Get the kids outdoors this summer at the San Francisco Botanical Garden! From garden crafts to bug hunts in the Children's Garden, to story time and a brand new summer book club at the library, we have lots of fun, engaging activities planned for families with children of all ages. Check out this special feature that details all we have in store for the whole family.
Funday on Sundays: Storytime, Walk & Crafts (Ages 3-10)
10:30am–3:00pm, 1st and 3rd Sundays, April–September
Looking for a fun, free and easy-to-coordinate activity? Join us for Family Fundays on Sundays. Start with Storytime in our cozy children's book nook with comfy kid-sized cushions, stuffed animals and lively readers. Then get outside for a guided family garden walk! Wander out to the Children's Garden between noon and 3pm to enjoy nature craft activities and much more! Be sure to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. FREE (admission required for docent walks following story readings)
Story Time Themes
Family Adventures (Ages 3-5)
Friday Mornings 10am–12pm, July 12 – August 9
FREE with regular admission
Meet in the Exhibition Garden, just off the Main Gate at 9th and Lincoln.
Enjoy a variety of adventures in the Garden with your little ones, including a garden walk, circle time with stories and singing, and simple craft activities to do together. Learn how to help your child develop their innate curiosity about the natural world right here in the city!
Bean Sprouts Family Days (All ages)
12pm–3pm, 2nd and 4th Saturdays, from June–August
FREE with regular admission
A great afternoon outing with the kids! Bring a picnic and ramble on out to the west end of the Botanical Garden for craft and nature activities, volunteer work in the native beds and California nature trail and exploration of this hidden treasure in the city. Kids and their families can help water the garden, dig in our sand dune, go on a bug hunt, play pine cone basketball, create an herb bundle and much more! Families with children of all ages are welcome.
Contact Children's Garden Educator Gretchen Norrell for more information.
Summer Reading Club (Ages 3-14)
Drop in during the Library's open hours, Wednesday–Monday 10am–4pm (closed Tuesdays), June 2–July 28
Library admission FREE, Garden activities FREE with regular admission
Exercise your mind and your body this summer with the Summer Reading Club at the Botanical Garden Library! This free reading club introduces children to new nature-related reading themes and garden activities each week. Kids plant seeds in the Children's Garden as they reach weekly reading goals, and receive a special prize for completing the entire eight-week program. Prevent the "summer slide" and get outside – join the Club!
More info >>
Hunt for Treasure
Embark on Adventure #3
Pick up the Urbia Guide "Seeking California in a World of Plants" at the Garden Bookstore and go on a self-guided adventure at the Garden. Follow clues in a booklet that makes exploring the Garden more exciting than ever, and a special hidden box rewards those who complete the botanical adventure! Developed in collaboration with Urbia, this program is both educational and entertaining for all ages.
More about Urbia
Help from the Experts
Children's Books Now Circulating
Want to check out any of our Children's Books? We have a collection of over 1,600 garden- and nature-related children's books circulating. Available exclusively to Members and SFUSD Teachers.
Want to explore with kids at your own pace? Here are a few resources to help you prepare for your next visit.
- Director of Youth Education Annette Huddle gives ideas on how to engage kids by using all their senses to explore the Garden in this podcast.
- Why do plants talk to animals? How can plants travel without any legs? Discover the answers to these and other questions in the Incredible World of Plants, six short articles filled with fascinating facts and surprising information.
- Find more resources to help you explore the Garden with kids.
Story time in the Children's Garden 'living room.' Photo by Carol Irvine, Honeymilk Studio.
Spark their Creativity
Have you ever laid in the grass and searched for shapes in the clouds? On your next visit to the Garden, encourage your children to use their imagination to find ballerinas in the fuchsia blooms or faces in the bark of a redwood. Then find our Araucaria araucana in the Ancient Plant Garden and ask them to guess why it's called a monkey puzzle tree.
Motivational tree stumps. Photo by Carol Irvine, Honeymilk Studio.