Best After-School Activities For Kids In San Francisco

September 21, 2012 11:00 AM

Finding fun activities for kids can be a breeze in San Francisco where there are youth programs citywide. Take advantage of living in nearly everyone’s favorite city and explore like a tourist with the kids. Check out the not-so-hidden gems of the vibrant neighborhoods the city offers. Trusted venues such as city libraries, recreation centers and museums offer planned activities for youth of all ages. Families can have fun learning together too at cool exhibitions created with kids in mind. Here are five local spots and community programs that aim to keep kids happy and safe after school.

San Francisco Recreation & Parks
McLaren Lodge-Golden Gate Park
501 Stanyan St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 831-6800

The San Francisco Recreation & Parks department offers its Afterschool Enrichment Program for grades K-5. These programs are for the entire school year and are available at 10 school sites around the city. Programs are in three- and four-hour segments, depending on the school, Monday through Friday. All school programs include homework assistance, sports, art, cultural activities and seasonal events. The entire staff receives background checks and are trained in safety skills. One school location has an ASL- bilingual program and welcomes deaf or hard-of-hearing youth. Register online. Cost for each school year program is $720.

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Bay Area Community Resources
San Francisco After School Programs
965 Mission St., Suite 520
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 271-8918

Bay Area Community Resources (BACR) has been offering after-school programs for over two decades. BACR works with 12 elementary and middle schools in San Francisco to offer quality programs. See if your children’s school participates and get them involved in the fun. Contact the project director for further information.
Afterschool Programs is an online resource acting as San Francisco’s Official Family Resource Guide. The site is chock full of user-friendly information for parents and guardians who need to access education, childcare and related facts. Open the “After School Guide” or read “What to look for in an After-School Program,” which are just two useful examples available on this informational site.

(Art by children at JCC / Credit: Melanie Graysmith)

(Art by children at JCC / Credit: Melanie Graysmith)

Jewish Community Center of San Francisco
3200 California St
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 292-1200

The Havurah Youth Center at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco is an outstanding licensed after-school program for elementary-school children. Children can enjoy a thematic program with a wide range of activities including swimming, performance and visual arts, music, rooftop planting, science fun and gym games. Regular hours are weekdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and transportation is available from many San Francisco public schools. While the program celebrates Jewish culture and holidays, families from all cultures and backgrounds are welcome. Call Alan Scher at (415) 292-1210 for fees and information.

California Academy of Sciences
Golden Gate Park
55 Music Concourse Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 379-8000

The California Academy of Sciences is a wonderful place for family outings after school. With both permanent and changing exhibits, planetarium shows and hands-on activities, exploring the world of earth, sea and solar science is perfect for a few hours of after-school enrichment. The museum offers fun learning opportunities for the entire family. A family membership is the best and most cost-effective way to take advantage of this outstanding museum. At $199 a year, a family membership allows unlimited free admission for two cardholders and all of your own children/grandchildren, 18 years of age and under, each time you visit. Also included are members-only hours, 10 percent savings on dining at the museum cafes plus 10-25 percent savings on shopping, lectures, tours and more. What a deal!

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Melanie Graysmith is a freelance writer and artist based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. Melanie is a member of an independent filmmaking group and aims to spin her stories into film. Her work can be found at

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