Anita 7/99 I'm thinking of taking my visiting in-laws to the Sony Metreon (downtown SF). I have a 2-year-old and was wondering whether anyone would recommend the Wild Things exhibit for a young child? Or would it be better for an older child? Or is it not worth going to for any age?
Judi 8/99 We went to the new Sony Metreon which has tons of speakers so we made sure to bring ear plugs to help reduce some of the volume. If you happen to be in the area of the Metreon, they had tons of the playground in the Yerba Buena center afterwards. Cool slides for kids 5 and up and a sand box for the younger ones.
- Trish 7/99 My niece (27) and I (40 something) enjoyed the exhibit quite a bit. It's full of large creatures and noises. It's interactive so you turn cranks, lift levers, and step on the large monster footsteps to make things work. I noticed that the younger kids were down on the ground floor building with large vinyl blocks. I didn't hear any crying kids (and there were lots of them) so the monsters aren't that scary. The entire Metreon/Park/Arts Center complex is beautifully conceived. The park is relaxing with lots of fountains, and there is a carousel, ice skating rink and bowling alley in the complex along with the Buena Vista Arts Center(BVAC). Actually, BVAC is now showing an exhibit of one of UCB's faculty, Trinh Minh Ha. Because of an international conference at the Moscone, the day we were there we heard many out of town visitors remark on how beautiful it was and how much they liked San Francisco. Enjoy! It makes a very nice place to take visitors.
Suzanne 7/99 My friend's daughter, who is seven, would not go into the wild things exhibit because it was too scary. But she is very sensitive to scary things. She didn't like the dark part, BUT she loved the playground part. You can drop some serious cash in the Metreon. I don't know what else there is for little 2 yr olds. The imax is spectacular -- it's probably worth a visit.
Juliann 7/99 We took our two-year-old daughter to the Sony Metreon Where the Wild Things Are exhibit shortly after it opened. She enjoyed it, but I don't think it was worth the price. It was very crowded, and most of the interactive parts weren't appropriate for her age. I thought the best/most interesting part for her was the set of tunnels and blocks near the end. Some children might be scared by having to go through dark hallways before getting to the outer play area, or by the large noisy characters from the book. On the other hand, if you did a family outing to the Metreon you could go across the street to the carousel and fountains at Yerba Buena Gardens, which our daughter loves. There is also a play area with a slide and a really great sandbox that has water trickling through it (bring a change of clothes).
Natasha 7/99 I wanted to chime in with further exhortations to take your kids and visitors to the Yerba Buena area. We went to Yerba Buena Gardens recently with our 3 and 6 year old, as well as a teenage visitor. This whole complex really has become a wonderful place to take the family and out of towners...BUT I found that the Metreon complex itself gave me a headache! The teenager loved it, natch. It is meant to have a futuristic feel, with one particularly wild floor devoted to some science fiction style video games (one of which, a wacky video bowling arcade, actually did tempt me a bit - but not the 3D shooting game). There's a loud, busy Sony electronics store (Metreon is owned by Sony), from which I fled to the respite of a Hear music store (branch of the 4th street business). There are some okay eating places, including Long Life Noodle, like the new one on Shattuck, and some other mini-chains (several notches above McFood). There are stores with somewhat educational ware, including one based on the Discovery Channel, one based on The Way Things Work, and quite a good children's bookstore/play area just outside of the Wild Things exhibit. There is also an In the Night Kitchen place to eat with fun decor - food looked to be passable. Lovely deck outside overlooking Yerba Buena Gardens, which is a nice place to picnic. Sometimes there are concerts in the park. Our kids enjoyed the Imax theatre (they saw the Underwater one - there's also climbing Everest, which would probably be less interesting to little folks). It was pricey - about $6 for kids and $9 for adults for a 40 minute show. Wild Things was also rather expensive - would have been around $24 for a 4 person family, so we skipped it for now. BUT - nearby are the carousel (rescued from the old Playland at the Beach), a very well-designed rooftop playground, with water play and slides to entrance toddlers to much older kids, a skating rink (where, if you're lucky, you can fall down right in front of Bryan Boitano) and a small bowling alley with the kiddie bumpers to prevent gutter balls. There's also Zeum, which is designed for kids 9 and up...so we're saving it for later. We used to rely on feeding the kids at Chevy's, but it's in the midst of remodeling and moving a block away. If you go up to Union Square you can feed the kids for free at Fresh Choice (in the basement of the men's Macy's). For good food, there's a Cha Am branch nearby as well as LuLus for good food (ask for one of the booths to keep the kids trapped and able to lie down), as well as the aforementioned places in the Metreon, and Yank Sing for excellent dim sum a few blocks away. We also take the kids to MOMA regularly. They loved the Calder exhibit - and they liked the Carleton Wilkins (?) stereophonic views of old California. We bring along a small set of colored pencils and a sketchbook, and sit the kids down on a bench in the center of the room while we take turns looking around. The little kids sketching always makes the guards laugh. (MOMA has an excellent gift shop with a good kid's section. They sell a set of tiny colored pencils in a CD case). The food at MOMA is expensive and so-so.