Listening to music through your jaw, stepping into a giant soap bubble, and sticking your shadow to a wall are just a few of the adventures you can have at San Francisco's award winning museum of art, science and human perception, the Exploratorium. Located inside the Palace of Fine Arts, a historic landmark, the Exploratorium considers itself a museum of science and art. "Science and art use different senses to express the same thing, and the Exploratorium is the intersection of science and art," Leslie Patterson, Public Information Officer for the Exploratorium said, paraphrasing what founder Frank Oppenheimer of the Manhattan Project believed.
Wanting to give back to society, Oppenheimer founded the Exploratorium where children ages two to 102 can roam freely through the expansive compound, finding out hands-on how science and art make life work. Here you will see children teaching parents how magnetism works via the "Strange Attractor", and parents getting back into line to beat their own scores for the "Outquiet Yourself" attraction. Here, a microphone under gravel measures how quietly one can walk. "I got a better score while wearing high heels than a reporter who was doing an article on the museum," Patterson laughed, "and he called back later to say he had finally beaten my score.". In this museum, not only do parents bond with children, but complete strangers find themselves working together to understand the museum's ever changing exhibits. And with world-renowned scientists and artists continually updating the exhibits, the museum offers something different every day.
For a tour de force, try the museum's Tactile Dome, where, for an extra fee, you can navigate through pitch-black rooms using solely your sense of touch. While no one has ever physically gotten lost in the dome, many have left their cares there during the challenge and exhilaration of discovery.
The fun doesn't stop when you come home though. Through online exhibits, tips for teachers, and science projects for home, the museum's website works to engage everyone in a continual learning experience.
- Tuesday through Sunday: 10am to 5pm, excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas
- Adults: (18-64) $15
- Students with ID, Youth (13-17), and Disabled: $12
- Children: $10
- Children: (up to 3) Free
- General Admission + Tactile dome (ages 7+): $20
- Metro Stop:
- Muni buses 30, 43 and 28 arrive near the museum
- From Fisherman's Wharf take the 30 Stockton bus
- BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit): exit at the Montgomery Station, walk one half-block up Market Street to Third Street and catch the 30 Stockton bus on the corner
- Location: Exploratorium at the Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco, CA
- Phone: 415-563-7337
- Website: www.exploratorium.edu