We have insider tips to help you enjoy the museum!
Fort Baker, 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito, CA 94965
The Bay Area Discovery Museum Sausalito
This Sausalito children’s museum is one of the most popular spots for kids in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Bay Area Discovery Museum is a young child’s paradise, designed for experiential learning and play for children from the ages of 6 months through 8 years, along with their families, educators and caregivers. There are both permanent exhibits and a rotating series of special programs at the indoor-outdoor facility located at the old Fort Baker at the southern edge of Sausalito. They also have a Beansprouts Cafe on site, and you can check here for its current hours.
A Rainy Day Spot to Visit with Young Children! Although there are open spaces between the various buildings (and you’ll get rained on in between each activity area) there are a lot of dry spaces to hang out and experience lots of interactive activities for little kids.
Safety & Supervision rules: Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Adults must be accompanied by one or more kids. (For academic visitors or journalists traveling alone, please contact the museum in advance to arrange your visit.) All visiting groups must at all times maintain a minimum ratio of one adult for every five kids at all times.
Insiders Tip: Although these guidelines are enforced, museum staff cannot be everywhere at once. You will sometimes encounter rough play by older kids where they are inside a room and a parent is outside talking with friends (I mention the most common trouble spot below), or where a parent is distracted and one or more children act out. This is not super-common, and when I see this I’ll usually steer our kids elsewhere until things settle back down.
Note: Because it’s on the edge of San Francisco Bay some people are confused and think the “Bay Area Discovery Museum San Francisco” is its correct name, but it’s located north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito’s 94965 zip code.
Hours — Summer 2022
- Wednesday through Sunday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
- Closed Monday-Tuesday
- Member Hour: 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM each day the museum is open
The Museum is closed on Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day and the last two weeks of September.
Tickets now need to be reserved in advance, including member tickets.
For EBT Cardholders — $1 per family member of the same household visiting the museum
Babies aged 6-11 months — $15
Children (ages 1 – 17) — $18
Adults ages 18-64 — $18
Seniors 65 and older — $16
Active Military Discount: One adult and one child are admitted free for each adult with their active military ID.
Insiders Tip: Many public libraries around the Bay Area have Bay Area Discovery Museum membership cards. You can check out these cards and then use them for free admission to the museum.
The Bay Area Discovery Museum has an “open door” policy. If you have restricted financial resources, contact the museum at least 4 fays before your visit to arrange for “pay what you can” admission ticket(s).
Free Admission Days: There are free admission days the first Wednesday of odd-numbered months where you can explore the Museum and see if you’d like to join. (It used to be even-numbered months but changed during the pandemic closures; we advise double checking this with the museum if you’re planning a long trip for a free day, and note the requirement to be a local visitor listed below.)
But there are some catches. These days…
- Are only open to residents of the 9 Bay Area counties, not visitors from outside the region — you’ll have to show your ID to prove residency
- Produce volumes of cars that overflow the parking lot during busy parts of the day
- Are for the moment less crowded due to the pandemic, and for now you need to make a reservation to attend. Reservations go fast, and the window for free day reservations opens 2 weeks before the date of each free admission day.
Discounts (usually $1 off each ticket) are given for members presenting cards for:
- The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM; 50% off)
- The Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC)
- KQED public television station
- UC Alumni Association
Some of our Favorite Places with the Kids
The real-water elevated stream with the toy fish to play with in the Tot Spot area, with the optional overalls to (somewhat) keep from getting (too) wet.
Chalk and things to write on are scattered at different places on different days
The giant foam pad pieces for building things (uphill, past the Tot Spot)
The room full of toy trains and a full size fishing boat with toy fish. (Note: If this room gets too crowded with older kids — which happens only occasionally — the stairway area is best to avoid, since some older kids whose parents are not in the room will run full speed up and down the stairs. When this happens, you can always wander elsewhere and then come back when this room has calmed down.)
The vibraphones and drums to play in the main open area.
The bubble machines!
Note: We are former members of the Bay Area Discovery Museum, but have no current business connections with them.
Parking and Facilities
The Bay Area Discovery Museum Sausalito has free parking, and is a short Uber, Lyft or taxi ride from the Sausalito Ferry pier. The museum staff are happy to call a return taxi for you from the front desk if you ask them to do so.
The only nearby family restaurants open during the daylight hours are the gourmet-focused Murray Circle and its informal companion Farley Bar, both of which serve excellent but expensive food. The diverse restaurants of downtown Sausalito are about a mile away (a lovely walk if kids are old enough, but much too far for the little ones) or a short drive by car.