Family & Pets

Best Spots for Summer Playdates In San Francisco

July 20, 2012 6:00 AM

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(photo credit: Thinkstock)

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

Playdates can be one of the best ways for families to stay connected, unwind and network all summer long. These San Francisco locations are perfect for a playdate, from parks where the kids play until they are exhausted to drop-off spots that allow play time while parents snag some free time. All of them, however, promise perfect playdates for any group of cooped-up mommas.

park1 Best Spots for Summer Playdates In San Francisco

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

24th and York Mini Park
Bryant Street at 24th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 826-4200

Price: free

Recently renovated, this mini park is ideal for smaller playdates. With two swings, a merry-go-round and lots of murals to entertain and sculptures to climb on, this colorful area will keep any child’s imagination running wild. This art park offers benches and picnic tables that make sharing a snack or lunch with friends a breeze. Around here, there’s no better way to cool off on a hot summer day than with a spray of water from a huge serpent’s tail. Teeter-totters and spinning cups polish off the excitement at this awesome area park.

yerba buena gardens Best Spots for Summer Playdates In San Francisco

(photo credit: yerbabuenagardens.com)

Yerba Buena Gardens
Third and Fourth streets, at Mission and Folsom
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 820-3550
yerbabuenagardens.com

Price: free/$3 for two carousel rides

With more than 130,000 square feet of outdoor space, the Rooftop at Yerba Buena Gardens is one of the best places for a playdate. With the Zeum, the children’s carousel, a play circle and a child-sized hedge labyrinth, parents and caregivers may never find a better spot to spend a warm summer day. The Play Circle features a 25-foot tube slide, a sand circle and a working xylophone. Interactive streams and fountains at this location make water play not only fun, but educational, and the ice-skating rink is perfect for physical play. A visit to the Cho-En Butterfly Garden is a quiet way to spend part of the day, and there are plenty of small cafés just waiting to serve visitors lunch or an afternoon snack. Eight granite game boards are nearby for chess or checkers; just remember to bring your own game pieces.

Related: Bay Area’s 10 Must-See Museums for Kids

madison 5 kailey 5 Best Spots for Summer Playdates In San Francisco

(photo credit: childrensartcenter.org)

San Francisco Children’s Art Center
Fort Mason Center, Building C
Marina Boulevard at Buchanan Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 771-0292
childrensartcenter.org

Click here for classes and pricing

A plethora of possibilities for playdates exist at the San Francisco Children’s non-profit studio art center. Take advantage of the Friday night date drop-off classes to expose children to exciting artistic choices while spending a couple of hours at dinner or a movie. Summer art camps are also available, whether on a scheduled basis or as a drop-in possibility. Classes are provided for children aged 22 months to 10 years.

shark Best Spots for Summer Playdates In San Francisco

(photo credit: aquariumofthebay.org)

Aquarium of the Bay
Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf
The Embarcadero at Beach Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 623-5300
aquariumofthebay.org

Price: $16.95 adults/$10 children ages 3 to 11/$10 seniors 65 and older/free children 3 and younger

Get together with friends to spend time learning how a starfish eats at the daily tide pool feedings, or find out why coral reefs don’t exist in San Francisco Bay. Visitors may discover the bay, touch animals and plants in the tide pools, and even take a stroll beneath the bay. Daily presentations and programs offer something different each day of the week, and parents and kids may even take in a magic show on Saturdays.

Related: Plan a Staycation to Remember

randalls museum Best Spots for Summer Playdates In San Francisco

(photo credit: randallmuseum.org)

Randall Museum
199 Museum Way
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 554-9600
randallmuseum.org

Price: free

With both permanent animal exhibits and changing science and art exhibits, the Randall Museum is an opportunity to learn more about the natural world of northern California. Classes and camps are available for all ages that introduce parents and children to woodworking, clay making and technology. The museum offers drop-in classes on Saturdays during which kids and parents may work with ceramics, science and art. There is a small participation fee for materials, and prices vary, but range from $4 to $10 typically. Saturdays are also when visitors may meet the animals that call the Randall their home and explore the Train Room’s extensive model train collection.

Cindi Rose loves reading aloud to children, especially her granddaughter. She believes if you give a child a love of reading and a library card, they can accomplish anything. See her work here.

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