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Bay Area Cultural Field Trips

These bay area cultural field trip destinations have been recommended by homeschooling parents and kids. If you have a favorite that isn't listed here please call us at 650-365-9425 or E-mail Homefires Editor. While we hope that this information is accurate, please do call to confirm.

Worlds Crookest Street, San Francisco, CA -- Bay Area Cultural Field Trips

African American Art & Culture Complex

762 Fulton Street, Suite #300, San Francisco, CA
Telephone: 415-922-2049
Gallery Hours: Monday - Saturday, 12 noon - 5:00 p.m.

Promotes and supports African and African American art and culture. Call for event schedule, fees.

All About Chinatown! Walking Tours

660 California (at Grant Ave.), San Francisco, CA
Tour Departs from Old St. Mary's Cathedral
Telephone: 415-982-8839
E-mail for Details
Hours: Tours depart daily at 10:00 a.m. (2-hour tour)
Fee: Tour only -- $28.00/adult, $15.00/child (ages 6-17);
Fee: Tour & Lunch -- $40.00/adult, $27.00/child (ages 6-17)
Children under 6 are free.

A behind-the-scenes tour of Chinatown with native Linda Lee. See a private Buddhist temple, unusual herb shop, fortune cookie factory, tea room, food markets, and a historical museum. 7-day advance reservation recommended.

Arion Press

1802 Hays Street, The Presidio, San Francisco, CA
Telephone: 415-668-2542
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Admission: free

The Grabhorn Institute is a nonprofit organization located in the Presidio whose mission is to preserve and perpetuate the use of Arion Press and M & H Type. Arion Press is the nation's foremost fine press limited edition publisher, and M & H Type is the oldest fully-functioning typefoundry in the nation. Together, our unique facility offers visitors a firsthand look at the traditional typecasting and bookmaking techniques — from the making of type from hot metal, through letterpress printing, to hand bookbinding — demonstrated by our trained craftspeople.

Students can learn the traditional methods by which books are made, from the first piece of type to the final stitch in the binding. We offer live demonstration tours of our historic typefoundry, letterpress print shop, and bookbindery every Thursday at 3:00 p.m. There is a fee of $7 per person to attend. Our gallery features exhibits of our recent publications and prints and is open free to the public.

Asian Art Museum

200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA
Phone: 415-581-3775
Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday; Friday & Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Thursday 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., Closed Monday
Admission: $12.00/adult, $7.00/youth ages 12-17,
Children under age 12 free.
Free admission first Tuesday of every month.

The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco is one of the largest museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian Art, with a collection of over 17,000 artworks spanning 6,000 years of history. Permanent collections showcasing arts of over 40 Asian countries. Traveling exhibitions too.

The Bamboo Garden - Japanese Cultural Center

Foothills College 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos, CA
Hours: Open all from sunrise to sunset.
Admission: Free ($2.00 in quarters required for campus parking.)

Visit the gardens and learn about Japanese culture from the volunteer staff. The garden has been continually expanded and now contains over 70 varieties of bamboo planted on a two acre landscaped site. Bamboo gardens are open daily for self-guided tours.

Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco

750 Kearny Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA
Telephone: 415-986-1822
Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
The Center may be open at other times for classes or events.
Admission: Free.

Changing exhibits of Chinese art and cultural artifacts. Chinatown walking tours - call for fee.

Chinese Historical Society of America

965 Clay Street, San Francisco, CA
Telephone: 415-391-1188
Hours: Tuesday - Friday noon - 5:00 p.m., Saturday 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Closed Sunday & Monday
Admission: $3.00/adults, $2.00/students, $1.00/children (6-17).
Children 5 and under free.
Free to the public on the first Thursday of every month

The Society is the first such Chinese American historical society in North America. Houses the largest collection of Chinese American artifacts in the country. Traces the experiences of the Chinese American from the 1850s to the present. Features graphical panels with English and Chinese captions.

COPIA - The American Center for Wine Food & the Arts

500 First Street, Napa, CA
Telephone: 707-259-1600
Hours: Wednesday - Monday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Closed Tuesday
Admission: $5.00/adults, $4.00/students, children 12 and under free
Half-Price Wednesdays for Sonoma and Napa County Residents

COPIA discovery center explores, the benefits of wine, its relationship to food and its significance to our culture. Located in the heart of Napa Valley, COPIA offers visitors exceptional food tasting programs, art exhibitions and 3 ½ acres of organic edible gardens. The Edible Gardens are cared for using organic and biodynamic methods, without synthetic chemicals, pesticides or herbicides.

Fortune Cookie Factory

261 12th Street, Oakland, CA
Telephone: 510-832-5552
Tour hours: Monday - Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Reservations needed for groups larger than 10.
Cost: $1 per person. No age restrictions.

Offers 15-30 minutes tour to see how a fortune cookie is made. The Fortune Cookie Factory, makes over 50,000 fortune cookies daily, shipping them to destinations as far as Australia, England, Japan and Hong Kong.

