San Francisco's Randall Museum is tucked away near the southern edge of Corona Heights Park, a rocky hill that rises above the Castro District with sweeping views to Twin Peaks and the bay.
"We wanted to provide a place in the city where kids can feel like they're in the country," says Randall director Amy Dawson. Recent renovations have turned the museum into a green oasis with a small outdoor amphitheater, an observation deck, and themed gardens, including a nectar garden that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
Since its founding in 1937, the museum has expanded to feature an animal exhibit room with more than 50 species of critters such as hawks, rabbits, and snakes. Enhancements include a new outdoor art patio, a greenhouse, an art studio with a ceramics workshop, and a darkroom. More than 130 classes for children and adults (Saturday drop-ins welcome) are offered on subjects like woodworking, jewelry making, and photography. The children's museum also hosts plays and films in its award-winning 185-seat theater.
Located at 199 Museum Way, the Randall is just up the hill from 14th Street and Castro. Admission is free. Information: (415) 554-9600, www.randallmuseum.org.
Photography courtesy Randall Museum
This article was first published in July 2003. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.