There are children’s museums in many cities and towns across the United States but few can rival San Francisco’s Randall Museum for captivating, entertaining and educating young children. Located smack-dab in the middle of the city at 199 Museum Way in Corona Heights Park, this San Francisco museum may be a bit difficult to find but is well worth the effort to get here. The Museum was started by a remarkable woman named Josephine D Randall, who had an uncommonly strong sense of civic responsibility and a love of children.
After earning a Master’s in zoology from Stanford in 1910, she went on to organize one of the first Girl Scouts troops in the country five years later, as well as one of the country’s first Camp Fire Girl troops shortly thereafter. Creating a children’s museum had been a longtime goal for Ms. Randall. In 1937, her idea came to fruition and became one of the first museums in the U.S. designed specifically for children.
- No doubt, she would be immensely proud of what her facility has grown into today. Highlights of the museum’s exhibits include:
- Riding the Rails, a railroad exhibit where kids can imagine riding in a caboose, as well as a model railroad, where kids can guide a train through a model of San Francisco.
- Windswept, where kids can experience a hands-on physics lesson by influencing how wind wraps around obstacles.
- Living with a restless Earth, where kids can learn about earthquakes and other seismic events and how they affect San Francisco and the planet.
- Healthy Oceans, where kids learn about ocean creatures and how to preserve this most precious resource.
- Other fun, cool and interesting exhibits.
The Museum also features animal exhibits, science and art classes, summer camps, arts and crafts, science fairs, lectures, and many other events for children. Saturdays are a very good day for a visit, as there are drop-in art classes, interactive animal encounters and lots of other things to see and do. If you have kids 10 years old and younger, then the Randall Museum is a great resource for fun and education. Best of all, admission is by donation, so it is quite affordable! The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and is closed on Sundays and Mondays. It is within easy walking distance of several mass transit stations and stops, which is good, as parking is quite limited. For more information about the Museum, how to get there and special events that may be planned while you’re there, check out the official website at http://www.randallmuseum.org.