- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Mobile AppDownload Fodor's City Guide App for FREE!
Walking into this fascinating "museum of science, art, and human perception" is like visiting a mad-scientist's laboratory. Most of the exhibits are supersize, and you can play with everything. After moving into larger digs on the Embarcadero in April 2013, the Exploratorium has even more space for its signature experiential exhibits, including a brand-new Tinkering Studio and a glass Bay Observatory building, where the exhibits inside help visitors better understand what they see outside.
Quintessential exhibits remain: Get an Alice in Wonderland feeling in the distortion room, where you seem to shrink and grow as you walk across the slanted, checkered floor. In the shadow room, a powerful flash freezes an image of your shadow on the wall; jumping is a favorite pose. "Pushover" demonstrates cow-tipping, but for people: stand on one foot and try to keep your balance while a friend swings a striped panel in front of you (trust us, you're going to fall).
More than 650 other exhibits focus on sea and insect life, computers, electricity, patterns and light, language, the weather, and more. "Explainers"—usually high-school students on their days off—demonstrate cool scientific tools and procedures, like DNA sample-collection and cow-eye dissection. One surefire hit is the pitch-black, touchy-feely Tactile Dome (extra fee; reservations required), newly built in the Embarcadero space. In this geodesic dome strewn with textured objects, you crawl through a course of ladders, slides, and tunnels, relying solely on your sense of touch. Lovey-dovey couples sometimes linger in the "grope dome," but be forewarned: the staff will turn on the lights if necessary. Patrons must be at least seven years old to enter the Tactile Dome, and the space is not for the claustrophobic. Check the Exploratorium's website for ticket prices.
- Address: Piers 15-17, Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA, 94111
- Phone: 415/561-0360 general information; 415/561-0362 Tactile Dome reservations
- Cost: $25
- Hours: Tues. and Thurs.--Sun. 10--5, Wed. 10--10; Thurs. 6 pm--10 pm ages 18 and over only
- Website: www.exploratorium.edu
- Location: On the Waterfront
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- $140* & up -- Nationwide Flights on American, R/T American Airlines
- $211 & up -- 4.5 Star The Fairmont San Francisco, Save 35% Expedia
- $134 & up -- San Francisco Union Square Hotel, 50% Off BookIt.com
- $128 & up -- San Francisco Hotel w/Breakfast, 45% Off — $128 BookIt.com
- $199 -- San Francisco Hotel near Fisherman's Wharf — $199 Courtyard San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf
Just thought I'd post our trip report from this past weekend at the Big Sur Marathon. Read more
I’m just going to state the nitty-gritty to keep this post short. Read more
Following a conference in Corte Madera the end of June, DH and I will be spending the first 8 days of July in northern CA/Redwood area and at Lassen Volcano. Read more
· News & Features
The James Beard award winners were just announced this week, so the race is on to try and get a table... Read more
From a hidden drum circle in Washington DC to awesome sushi in Chicago's Ukrainian neighborhood, we've... Read more
You could go to San Francisco ten times and still not see it all, so we're here to help curate your nex... Read more