Location: Pier 15 Embarcadero @ Green St. San Francisco, CA 94111
Pricing: $$$ (Discount for locals)
Hours: Tuesday- Sunday 10a.m- 5p.m. Closed Mondays except for holidays
Description: The Exploratorium is located in San Francisco's famous Embarcadero section right at Pier 15. This is a very convenient spot for it be located as it is within walking distance of many restaurant options and in plain sight of the Bay Bridge. So it's in quite a bustling part of San Francisco where many other various attractions can be taken in at the same time. When I was younger it was located at the Palace of Fine Arts- which is a really beautiful place to visit in itself but much more out of the way of other SF attractions and sort of isolated. So I think it was a good move for them to move closer to where tourists frequent more often. The inside of the Exploratorium is made up of hall after hall filled with hundreds of experimental science exhibits! There are so many exhibits for children to see and touch that there is no way you can accomplish it all in one visit -which is great because the next time you return there will surely be new things to see and do. Every exhibit is interactive and hands on for children- so no telling them not to touch things. My daughter was so curious about every experiment and spent a significant amount of time at each one she walked up to trying to figure out the cause and effect of the situation. Along the way my daughter made friends and interacted with other interested children, waited very patiently for her turn with items, and shared when someone else was waiting. So it is also a great experiment on a social scale with child interaction, LOL. My daughter was fully engaged with all the sensory exhibits that she could sink her hands in to, silly pictures to take, and new friends to meet for the two hours that we were there. She could have probably have stayed a couple more if our baby had the patience for it.
Highlights: The toilet water fountain is comical and children get a big kick out of drinking out of it. There is a toothpick homage to the Bay Area that took a man 40 years to make, it is sooo awesome (must see exhibit)!!!! My daughter had fun sticking her head in a giant lighted globe that experiments in mood lighting. She also loved the slinky machine, making patterns in sand, the bubble table, and the room that took pictures of our shadows every 30 seconds.
Tips: Get there early and park in the lot across the street. If that lot fills up- good luck finding parking! Also there are many restaurants and the Ferry building near by which has food among many other fun things to buy. Venture nearby and make it a full day!