San Francisco is truly a family-friendly city, with loads of attractions for the younger set as well as families as a whole. The San Francisco Zoo is located near the beach, and home to hundreds of creatures including grizzly bears, giraffes, lions, and tarantulas. Feed a goat in the petting zoo, take a ride on the Little Puffer mini-steam train, and on the gorgeous carousel. http://www.sfzoo.com/. Head into Golden Gate Park to the Academy of Sciences, a dynamic, interactive natural science museum and aquarium, where you can “meet” Claude the albino alligator, ascend a rainforest, or take in a planetarium show. http://www.calacademy.org/.
Stick around the Park, with its several playgrounds, including Koret Children’s Center, as well as the Japanese Tea Garden, Conservatory of Flowers, and Arboretum. In 2013, the Exploratorium (http://www.exploratorium.edu), a science and art museum, moves closer to Pier 39 (http://www.pier39.com/)—another family fun attraction where sea lions loiter—into Pier 15.