Museums in Alameda

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The Museum of Children’s Art's staff provides learning experiences for children and adults with hands-on activities, summer camps, and exhibits. Good for two children and a backup team of any number of adults, this one-year family pass gives mini Picassos access to unlimited drop-in art sessions, which are led by a professional teaching artist and boldly explored by children and parents together. An artillery of materials lies within growing fingers’ grasp, allowing creative minds to wield fabric, clay, or paint in the struggle to create life-size replicas of their inner adults. Memberships also equip families with a 10% discount on camps, which are based on different themes and culminate with a gallery exhibition, allowing campers to show off their work to parents while attracting future commissions from refrigerator art collectors. Check out the website for additional member benefits.

538 9th St
Oakland,
CA
US

Your ticket includes a mind-expanding movie about the cosmos, some live music you can dance to, and access to the observatory and all of Chabot's exhibits. Current exhibits delve into the scientific achievements and cosmology of the Maya, give you a most likely dehydrated taste of the life of an astronaut, and take you on a journey to the farthest reaches of the cosmos, among other things. And—weather permitting—you'll get to spy on other planets from either Nellie, the 36" reflector telescope that allows access to 180 degrees of night sky, or Rachel, the largest refractor in the western U.S. You'll have four hours to amble through the science center with a celestial concoction in one hand (drinks are $3–$5 at the cash bar) and your date in the other. After staring into the depths of distant galaxies, you can stare into the depths of each other's eyes over dinner at the Starlight Bistro or Celestial Café (not included in Groupon; reservations required).

10000 Skyline Blvd
Oakland,
CA
US

A group of teachers and parents founded Habitot Children's Museum in 1998 with one specific mission in mind: to foster children up to 6 years old by encouraging their creativity and natural curiosity. Today, the 4,000-square-foot museum backs up this mission with research—gleaned from studies by scientists, psychologists, and educators—positing that healthy play spurs social skills, creative thinking, and problem solving, laying the foundation for kids to succeed later in life and imprison boogeymen in their booby-trapped closet tomorrow.

At Habitot, kids find such opportunities at small-scale exhibits and themed play areas throughout the museum. Aspiring firefighters steer a small-scale truck, race through a pretend burning building, and maneuver the hose and nozzle from a fire hydrant, all while donning coats, boots, and helmets. Young explorers press buttons, turn dials, and issue commands for pretend space launches inside a 13-foot model rocket ship or navigate a vertical floor-to-ceiling maze designed to mimic worm tunnels. At the waterworks table and pumping station, young engineers manipulate water using buckets, funnels, waterwheels, and pitchers to help them understand H2O’s unique properties, such as how it keeps boats afloat on the arms of a thousand mermen. (At different times throughout the year, the staff transforms this area with a different theme; at times it’s been a car wash, a marine-science lab, or the racing grounds for a rubber-ducky regatta.) Visitors can tap into their inner Van Goghs at the art studio, where they play with soft clays and go nuts on a paintable wall. Habitot also hosts year-round children's camps with themes such as beaches, transportation, space, castles, and science.

2065 Kittredge St
Berkeley,
CA
US

Established in 1968 in honor of Ernest Orlando Lawrence, UC-Berkeley's first Nobel laureate, The Lawrence Hall of Science aims to inspire the scientists and innovators of the future. Their hands-on exhibits allow children and adults to see and touch a fascinating variety of displays and projects. The animated, interactive Science On a Sphere globe, for example, uses actual scientific data to depict the expanding wave patterns of tsunamis and the massive storms triggered by thoughtless butterflies. To learn more about seismic activity, guests head to the Forces That Shape the Bay outdoor park to ride an earthquake simulator. Kids can climb atop a life-size model whale or through the double helix of a huge DNA sculpture, or work with students from the Berkeley Engineers and Mentors program to design and build a prototype in the Ingenuity Lab.

The museum also sparks imaginations with an interactive planetarium and 3-D theater. Its affiliation with the university makes it an ideal spot for educational camps and classes, as well as community events, including robotics competitions.

1 Centennial Dr
Berkeley,
CA
US

The Pacific Film Archive is the Berkeley Art Museum’s venue for all things filmic, cinematic, and animatic, offering screenings, collections, and events and seminars that explore the rich world of motion pictures. An individual membership to the archive comes with a reel's worth of celluloidal benefits, including free admission to the PFA gallery, discounts on tickets to film screenings, and free artist discussions and lectures. With reciprocal membership privileges at more than 30 university art museums, you can become a fixture in the film world, which, unlike the spontaneous-rock-hurling world, is a vibrant, supportive community.

2625 Durant Ave
Berkeley,
CA
US

Planted between mighty palms in Golden Gate Park is the oldest wood-and-glass conservatory in North America. The gleaming white Victorian structure has survived several boiler explosions, closure during World War II, and more than two decades of renovations. In 1998, it was deemed an endangered building—but it was quickly adopted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and completely rehabilitated by 2003. This century-old structure is home to the Conservatory of Flowers, a National Historic Landmark that connects visitors year-round with the exotic flora of the world's tropical regions.

The Conservatory houses four main galleries. In the aquatic plants gallery, cascading water gurgles into pools beneath a glass-and-metal sculpture of a six-foot Victoria amazonica water lily. The mist-filled highland gallery mimics the high-altitude forests of tropical mountaintops with clusters of orchids and ferns. Showcasing another side of the tropics, the rainy lowland gallery replicates lush jungles, housing a 100-year-old imperial philodendron and several cycads, which date to the days when most dinosaurs were just tiny salamanders. The potted plants gallery incorporates man-made works such as copper planters from India, ceramic pots from Burkina Faso, and an urn from the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Around the fragrant stillness of these halls, the Conservatory hosts special events such as gardening workshops.

Groupon Celebrates Pride Month

Over the last 50 years, the gay-rights movement in America has overcome tremendous obstacles to become a powerful voice for inclusion and diversity. Even as it has grown, the movement—like Groupon—is local at heart, and we applaud the commitment to real change that improves everyday lives.

At Groupon, we are happy to add our voices to those celebrating PRIDE, their achievements as a social movement and a continued march to equality for the LGBT community. Plus, we love a chance to dig that rainbow wig out of storage.

This month—and throughout the year—we salute our merchants and customers who support PRIDE and all efforts that promote dignity, respect, and equal opportunity. We're highlighting these merchants' deals with a special badge to show Groupon's pride in working with people who share our values.

100 J F Kennedy Dr
San Francisco,
CA
US