This 2.5-acre outdoor, interactive exploration area features natural, cultural and built icons of the Bay Area, as well as five site-specific artistic works commissioned for the Cove.
Asking open-ended questions is a powerful way to to spark conversations and enrich children’s learning in our exhibit spaces.
When you use open ended questions like these to promote deeper engagement by children, you also find out about child’s interests. How might your conversations with children at the Museum lay the foundation for a deeper project after your visit?
The Fishing Boat
Children climb aboard the Bonnie, an authentic fishing boat, to imagine trips around the Bay and out to sea.
- Where is the ship going?
- I wonder if anyone is fishing in the bay right now? Any pirates? Where?
- Who do you think used to live on this boat?
- If we were mermaids, what do you think we would be doing?
- What if we were pirates?
The Lookout Trail
Families hike this trail to travel around the natural bowl that holds Lookout Cove for incredible views of the Bay and the Bridge.
Children can add to or climb into oversized nests made of branches, or imagine being a spider weaving a web or waiting for prey.
- If you were a spider how would you climb on this web?
- How about if you were a fly?
Inside the shipwreck’s hull, children scramble over pieces of debris to uncover artifacts and analyze the significance of their finds.
- I wonder what cool things we can find in the sand?
- How do you think that got here?
The Rocky Shore & The Sea Cave
Rock basins fill and empty slowly, like the tides. Children ducking into the Sea Cave discover life at a rocky shore community.
- I wonder what will happen to these crabs when the water rushes in?
- What kind of creatures do you notice in the sea cave?
- How do you think these tide pools work?
- What kind of animals do you think would be happy living there?
Golden Gate Bridge Under Construction
On and under the Golden Gate Bridge, where each tower is 23-feet high, children don construction vests and hardhats to add to our bridge under construction.
After the Landslide
A 700-square-foot pile of gravel representing the after-effects of a landslide poses a fun challenge for little diggers.
- How can we make a road?
- What kinds of things can we make with the rocks?
- How do they feel?
Lookout Cove Artists
The Museum commissioned site-specific art work from five artists for Lookout Cove.
This magical willow maze is a temporary living sculpture by the artist Patrick Dougherty. Learn more and watch the timelapse video about Peekaboo Palace.
- This is an interesting structure. Does it remind you of anything you've seen before?
- What did you discover?
Museum at Home
Fill a bin with flour, sand, dirt, or other similar materials. Add items of various size such as beans, rocks, peas, or coins. Include sifters with different size holes, such as a sieve, strainer, and strawberry basket. Sort your objects into an empty egg carton.
Questions to ask your child:
- What do you think will happen?
- What did you discover?
- What can you do with these?
Young children learn best through open-ended, child centered play. Help them become inspired adults by fostering creative thinking now. Allow them to direct their play. Accept the choices they make, whether they visit each activity briefly, spend long periods of time trying one thing, or repeat a favorite over and over. Don’t forget to play along too; playing side by side with young children while they learn is fun!