The de Young Art Museum in San Francisco
The de Young Museum exhibits a combination of modern and ancient art from around the world. It is located in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco across from the California Academy of Science.
They are closed on Mondays, but admission is free on the first Tuesday of every month. Kids under 12 are always free. Active military and their families receive free admission from Memorial Day through Labor day. If there is a special exhibit with an additional fee, the free admissions do not include the special exhibit.
The day we visited the de Young Art Museum we spent a couple of hours there at best. While I might have enjoyed a more leisurely stroll through the exhibits, children have a different time table. Some areas sparked their interest and they looked at everything in the room, other areas seemed to overwhelm them and they moved more quickly through.
One tip we got before going did really seem to help engage the kids and keep them a little more focused than I’m sure they would have been otherwise. We went to the gift store first and each child picked out two postcards that featured art pieces in the museum. Then, one of their tasks as we walked around was to try to find the pieces on their postcards. It really did get them more invested in the tour.
Also, I noticed again what I observed when we visited the Legion of Honor several years ago – the time periods or places that we had studied ahead of our visit were much more interesting to the kids than new things. The de Young website can help out with that. A tab at the top labeled ‘Education’ has resources to prepare for a visit.
One of the hits of the trip for my kids was the observation tower that offers a spectacular view. It’s worth the elevator ride up. A warning to those with fear of heights, the windows up there are floor to ceiling. It adds to the beauty of the view, but I couldn't make myself stand too near the edge, even knowing there was glass there to protect me.
Generally, the older the kids, the more they will likely appreciate the art, but there is such a variety, even younger children will find something interesting at the de Young Museum. With kids getting free admission, and free days offered monthly, it is worth the time to visit.