The Bay Area Discovery Museum is a 7.5-acre indoor and outdoor facility for children located within a national park at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. Since 1991, it has been encouraging boys and girls from six months to eight years old to develop their curiosity, creativity, sense of adventure, and interest in lifelong learning.
The museum was conceived in 1987 when local families proposed the creation of a discovery center for children out of a number of abandoned Army buildings in historic Fort Baker. They completed the conversion four years later. By 1992, their efforts had earned the fledgling facility the National Historic Preservation Award from the President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
In 2003, the community conducted a major capital campaign and expanded the property to create outdoor facilities, a new entry building, and a theater. Soon, national grants and partnerships joined in, helping to develop what the media has recognized as one of the best children's museums in the country.
Now, some 300,000 visitors come to the Bay Area Discovery Museum annually to enjoy interactive art, science and environmental exhibitions, as well as regularly scheduled performances, special events, cultural festivals, and ongoing outreach programs. The views are panoramic, the campus is immaculate, and the activities are exactly as they should be - fun as well as educational.
Among the Bay Area Discovery Museum's permanent exhibits are several aimed at nurturing the creative thinkers and innovators of the future. They include: "Filling the Void: The Creative Imperative'' to release creative instincts; a "Wave Workshop'' for exploring the environment beneath the Golden Gate Bridge; and "Art Studios'' for experimentation with visual arts media.
The "Outdoor Tot Spot'' focuses on animal habitats, while the "Indoor Tot Spot'' allows crawlers, early walkers, and toddlers to use their senses in a variety of habitats. There is also a 2.5-acre outdoor, interactive exploration area called "Lookout Cove,'' along with a 180-seat indoor, performing arts space called "Discovery Theatre.''
The museum's Discovery Store sells a large selection of fun, educational, and interactive toys for children whose ages range from three months to ten years old. Gift items are popular in a number of product categories, including arts and crafts, music, science, nature, and baby items. Museum members receive a 15% discount on all purchases. Retail hours are from 11am to 4pm on Tuesdays, 10am to 4pm on Wednesday through Friday, and 10am to 5pm on weekends.
The museum itself is open every Tuesday through Friday from 9am to 4pm and on weekends from 10am to 5pm. The cost of general admission is $10 per adult and $8 per child. Museum members and children under one year of age are admitted free of charge. The museum also offers free admission to everyone on the first Wednesday of each month between 9am and 4pm.
The Bay Area Discovery Museum is located at Fort Baker in Marin County. The address is 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito, California 94965. No public transportation is available. By car from San Francisco and the South Bay, follow Highway 101 across the Golden Gate Bridge. Get off at the Alexander Avenue Exit past Vista Point. From there, follow the signs to Fort Baker and the museum. Free parking is available at lots on site.
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