Bay Hall

A playful simulation of the Ports of San Francisco and Oakland.

  • Fisherman's Wharf: What's the catch of the day? Crabs from Fisherman's Wharf!
  • The Port of Oakland: Lift and lower, move those containers around and fill up your ship.
  • Train Set: Children of all ages (that means you, Dad!) enjoy our vintage train set.
  • Underwater Tunnel: What creatures can you spot as you crawl through? Navigating winding tunnels develops physical and intellectual risk-taking skills. 

Ignite Creative Thinking with Open-ended Questions

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?

Port of Oakland Interactive

  • Have you seen anything that looks like this?
  • I wonder how we can move these blocks?


  • Where are your trains going?
  • What kind of cargo are they carrying?

Underwater Tunnel

  • What did you see in the tunnel?
  • Describe what you heard...

Fisherman’s Wharf

  • I notice this looks like a store. I wonder if anyone is selling anything?
  • What can we do with these crabs?
  • What can we do with these fish?
  • Let’s create a game on the boat.
  • What kind of weather can you experience on the boat?

Museum at Home

Adding props to your child’s play area is a wonderful way to inspire the same kind of creative play they experience at the Museum. Search your own house, or ask friends and family for cast off work uniforms, interesting hats, or safe but realistic tools. Allow them to explore the props and use them in new and different ways.

It’s beneficial for children to have opportunities to play uninterrupted by adult suggestions. If you notice your child is immersed in play, either on their own, or with friends, you may want to take a step back and become an observer as they take things in their own direction.

Creativity Grows Here

Learn more about how we nurture creativity at the Museum and how you can help your child explore, discover, immerse, imagine and connect with tips from Bay Hall.


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