How are the tours structured?

Orientation – A Museum staff member will lead your group in an orientation that will highlight the installations and activities you will engage with and provide basic guidelines and safety rules for your visit. Groups are asked to arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled visit to allow for parking, check-in and a snack, if needed. Your tour starts promptly at the scheduled time. 

Self-Guided Museum Tour – Your 2-hour tour will consist of a self-guided visit to the Museum. During your orientation, you will receive a tour guide Play Book to support your experience and provide information about the installations to explore and visit. For safety and experience reasons, not all areas of the Museum are accessible to self-guided groups, including the Studio Workshops.  

 Note: This type of tour is encouraged for groups with toddlers and a 1:1 ratio, or groups that want to explore at their own pace. 

Guided Museum Tour + Art Kit – Your 2-hour tour led by a Teaching Artist will consist of a 1-hour highlights tour of the Museum installations with a chance to engage in discussion and play with the various artworks as well as 1-hour of free play to explore your favorite installations. Art Kit activities are Museum-inspired, centered on open-ended making, and designed to extend the Museum experience into your classroom.

Note: Tour groups are limited to their 2-hour session time and may not return to the installations after tour time is complete. 

What if my group has special needs or a specific language requirement?

We recommend one chaperone for every five students. A 1:1 ratio is acceptable for groups with special needs or Head Start programs. Teaching Artist is on hand in guided tours to provide a tour of the spaces, but chaperones and classroom teachers are responsible for the behavior of their group and any necessary discipline or class management. Chaperones are expected to support the School Visit and assist students in remaining attentive and engaged. 

How do I pay?

All payments are accepted upon arrival on the date of your tour. We accept cash, check and all major credit cards. Checks should be made payable to The New Children’s Museum. We can also make arrangements to invoice your school or organization if necessary. If an invoice is needed, please include that information in your booking request email. 

What is your cancellation policy?

If you must cancel your tour, please do so at least 2 weeks in advance. No shows and last minute cancellations will be invoiced for $25. 

Is there a space for groups to eat their lunches while at the Museum?

Yes, groups may eat in the Park adjacent to the Museum. The Park includes a jungle gym, swing set and grassy area. If students bring lunches to eat after the tour, we will collect them to store in the Arts Education Center while your group is on their tour. We ask that you do not send your students with money. 

Can you tell me about parking and bus drop-off?

School bus drop-off: Direct your bus driver to drop off students on Island Avenue in front of the Museum before the cross walk and Museum entrance. This is the only designated bus parking location. 

Chaperone car parking: The Museum’s on-site parking garage has a daily rate of $20 per vehicle. It is located on Front Street just south of Market Street. Proceeding south on Front, after crossing Market Street you will see Richard Walkers Pancake House on the right hand side; turn immediately into the driveway past the restaurant and turn right again into the underground parking garage. Metered parking is recommended as the garage is subject to reach capacity. 

 Follow links for more information on additional parking in the area, public transportation via San Diego Metropolitan Transit System and detailed directions. 

How do I prepare my class for an in-person tour?

Teachers are encouraged to take advantage of a free pre-visit to the Museum to become familiar with the Museum’s layout, visit our website to view our current installations, or check out our comprehensive digital Sensory Guide here

The New Children’s Museum is always working on offering something new! During your visit, the Museum may close specific installations for construction. Tours will not be refunded for such closures. Guided and self-guided visitors will be advised on alternative options for play.