We just visited the Exploratorium’s spectacular new waterfront location on Pier 15, overlooking San Francisco Bay – it opened on April 17, 2013. The Exploratorium Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception (a $300m project) is triple the size of its former location at the Palace of Fine Arts and has more outdoor space, offering breathtaking views of S.F. Bay. Guaranteed to bring out the kid in you, the hands-on interactive Exploratorium is a FUN place to explore with your family and friends when visiting San Francisco – check out our favorite things below:
San Francisco Exploratorium
1. Bay Observatory Gallery
Enjoy stunning views from the Bay Observatory Gallery – its floor-to-ceiling windows overlook beautiful San Francisco Bay, Treasure Island and the Oakland Bay Bridge. Take a picture in silhouette as a memento of your visit.
2. Recollections Exhibit (or what we like to call the “Psychedelic Room”) – Video
Go back to the 60s and 70s as you create vivid, life-size, computer-generated images of yourself moving and dancing in psychedelic colors on the wall – it’s a blast from the past!
3. “Rolling Through San Francisco” Toothpick Sculpture
What an amazing piece of work! It took Scott Weaver 37 years to make the “Rolling Through San Francisco” Toothpick Sculpture using 100,000 toothpicks and Elmer’s Glue.
4. Giant Curved Mirror
Originally made for a flight simulator in Germany, this Giant Curved Mirror reflects your image upside down and on the reverse side – fascinating exhibit to see how your perception of movement changes. This makes a fun group photo of your family and friends.
5. Shadow Box
Bring out the kid in you at the Shadow Box exhibit where you can freeze your shadow on the wall and capture a moment in time.
Ever wondered what it would be like to be inside a Kaleidoscope? Now’s your chance. Duck under the three-sided wood exhibit and stand inside the middle of the Kaleidoscope – its three 4’x6′ mirrors, joined at 60 degree angles, reflect your image into infinity. Fun for all ages!
7. Tornado Exhibit
The 18-foot Tornado Exhibit is a long time visitor favorite. Put your hand in the vapor (go ahead… it’s painless) and watch as it disrupts the tornado.
8. Water Fountain Toilet – “a sip of conflict”
Hey… when you’re thirsty! The Water Fountain Toilet (or what we Brits might call the Loo Water Fountain) is unique to say the least. Located by the restrooms (where else?), the exhibit, listed as “a sip of conflict,” sits next to a normal water fountain. Both have perfectly clean, healthy water. It’s fascinating to watch as people choose which water fountain to drink from and then get everyone’s reactions when they choose the toilet. Definitely a photo op! Which one would you choose?
9. Sound Waves – Video
See a Sound Wave in action – watch as invisible sound waves shape a visible surface. Control the sound waves with the touch of a dial (Volume and Frequency).
10. Giant Interactive Clock
Try to be in the vicinity of the 40-ft tall interactive clock as it strikes the hour. Watch as the clock’s mechanism numbers swing out to the side to form the dial as the gong goes off on the hour.
11. Seaglass Restaurant and Bar – “Oysters, Sushi & Cocktails”
Enjoy lunch at the Seaglass Restaurant – floor-to-ceiling windows provide diners with a spectacular bay view. Menu items include everything from sushi, shrimp and oysters, to pizza, tacos, quesadillas, Welsh rarebit, grilled chicken, fresh salads and sandwiches. Watch video below of one chef shucking oysters and another preparing a sushi plate:
The restaurant also features a fun bar (great for people-watching). It’s entertaining too – look down at the glass-top counter and you’ll see a thin pool of dark blue-colored water with bubbling dry ice forming little peaks and mini icebergs… could get quite interesting after a few drinks!
Allow plenty of time – there’s so much to see. Tell us about your favorite Exploratorium science exhibits – we’d love to hear from you.