FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Your Questions – Our Answers

The Randall Museum offers fun family activities for all ages to learn science, nature and art. We welcome your curiosity! Below are answers to some of the questions we are asked most often.

If you can’t find your answer please send your question to info@randallmuseum.org

What is the Randall Museum?

The Randall Museum is a San Francisco Recreation and Park Department community learning center and a treasured family museum. Offering fun activities for children, teens, and adults alike, the Randall Museum promotes exploration of art and science in a natural setting right in the heart of the City.

The museum features habitat-based live animal exhibits; changing interactive exhibits focused on science, nature, and the arts; permanent exhibits exploring ocean ecology, geology, and railroads; a working model railroad; a toddler playroom; art and ceramic studios; and a woodshop. The Randall Museum offers classes in science, art, ceramics, technology, and woodworking. The outdoor areas feature an observation deck, a small amphitheater, a kinetic wind sculpture, native plant gardens, picnic spots, and easy access to hillside hiking trails. Annual family events include Bug Day, Family Halloween Day, and Holiday Crafts Day. The Randall Museum Theater hosts performances, films, and lectures.

What are the Museum's Hours of Operation?

Randall Museum is open 10 am – 5 pm, Tuesday – Saturday

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Is there an Admission Fee?

No. To encourage community access, the Randall Museum charges no admission fee, and offers fun family friendly activities for free or at low cost. Donations are encouraged.

How do I get to the Randall Museum?

The Randall Museum is located at 199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA 94114

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What can my Family do at the Randall Museum?

There’s something to do every day at the Randall Museum. Filled with interactive exhibits, dynamic habitat-based animal enclosures, science and art studios, and learning stations throughout the museum, there’s plenty of family fun and learning to be had. Visitors can sign up for classes, drop-in on Saturday art and science workshops, or chose to attend a variety of lectures, talks, and demonstrations from our community partners. Check out the class schedule or see what’s going on during the day of your visit by exploring our online events calendar, drop-in workshops, and exhibits pages.

What Age Range is Appropriate?

The Randall Museum welcomes visitors of all ages and offers a wide range of activities for the whole family – children, teens, and adults. Take a look at the online class schedule. The interactive exhibitions throughout the museum are designed to engage families with children ages 14 months to 12 years. Lectures and performances are often offered for teens and adults. Find out what’s happening by checking the online events calendar.

What Animals will I see at the Randall Museum?

The Randall Museum is home to more than 100 animals that can no longer survive in the wild. Dynamic habitat-based live animal enclosures allow museum visitors to interact with and learn about California’s diverse wildlife. The collection includes amphibians, reptiles, raptors and small birds, insects, spiders, tide pool creatures, and a variety of California mammals. Visit the Animal Page to see them all.

What Changes were made during the Recent Renovations?

The modernized Randall Museum showcases a more inviting lobby; improved flow and accessibility; new and expanded exhibits and learning spaces including The Garage, a state-of-the-art STEAM lab; Café Josephine our first food and beverage concession; and a highly desirable community event space with sweeping views of the city. In areas such as the Redwood Trail, narrative themes and interpretive information tie together exhibits, classrooms, and programming to create a cohesive and memorable experience for the whole family. The museum’s unique natural history collections, many of which have never been on public display, will be integrated into these multi-faceted exhibits. Newly designed study stations featuring scientific discovery tools and rotating specimens will be interspersed throughout the two floors of exhibits.

Some highlights of the revitalized museum include:

  • Lobby – a redesigned entry space with changing interactive exhibitions focused on the environment, science, and the arts
  • Habitat-Based Animal Enclosures – designed to demonstrate how and where the animals live in the natural world
  • The Garage – a new state-of-art STEAM lab featuring active experimentation opportunities using cutting-edge technological tools
  • Natural Sciences Lab – an expanded and renovated science studio where visitors are encouraged to use the scientific method to look deeper into nature
  • Buckley Redwood Room – an improved community space for hosting a variety of group activities and special events in a stunning setting with sweeping views of the city and access to outdoor areas
  • The Grove – a sculptural tree wall designed to showcase specimens and artifacts while housing raptors in its branches
  • Randall Room – a revitalized space for large group classes, field trips, and summer camps
  • Ceramics Lab – an enlarged and refurbished ceramics studio offering varied classes in a roomier environment
  • Toddler Treehouse – a popular playroom for toddlers redesigned with transparent walls that let in more light
  • Golden Gate Model Railroad – one of Northern California’s most extensive working model railroads is now open to visitors during all museum hours
  • Café Josephine – a new food concession offering locally-sourced, healthy, organic fare with gluten-free options, allowing for longer, more enjoyable visits
  • Elevator Access – an added elevator makes all three stories of the museum accessible to everyone
Is the Model Railroad Still at the Randall Museum?

