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Presidio Kids: Five Ways to Explore the Park with Your Family This Summer

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 Category Kids and Family; Recreation and Wellness

Summer is right around the corner and soon enough the kids will be out of school and looking for fun outdoor adventures. If you’re searching for fun activities to keep the wild ones occupied through the summer, look no further – we’ve got you covered in the park. From getting the kiddos reading to heading out on a nature scavenger hunt, these are our favorite FREE family offerings happening all summer long.

1. Take a StoryWalk at Crissy Field and Mountain Lake, June – August, 2018

StoryWalk at Crissy Field and Mountain Lake Last year, we got things started with our first StoryWalk – a chance for kids to take a stroll around Mountain Lake and discover pages from the popular children's book, I Wrote You a Note by Lizi Boyd, sprinkled along the way. This book will be up for another season at Mountain Lake this summer, so pack a picnic, enjoy the nearby Mountain Lake Playground, and walk around the lake and read the story. This year there's another great StoryWalk happening in the Presidio at Crissy Field – this time with Bay Area author Dave Eggers' new children's book, Her Right Foot. Shawn Harris contributed vivid illustrations to complement a story that investigates history, art, and the powerful message behind the Statue of Liberty's right foot. StoryWalk is brought to the Presidio in a partnership between the Presidio Trust, the National Park Service, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the San Francisco Public Library. 

What you need to know:

  • I Wrote a Note – You can start this walk at Mountain Lake Playground! This walk is a half mile long and will take about a half hour to complete. Park near the Mountain Lake Playground at 12th avenue and Lake St. MUNI 28 and 1 stops at California, walk north on 12th avenue to access the Playground.
  • Her Right Foot – Start your walk near the Warming Hut at Crissy Field. There's parking nearby. Also, you can take the MUNI 28 to the Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion and walk down Battery Trail.

Good for ages:

  • 2 to 8 years-old​

2. Take a Free Community Shuttle from Your Library to the Presidio – June 9 + July​ 21

Free Community Shuttle from Library to Presidio
Learn more about the Presidio and pick up a free ride to the park! Back by popular demand, we've got another summer where you can join a park ranger on a free shuttle to and from the Presidio. On June 9, leave from the Main Library and head to the Presidio Main Post, and on July 21 leave from the Merced Branch Library and head to Crissy Field, each from 10:30am-3:00pm. The full schedule and instructions for signing up are on Library-Park-Shuttles.Eventbrite.com. These programs are created in partnership between the Presidio Trust, the National Park Service, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the San Francisco Public Library. ​​To learn more, contact ParkShuttles@ParksConservancy.org or call (415)561-3531.​

What you need to know:

  • Space is limited, so reserve your spot. The best way to reserve your seat is by contacting a participating library branch and asking the librarian to help you sign up. Additionally, a limited number of seats can be reserved on Eventbrite up to six weeks in advance. 
  • Be sure to bring with you:
    - Bottle of water
    - Bag lunch and snack
    - Sunscreen and hat
    - Extra layers and jacket
    - Walking shoes

Good for ages:

  • ​​​Families and all ages are welcome. 

3. Go Geocaching – Available All Year

Geocaching in the Presidio

Geocaching is an any day, any time treasure hunt enjoyed by people all over the world. There are two million geocache locations around the world, and we have more than a dozen right here in the Presidio. Kids and families can use a smartphone to locate these hidden boxes and stories in special nooks and crannies of the park. This year, we have five new geocache locations – including one at the Presidio Visitor Center, the perfect place for families to start their park adventures.

What you need to know:

  • Charge your phone before you arrive.
  • Dress in layers and bring along water and snacks to fortify you during your hunt.

Good for ages:

  • 4+

4. Check Out a Presidio Explorer Backpack at the Visitor Center

Presidio Explorer Backpack

The Presidio Explorer backpack is like a board game come to life. It contains an adventure map and cards that guide you to fun discoveries – wildflowers, creatures, and more – all around the park. It’s also packed with tools, like a magnifying glass, binoculars, and compass to help you along the way.

What you need to know:

  • Drop into the Presidio Visitor Center (210 Lincoln Boulevard) daily from 10 am to 2 pm to check out a free backpack. Supplies are limited, so you may want to reserve one in advance by calling (415) 561-4323. One backpack per family/group.
  • Give yourself two hours for your adventure. Backpacks MUST be returned by 4:30 pm.
  • Travel around the park on foot or on the free PresidiGo Shuttle.

Good for ages:

  • 5 to 12

5. Learn to Bike in the Park – All Year

learning to bike in the Presidio

If the kids are itching to get out and learn to bike in the park, the Presidio has two fun free events to get them rolling. They can learn to bike through the YBike Learn to Ride Program – co-sponsored by the PresidioY. For those kids who already know how to bike, get them out in the park on the Family-Friendly Bike Ride where a Presidio Park Ranger and a Presidio Trust guide will lead the family through a 4-mile, gently-paced bike ride. Rent a bike from Sports Basement or bring your own.

What you need to know:

Good for ages:

  • YBike Learn to Ride Program – Good for all ages.
  • Family Friendly Bike Ride – 8+​


Other Fun Events in the Park this Summer:


Kite Festival, June 16 – A colorful, family-friendly festival featuring all things kite. Offered in partnership with Highline Kites. 

Learn more about the Kite Festival and register here >>


Pasados del Presidio: Afternoon Fun for Kids, June 29 – Hands-on activities, including a tortilla-making demonstration, and more. Music and dance is offered by Ballet Folklórico Mexicano. Presented in partnership with the National Park Service - celebrating 50 years of our National Scenic and Historic Trails. 

Learn more about all the other Pasados del Presidio activities taking place June 29 - 30 >>