Hakone Gardens

21000 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA
Telephone: 408-741-4994
Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. weekdays; 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. weekends
Admission: $5.00/adults, $3.50/students (5-17), children 4 and under are free.

Considered to be the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan. Created in 1917 by gardener who worked for the Emperor. Imported dwarf pines and maples, curving pathways that wind past 2 tea houses, stone lanterns, koi ponds, wisteria arbors. Self guided tours available.

Hostel Adventures

Telephone: 415-863-1444 ext. 310

Hostel Adventures are interactive, experiential education programs for youth and adults that encourage the exploration of our natural environment, our local communities, and other cultures around the world. From environmental education to cultural programs, travel workshops to mural art projects, Hostel Adventures are ultimately designed to promote environmental stewardship, intercultural exchange, and responsible travel.

There are four types of Hostel Adventure programs:

  • Outdoor Hostel Adventures - Day and overnight environmental education programs in coastal State and National Parks, grades K-12.
  • Cultural Kitchen - Intercultural education programs hosted at eight Northern California Hostels, grades 5-12.
  • Community Walls - Community education and mural project hosted at eight Northern California Hostels, grades 2-12.
  • Travel Education - Free, two-hour travel workshops for youth and adults, available for groups and individuals at Northern California hostels and additional locations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

India Community Center

525 Los Coches St., Milpitas, CA
Telephone: 408-934-1130

The Walk through India program for children is a wonderful field trip for children in Grades 3-5 to learn about India in a very hands-on interactive way. The children really learn alot and have fun. We have several stations where they learn about Indian geography, history, yoga, art, culture, and food. One highlight is a large floor map of India where they "Walk through India" as we go through the geography and history of India from the Indus Valley Civilization, through the British colonial period and how Mahatma Gandhi led the way towards Independence.

Mee Mee Bakery

1328 Stockton Street, (between Broadway and Vallejo) San Francisco, CA
Telephone: 415-362-3204
Hours: Daily 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Reservations: Not needed.
Cost: Free

Small children must be accompanied by an adult on this 5-10 minute tour to see how fortune cookies are made. This is really fun in the cramped, tiny space. The proprietors do a heavy sales pitch to get you to buy cookies -- which is okay cause they are so cheap.

The Mexican Museum

151 3rd Street, (Fort Mason Center, Building D), San Francisco, CA
Telephone: 415-202-9700
Hours: Wednesday - Sunday, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Admission: $3.00 - $4.00

Houses collections and exhibits of the artistic expressions of Mexican and Latino people. The Mexican Museum is the only art museum in the Bay Area dedicated to collecting and exhibiting the work of Latino artists.

Napa Valley Museum

55 Presidents Circle, Yountville, CA
Telephone: 707-944-0500
Hours: Open Daily 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Closed Tuesday.
Admission Fee: $4.50/general, $3.50/students, $2.50/kids (7-17), under 7 Free.

Museum concentrates on the culture, art and history of Napa Valley and its people. Ongoing exhibit: California Wine: The Science of an Art integrates science, agriculture, history, physiology and wine technology, in a multimedia program.

Oakland Museum of California

1000 Oak Street, (at 10th Street), Oakland, CA
Telephone: 510-238-2914
Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Sunday, noon - 5:00 p.m.
Closed Monday & Tuesday
First Friday of each month open until 9 p.m.
Admission Fee: $8.00/adults, $5.00/students, children under 6 are free.
Free admission the second Sunday of each month.

Houses major collections of California culture, history and art with an emphasis on environment and ecology. Public offerings include festivals, family programs, tours, symposia and lectures.

The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival

Shakespeare in the Park
Telephone: 415-558-0888
Various Times & Dates

Your students will be engrossed by Shakespeare's gripping tale of the tragic consequences of misguided ambition. Mysterious dangers are foretold and hasty courses of action have dark consequences that affect both the individual and society.

This professionally-directed 55 minute show, performed in Shakespeare's original text, includes THREE WEEKS OF ONE-HOUR LESSON PLANS, written especially for teachers by director Rebecca J. Ennals. Her guides have been acclaimed as valuable resources in readily facilitating an enhanced understanding of the plot, themes, character motives, and language found in Shakespeare's writing.

An optional one-hour PLAYSHOP for students who want to dig deeper into Macbeth, and get some hands-on experience with acting, is also available (immediately before or after your show).

Sonoma County Museum

425 7th Street, Santa Rosa, CA
Telephone: 707-579-1500
Hours: Wednesday - Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Admission: $5.00/adults, $2/students, Children under 12 free.

Changing exhibits, call for schedule. The Sonoma County Museum is home to the largest collection of preparatory works in the nation by renowned environmental artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Since the opening of the Sonoma County Museum in 1985, the Museum's collection has expanded from the original 3,500 artifacts to nearly 25,000 items.