While museums, zoos, science centers, and other institutions are momentarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, children can still learn, explore, and go on much-awaited field trips. Thanks to the internet and other technologies, teachers and families can now walk through museums without fighting the crowds, visit favorite zoo animals and sea creatures through critter cams, or get ideas for at-home projects from science centers.
Whether your kids enjoy learning about art, creativity, and world cultures or nature, science, and technology, these virtual classes and field trips from in and around San Francisco and the Bay Area are worth experiencing from the comfort and safety of your own home.
Explore California through maps
- A map can be read like a story, a research study, or a painting. As objective and impartial as they may seem, cartographers or mapmakers make deliberate choices about what to include in maps. Currently on view at the Oakland Museum of California is “You are Here: California Stories on the Map,”> an exhibit that explores how maps can be used as powerful tools to share unique points of view and imagine a better future. Highlights of the exhibition can be viewed on their website
Learn why the rat came first
- Even though we are all physically distant, we can still discover stories from across Asia. The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco has videos and activities designed to showcase the diverse cultures of Asia. One of our favorites is the Chinese Lunar New Year tale explaining why the rat came first in the Chinese zodiac. Add some color to your children’s learning experience with printable coloring pages from the museum.
Travel inside extraordinary artworks
- If two dogs could jump inside a work of art, what would they say? As absurd as it sounds, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has a 12-part video series called “The Country Dog Gentlemen Travel to Extraordinary Worlds.” A pair of canines from the Roy De Forest work entitled “Country Dog Gentlemen” takes viewers on adventures to learn about other interesting artworks in the SFMOMA collection.
Explore works by Jackson Pollock, Rene Magritte, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe, and more.
Watch amazing animals
- The California Academy of Sciences streams live, high-definition videos of stingrays, colorful coral reefs, and a penguin colony. One can also take a virtual trip to the rugged and remote Farallon Islands, which are 30 miles away from the San Francisco coast.
Watch graceful stingrays and shimmering schools of tropical fish swim across the screen. Be mesmerized by penguins as they swim and walk about on three live webcams.
Discover fantastic sharks
- Sharks are often misunderstood as big and scary carnivores. In a free online course from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, older children can challenge shark stereotypes and build empathy for sharks and appreciation for their diversity. Through the online course, kids can learn scientific concepts while gaining a connection to the natural world.
Be a junior zookeeper at home
- Do your children miss going to the zoo? Or perhaps they want to work with animals when they grow up? The Oakland Zoo’s keepers provide its different creatures with so much more than food, water, and a clean environment. The Oakland Zoo team has come up with several creative enrichment ideas that you can do with your family pets at home, to keep the animals mentally stimulated.
Meet Silicon Valley innovators
- The Tech Interactive, a science center in San Jose, hosts virtual field trips for kids to meet innovators who use technology to solve the world’s biggest challenges. In “Tech for Tomorrow,” kids can step inside a world-famous science and technology center to explore science labs, hands-on activities, and design challenge experiences.
Go on a virtual tour of computers
- The story of computing is driven by the urge to tinker, invent, and solve problems. Go on a virtual tour of “Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing,” an engaging exhibition at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View that chronicles the history of computers, from the abacus to the smartphone. Explore 19 galleries and 1,100 objects in this virtual tour without the crowds.
For real estate needs and more ideas for fun things to do in San Francisco and around the Bay Area, Compass real estate agent Nina Hatvany and the rest of Team Hatvany can provide valuable recommendations. Reach out to the team by calling 415.710.6462 or emailing team(at)teamhatvany(dotted)com.