Exploratorium - Amazing Family Science
NOTE: The Exploratorium will be closed to move to Pier 15, from January 2, 2013 to April 16th, 2013.
If you find yourself in San Francisco, particularly if you have children with you, take an afternoon to see the Exploratorium. An interactive science museum that’s geared toward making science fun and approachable, it’s an attraction you don’t want to miss.
The idea behind the Exploratorium is pretty simple: they strive to combine art and science in a way that is engaging, interesting, and easy to understand. The brainchild of Frank Oppenheimer, the museum was his reaction to a basic lack of understanding about science in the general public. The museum seems designed with children in mind, but also to engage the child in those of us who might have grown taller. As their website says, “Geeks of all stripes, welcome to the mothership”.
At $15 for adults, the ticket price is a bargain. Parking can be tricky in any part of San Francisco, so plan ahead or take public transit. One option for your travel to the museum would be to hop on the cable car for a ride from downtown to the bay. From Aquatic Park (the end of the line for the cable car) it’s a short cab ride over to the Exploratorium. When you get off the cable car, you’ll find yourself at the world famous Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can browse the souvenir shops and get a steaming bowl of clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. A short walk up the hill is Ghiradelli Square, if you’re craving a hot-fudge sundae before you head over to the museum.
The museum regularly changes exhibits and has had everything from a journey to Mars with the Mars Rover, to sports and kitchen science to their International Pi Day, celebrating the irrational number Pi. If you are looking for a fun and definitely educational experience for your kids, the Exploratorium is a must. It has been so successful, and is such a local favorite, that they’ve decided to move to a much larger and more accessible downtown space in 2012.
If you’re looking for a deal on admission, the Exploratorium is part of the San Francisco City Pass program, which gives you a discount on a package that includes six different attractions across the city. There are also printable coupons for $1 off child and $2 off adult admissions available online. If you can make it to the museum on the first Wednesday of every month, admission is free to everyone!
The Exploratorium is located in the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco’s Marina District. If you’re visiting town, this is the perfect opportunity to spend at least part of the day in an area that most tourists don’t ever find. The Palace itself is an incredibly picturesque building, with an open sided domed building that you might recognize from many movies. It’s located near the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio (the most interesting looking retired military base you’ll ever see) and the downtown area of the Marina District (where you can pick from any of the numerous restaurants to grab a bite). The Walt Disney Family Museum is also in the neighborhood.
All photography courtesy of the Exploratorium official website for full details on visiting.