Yes. Not only have the trains stayed at the museum, but they are also on display and operating whenever the museum is open. Train controls have been digitized enabling visitors to operate some of the track loops with a push of a button.

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Can we bring Outside Food to the Randall Museum? Is Food Available Onsite?

Visitors can bring their own food or visit Café Josephine, where you may choose from a healthy and varied selection of delicious offerings. View the full menu.

How Do I Sign Up for a Class or Summer Camp?

All registrations are processed through San Francisco Recreation & Park Department. To create an online account and view or sign up for Randall Museum classes and camps, please visit San Francisco Recreation and Parks. For more information about creating a new account, please call (415) 831-6800. Enjoy early and prorated registration benefits when you purchase a Randall Museum Membership.

What is a Randall Museum Membership?

Randall Museum Friends is the nonprofit partner of the Randall Museum, working to support first-class programs, exhibits, and capital improvement projects. You can support their work by becoming a member. Among other benefits, members enjoy priority registration (registering one week early for all programs except summer camp) and $5 off registration per class. Visit our members’ page to review membership packages and benefits, and to apply online.

Are Scholarships Available?

Yes. Program scholarships are available through San Francisco Recreation & Park Dept. Applications are available at McLaren Lodge or online.

Is the Randall Museum Accessible to Someone with a Physical or Cognitive Disability?

Yes. The museum’s main floor (including the grounds, lobby, deck, animal exhibit, restrooms, theater, and art studio) is wheelchair accessible; other floors are accessible via elevator.

For inquiries regarding wheelchair access, disability sensitivity, real time captioning, TTY machines, assistive listening devices, sign language interpretation, Braille, large print, amplified phones, and other accommodations, visitors should contact Lucas Tobin, SF Recreation & Parks’ ADA Coordinator, at (415) 206-1229 or at lucas.tobin@sfgov.org.

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Can I book the Randall Museum for a Birthday Party, Wedding, Special Event or Meeting?

Yes. To get information about booking the Randall Museum for a special event please visit the Rent the Randall page or call Nathan Robinson at (415) 554-9681.

Can I Volunteer?

Yes. Whatever your skills or interests, whether you are part of a group or an individual, and however much time you can give, the Randall Museum will truly appreciate your help. Visit our Volunteer page or call Nathan Robinson at (415) 554-9681.

Can I Bring in an Injured Animal?

In general, the Randall Museum does not accept injured animals; it does not have the capacity to give them the constant care they require. You may run special circumstances by the animal room manager. Randall Museum staff may also refer you to local organizations equipped to care for injured animals.

Are Pets Allowed at the Randall Museum?

No, pets are not permitted in the museum building or anywhere within the fenced yard of the museum grounds. However, service/support animals are allowed except in the live animal exhibit.

Corona Heights Dog Play Area is adjacent to the museum grounds.

Who is the Museum Named After?

The museum is named after Josephine D. Randall, the first Superintendent of Recreation in San Francisco. Ms. Randall held the position for 25 years. Other interesting facts about Ms. Randall include:

  • She received a Masters degree in zoology from Stanford University in 1910
  • By 1915, she organized Girl Scout and Camp Fire Girl troops that were among the first in the U.S.
  • In 1937 her vision for a children’s museum led to the opening of the “Junior Museum” in the old jail on Ocean Avenue in San Francisco
  • In 1947, she shepherded a 12 million dollar bond that funded the building of a new museum, which opened at its current location in 1951. The facility was renamed the Josephine D. Randall Junior Museum.
  • She intended the museum to be “a place that would foster a love of science, natural history, and the arts.”

For more information about Ms. Randall visit the Randall Museum History page.

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