(credit: waltdisney.org)

Museums offer terrific options for family-friendly locales that entertain kids and adults with educational, interactive and hands-on exhibits. The Bay Area is blessed with many museums with exhibits that keep young minds, and those young at heart, engaged in fun, learning activities. Here are five excellent museums around the Bay Area with family oriented exhibits.

Walt Disney Family Museum (credit: Randy Yagi)

Walt Disney Family Museum
104 Montgomery St.
The Presidio of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 345-6800

The Walt Disney Family Museum is a different Disney destination. The museum shines a light on the man who defined an important part of 20th Century America, advancing the art of animation and the scope of his impact on movies, art and culture. Located in a wonderful building in the Presidio, the Walt Disney Family Museum showcases a range of exhibits to entertain adults, teens and kids. There are the several Museum Galleries with a range of art centered on Disney, such as the Hollywood Gallery with its original artwork that includes the earliest Mickey Mouse drawings, and business correspondence between Walt and his brother and business partner Roy. Special exhibitions showcase various art, movie, photography and more that relate in some aspect with Walt Disney. The current exhibition Lights! Camera! Glamour! The Photography of George Hurrell runs through June 29.

Exploratorium, San Francisco (credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

Pier 15
698 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 528-4444

The Exploratorium may be the coolest hands-on science museum you ever frolic in, and is a terrific place for family day. There is always something going on at the Exploratorium, in fact, there is much more than you can possibly do in a day. There are indoor and outdoor exhibits to explore all kinds of science and natural phenomena, with many exhibit galleries. Head for the South Gallery where the Tinkering Studio is at the heart and visitors engage using tools and materials to explore the intersection of science, technology and art. The West, Central, and East Galleries bring plenty of interactive activities right to little hands and bigger ones too for fun and educational exploring.

The Tech Museum of Innovation (credit: Randy Yagi)

Tech Museum Of Innovation
201 S. Market St.
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 294-8324

The Tech Museum of Innovation, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, is a hands-on technology and science museum with something for all ages, especially kids. With many learning programs children and families will enjoy, plus an awesome IMAX dome theater and workshops, the museum offers a virtual non-stop technology and science emporium. Explore the museum’s newest exhibition, Body Metrics and try on some cool technology that goes beyond anything you could imagine. Body Metrics gives visitors a peek into their physical and emotional metrics to make small, yet significant changes to their overall well-being. With so much to explore, design, build and be challenged by, the Tech Museum is the place for family-friendly fun learning activities.

(credit: CBS)

California Academy Of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Dr.
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 379-8000

California Academy of Sciences is an amazing science museum that can’t be beat. Its exhibits, planetarium shows, aquarium, and hands-on activities, exploring the amazing world of earth, sea and solar science is more than perfect for a family centered day. The museum has fun learning opportunities, including tours, for all ages and interests, and is simply a breathtaking place. One incredible exhibit is Steinhart Aquarium, one of the most biodiverse and interactive aquariums on earth, where you can get up close and personal with some of the more than 40,000 live animals that live there. Stroll over to the Naturalist Center for hands-on introductions to real specimens, interactive games and loads of books and films that welcome the curious. Check the website calendar for the full range of permanent and special exhibits and events throughout the year.

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum (credit: Getty Images)

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
1660 Park Ave.
San Jose, CA 95191
(408) 947-3635

Architecturally inspired by the Temple of Amon at Kamak, San Jose’s Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum offers a rare museum experience into a gilded world that can only be described as mesmerizing. Learning is awesome here as the Rosicrucian is an educational institution with a trans-disciplinary approach to insight about the past, present and future. The museum, located in Rosicrucian Park, is a unique masterpiece inspired by Egyptian and Moorish architecture that houses the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts on exhibit in western North America. Gallery exhibits include ancient Egyptian Burial Practices, Afterlife and Mummies, Gods and Religion, Kings and Pharaohs, Daily Life, Trade and Neighbors.

Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art, culture and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.