8 Reasons to Love the Exploratorium
In April 2013, San Francisco’s Exploratorium—the world’s most experimental and interactive museum—packed up its 43-year history and moved across the city to a new home at Pier 15 along the waterfront. Since then, more than 1 million people have visited the Exploratorium’s spectacular new location to touch, tinker, and play with more than 650 interactive exhibits. Here are eight reasons why the Exploratorium remains one of San Francisco's favorite attractions.
It's the perfect place to see the city and the Bay. The Exploratorium’s new home is on San Francisco’s historic waterfront, between the Ferry Building and Fisherman’s Wharf. With sweeping views of the city skyline, Coit Tower, the Bay Bridge. and Treasure Island from the glass-walled Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery, you’ll see more of San Francisco—and see it differently—than you will anywhere else.
It was born out of the mind-expanding idealism of the 1960s and is still a beacon of innovation today. Founded by Frank Oppenheimer in 1969, the Exploratorium is rooted in San Francisco’s history of creativity and independent spirit, and its ethos of experimentation and interactivity has made the museum a world influencer. If you want to understand San Francisco culture—then and now—start at the Exploratorium.
It's been a playground for generations of entrepreneurs, makers, scientists, artists, and educators. The museum's engaging interactive exhibits combine elements of art, science and human perception have all inspired influential people to see the world differently.
It's a learning laboratory where people of all ages can tinker and play. Whether you’re six or 64, the Exploratorium's hands-on experiences ignite curiosity and lead to profound learning. The exhibits are always growing and changing, just like the Exploratorium.
It's more than just a science museum. Some of the most inspired and thought-provoking artists of our day—including Brian Eno, Tauba Auerbach, Ruth Asawa and Amy Balkin—have created works in the Exploratorium. The Artist-in-Residence program celebrated its 43rd anniversary in 2017.
Kids love the Exploratorium, but so do adults. Every week, adults 18 and over can experience the Exploratorium during its Thursday evening hours from 6–10 p.m. Where else can you sip cocktails, dance in a tornado, build a scribbling machine, and make your own stop-motion animations, all in the same night? The signature After Dark events are one of the few truly interactive adults-only attractions in San Francisco.
The Exploratorium is everywhere. The Global Studios team collaborates on projects all over the globe—from Arkansas to Abu Dhabi. Eighty percent of science centers internationally use Exploratorium exhibits, programs or ideas.
You can get into it—for free. The Exploratorium's exhibits and experiences spill into the free public space along San Francisco’s vibrant Embarcadero, giving curious passersby a taste of the wonderland that lies inside. Take a ride in the Rickshaw Obscura, for example, and see the scenery upside down.
Curious? Tickets are available on-site and online. The museum is open 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Tuesday–Sunday, with late hours on Fridays until 10 p.m. After Dark Thursdays are 6–10 p.m.