Out & About: Transportation Museums

Have a kid who's always focused on the journey? Indulge your transportation-obsessed little one with a visit to an entire museum dedicated to getting around. Megan Bushnell shares some top picks, most of which are free to explore!

USS Pampanito and SS Jeremiah O’Brien

At historic Pier 45 you can tour the inside of both a submarine and one of two remaining Liberty warships. Learn about San Francisco’s role in WWII as you imagine what it was like to live and work on these ocean-going vessels decades ago.

OPEN: Daily (closed holidays)

ADDRESS: Pier 45, Fisherman’s Wharf

COST: SS Jeremiah O’Brien – $20 (children ages 5-12 $10; under 4 free); USS Pampanito – $20; (children ages 6-12 $10; under 6 free)

SFO Museum

Did you know that there is a museum inside the airport? Exhibits displaying the history of commercial aviation are scattered throughout SFO’s terminals. Of the 25 gallery sites, only nine are located behind the security checkpoint. The 

OPEN: Daily (closed holidays)

ADDRESS: San Francisco International Airport (SFO)


Space Station Museum

See U.S. and Soviet space exploration artifacts in an unlikely location: this volunteer-run, privately funded museum is housed in a storefront within a shopping plaza.

OPEN: Friday through Sunday

ADDRESS: 464 Ignacio Blvd., Novato


San Francisco Railway Museum

Celebrate San Francisco’s streetcars and trolleys inside this one-room ode to early public transportation. Then hop onto the F-line, an actual “museum in motion,” which stops right outside for a tour down the Embarcadero.

OPEN: Tuesday through Sunday (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

ADDRESS: 77 Steuart St.


Cable Car Museum

Check out San Francisco’s famed cable cars. View the huge engines, winding wheels, and cable lines in action.

OPEN: Daily (closed holidays)

ADDRESS: 1201 Mason St.


SFFD Fire Museum

Nestled in the Presidio, this quaint museum is run entirely by volunteers, so call ahead (415.563.4630) to confirm the schedule; they may close if understaffed. Find lots of cool memorabilia on display, including the first fire engine built in California!

OPEN: Thursday through Sunday (1 to 4 p.m.)

ADDRESS: 655 Presidio Ave.


Megan Bushnell is a former marine biologist who is encouraging her daughter’s dream to become an astronaut. Space ice cream might be involved.

This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of GGMG Magazine. Photo via Flickr.


You must log in as a member to view and submit comments.

Become a Member

Become a Member Today!

Join thousands of moms in our incredibly active online forums where our members will support you in all your parenting needs. Also come to exclusive GGMG events, get discounts through our partners, and participate in mom-focused activities.

Join Today!

Only $75 per year.