Are you looking for a family-friendly Wharf experience? Follow this fun-filled itinerary to give the kiddos a trip that they will never forget. Get the inside scoop on just a few of the many options where your kids can stay, play, get their adventure on, and of course snap some great photos to send to their friends back home. These attractions and shops along Fisherman’s Wharf and at PIER 39 are sure to be the highlight of your family vacation, for both you and your little ones! Rest assured, this short list is 100% kid-approved because it was created by Cora, an 8-year-old from Carlsbad, California.
Time Needed: A day and a half
Cost: Approximately $250 for 2 Adults and 1 Child
(Excluding Stay at Hotel Zephyr and Meal at Scoma’s Restaurant)
Getting Hot Chocolate at The Camper at Hotel Zephyr
1. Games at Hotel Zephyr
250 Beach Street
Cost: Games – Free, Hotel – $464/night (including tax), Hot Chocolate - $5
The games at Hotel Zephyr were so fun! There was one room for games inside the hotel and more games on the outside patio. These were some of the games that were inside: giant Jenga, Connect Four, shuffle board, ping pong, and more. On the outside was a big giant Connect Four that was taller than my mom, a CYLINDER ping pong table, and also there was a mini food truck shaped like a camper. I bought a hot chocolate from the mini food truck!
Riding Rocket Boat
2. Rocket Boat
Cost: Adult - $28, Child - $20
Fun and fast are the only two words I need to explain it! We could see Alcatraz, an island that had an old jail on it, and sometimes we could even see the Golden Gate Bridge! And then we sped over to the Bay Bridge and got to go under it. There was also some really fun ups and downs and turns. Well, it was fast and FUN!
Sea Lions at PIER 39
3. Sea Lions
Point of Interest
One of the cool things about PIER 39 was that we got to see sea lions! They were laying on some floating docks. Some of them barked really loud and weird. Most of them were sleeping but SOME of them were pushing each other off and making a big fuss about it. It was really fun and funny to watch. We learned that there's sometimes not many sea lions there in the summer because they swim south to give birth to their babies. They typically increase after the first week of August.
Picking a Flavor at Dryer's Ice Cream
4. Dryer’s Ice Cream Shop
I couldn't wait to go to Dryer's to get some ice cream. They had so many different candies and flavors of ice cream. I chose ice cream. I chose the chocolate chip cookie dough with ACTUAL cookie dough IN it! They had many other different flavors.
7D Experience at PIER 39
5. 7D EXPERIENCE
Cost: $14.99 for Ride & Maze
It was really cool. We got to put on 3D glasses. It was really cool how the seats functioned with the video. We even got to use (fake) guns to shoot the bad guys! At the end, it was really neat to see all of our scores with our picture next to it!
Life Size Pac Man at Player's Sports Grill & Arcade
6. Arcade at Player’s Sports Grill & Arcade
Restaurant & Attraction
Cost: $10 for 40 Game Tokens, $19.99 Play & Eat Combo Available
PIER 39 has an awesome arcade. It was loaded with a ton of fun games. They even had a giant space invaders. I played it with my dad. He won. I only got 15 tickets, he got 32 tickets. There was a cool game called Typhoon where two people sit down and watch a video with wind blowing in your face and the seats moving around. So, if the screen shows that you are in a cart and the car turns left, it will also make the seat feel like you're turning left. WOW!
Riding the Tea Cups on the PIER 39 Carousel
7. DOUBLE DECKER Carousel (with SPINNING tea cups!)
Now, this Carousel was UNIQUE, and the thing that made this Carousel DIFFERENT was that it was a DOUBLE DECKER CAROUSEL!!! That’s right a double decker carousel. And one of the great other things about it is that it has SPINNING tea cups! This carousel is located near the 7D EXPERIENCE at PIER 39. I personally suggest the spinning teacups, BUT let me warn you, if you go on them you might get dizzy.
Getting Tricked at Houdini's Magic Shop
8. Houdini’s Magic Shop
Cost: Dependent on Purchases
Houndini’s Magic Shop is practically FULL of magic! They had all sorts of tricks, pranks, goofy costumes, and many more wacky things! I even got a few magic tricks myself. They also have magicians there who can show/teach you magic tricks!
Ripley's Believe It or Not! at Fisherman's Wharf
9. Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
175 Jefferson Street
Cost: Adult - $25, Child - $19.84
Ripley's Believe It or Not has some really weird collections that were done by Ripley. They also had a mirror maze and a laser room. I had the most fun in the mirror maze! All the walls are mirrors, so you had to walk with your hands out in front of you or you might bump into one of the walls. They also had challenges such as twisting your tongue. Here's an awesome fact: Only one of ten people on earth can twist their tongue. Turns out my mom is one of them! They also had things like a video of a man being pulled out of a crushed car - and he was alive!
Jen Leo and Cora Riding a Pedicab
10. Pedicab around Fisherman's Wharf to Scoma’s Restaurant
Pedicab - Pier 41, Scoma’s - 1965 Al Scoma Way
Cost: Pedicab - $20/mile
Scoma’s - $31-$60 per Adult Entrée and $7-$12 per Kid’s Item
This is also another thing you can do in Fisherman's Wharf. My Mom, myself, and my cousin Mae pedi-cabbed to a restaurant. My pedicab driver was a really nice woman. She was talking a lot to my mom about different restaurants. I was busy having fun with my cousin, so I didn't hear too much. Our driver took us to a restaurant called Scoma's. They have some really good food. We also got our very own room for our entire family.
Travel Writer Jen Leo with her daughter Cora Calwell
This itinerary was written by Cora Caldwell with help from her mom, Jen Leo.
Cora Caldwell is an eight-year-old girl that’s curious about any adventure. Her favorite subject is Art, her favorite summer camp is Minecraft coding, and she wants to be a children’s book writer and illustrator when she grows up. If she could travel anywhere, it’d be to Australia to look for the Tasmanian Tiger.
Jen Leo is the co-host of This Week in Travel podcast available on iTunes, and reviewed travel websites and apps for the Los Angeles Times during the last nine years. She also edited the Sand in My Bra women’s travel humor series with Travelers’ Tales. She is the co-founder of KidsNTrips.com and can be found volunteering at Cora’s school or planning their next family vacation.
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