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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose will reopen Bill’s Backyard, the outdoor educational space, to the public on Friday, March 5. After successfully operating Bill’s Backyard for eight weeks last fall, the museum will first offer two members-only weekends on Friday, February 19 through Sunday, February 21 and then again on Friday, February 26 through Sunday, February 28. The museum will continue to offer a three-day a week schedule every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with two play sessions per day. This reopening is in accordance with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department guidelines. Reservations are required for the two play sessions per day: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 – 4 p.m., with an hour cleaning break between sessions. Space and exhibit modifications have been made and signage in English, Spanish and Vietnamese has been installed to make social distancing easier. The museum’s already robust cleaning and disinfecting procedures have been stepped up to include CDC and EPA-recommended products and an hour-long cleaning and disinfecting break between morning and afternoon sessions. Admission is only $2 per person (regular ticket price is $15) with the presentation of an electronic benefit card or other specific documentation. For details, visit the website.
GLOWFARI, a new family-friendly experience featuring hundreds of larger-than-life animal lanterns throughout Oakland Zoo, has been extended through March 13. Visitors will be able to take a mile-long socially distanced stroll through these illuminated and dazzling lanterns - from the ice-capped 15-foot tall penguin corridor to the breathtaking full-size elephants, giraffes, and lions - to the enormous, fluttering butterflies floating against the star-filled night sky. They will also be able to ride the gondolas to visit California Trail where there will be prehistoric rock stars like the T-rex, stegosaurus, pterodactyls and more. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 children and seniors and there's a 10% discount for members. For more information and to reserve tickets click here.
SkyStar Wheel is a new 150 foot observation wheel in Golden Gate Park featuring 36 fully-enclosed gondolas with amazing views of San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean. The arrival of SkyStar Wheel is part of Golden Gate Park's 150th birthday celebration. Tickets are $18 general admission and $12 for children and seniors. It's open daily. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
California Academy of Sciences is now open. Reunite with nearly 40,000 animal favorites, explore two new exhibits, and stoke your curiosity safely with plenty of room to roam. Advanced reservations are required and visitors must follow COVID-19 health restrictions. For more information and to reserve tickets, click here. TEMPORARILY CLOSED
SFMOMA is open with limited capacity. Visitors must receive a timed ticket, wear a mask and follow all COVID-19 restrictions. For more information and to reserve a ticket, click here. TEMPORARILY CLOSED
Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39 is open. Tickets must be purchased in advance. For more information and to reserve tickets, click here. TEMPORARILY CLOSED
Oakland Zoo reopened. 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 is limiting the number of guests at any given time through a new online reservation-based ticketing system for all visitors. There is also 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. For more information, click here.
Winchester Mystery House is now open. Both the indoor and outdoor tours are available to visitors. For more information or to purchase tickets, go here. INDOOR TOURS TEMPORARILY CLOSED
The San Francisco Zoo has reopened. 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 scheduled to reopen on July 8, under new leadership, with 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. TEMPORARILY CLOSED
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo has reopened. 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.
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.