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent.

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