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Exploratorium
Exploratorium

Exploratorium

Pier 15, San Francisco, 94111

The Basics

The Exploratorium, comprising six main galleries facing the San Francisco Bay, houses a series of interactive exhibits that invite—as the name suggests—exploration. From the Tactile Dome to the Tinkering Studio, the Exploratorium encourages visitors of all ages to engage with the exhibits so as to explore the natural world and every individual’s perception of it.

Buy tickets at the Exploratorium or save time with pre-booked skip-the-line tickets. The museum is also a stop on the hop-on hop-off bus and entry is included with the San Francisco Go Card, Explorer Pass, and CityPass.

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Recent reviews from experiences in San Francisco

star-5
This museum is incredible. The exhibits...
Lynny0102, Jul 2015
Exploratorium General Admission Ticket
This museum is incredible. The exhibits are interactive, engaging, informational and fun for all ages. It is clean, spacious and easy to spend hours there.mthis is a must for adults and children. I would visit again as too many things to experience in one visit.
star-5
Awesome place!
Theresa_S, Jul 2019
Exploratorium General Admission Ticket
The Exploratorium was amazing. So much to see and do. Kids were active the entire time. Get there early as it will take all day to see and do everything.
star-5
Most excellent adventure
RAND_R, Aug 2019
Exploratorium General Admission Ticket
Could have spent another day! Fascinating displays, one after another. Kids enjoyed everything. Lunch was pricey! $95 for 5 for hot dogs, fries, mac and cheese and one salad. Bring your own.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • The Exploratorium is a must for families with children, although both young kids and adults who are young at heart will delight in the freedom to play.

  • Some exhibits, including the popular San Francisco fog and wind and tide exhibits, are outside. Wear layered clothing and shoes that can get wet.

  • While the Exploratorium is oriented toward science and exploration for children, the Thursday evening events such as the Tactile Dome and After Dark attract an adult crowd.

  • First-time visitors are often overwhelmed by the sheer number of things to do; plan an early arrival to experience as much as possible.

  • The on-site restaurant, Seaglass, is very popular—dine after 1pm to avoid the longest lines.

  • The Exploratorium is fully accessible to wheelchairs and strollers; loaner wheelchairs are available for free at the information desk.

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How to Get There

The Exploratorium is served by MUNI’s E and F streetcars. Bus lines 10 and 12 stop a few blocks over, and the Embarcadero BART station is about a 15-minute walk away. If you must drive, there's a paid parking lot at Embarcadero and Green Street, and limited street parking along the Embarcadero before 3pm.

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When to Get There

The Exploratorium is open daily from 10am to 5pm; in summer (July through August) it’s typically open from 6pm to 10pm on Thursdays for adults, and from 5pm to 9pm on Fridays for all ages. It’s an incredibly popular place, and on weekdays it’s often bustling with school and camp groups; late afternoons tend to be quieter.

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From the Palace of Fine Arts to Pier 15

The brain child of Frank Oppenheimer, the Exploratorium originally opened in 1969 at the Palace of Fine Arts, the former site of California’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915. Oppenheimer’s passion for teaching with hands-on activities and experiences helped transform science education. Working closely with artists, educators, and developers, this first-of-its-kind science museum invited visitors to use more than their eyes to learn. The Exploratorium moved to its new location on the Embarcadero’s Pier 15 in 2013.

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Exploratorium