Exploring the new Exploratorium

Family photo in the Exploratorium sign.

Family photo in the Exploratorium sign.

In five simple words — the new Exploratorium is amazing.  It moved from the Presidio to Pier 15 in the Embarcadero which is super easy to get to from the East Bay. A short BART ride and a fifteen minute walk (or F street car ride) and you are there!

Because our girls participated in the SF Munchkin Run on Father’s Day, we received passes to the Exploratorium and we were fortunate enough to get in for free! Typically, adults are $25, kids 6-17 are $19, but if you are lucky enough to live in one of the nine Bay Area counties adults are $20 and kids are $15. Kids 5 and under are always free. Glad our two girls still fit into that last free category!

We had so much fun exploring and got so many fabulous photos, that it’s hard to narrow them down here for a post, but I’ll try my best!

Maisy playing in the fog tunnel.

Maisy playing in the fog tunnel.

Maisy and I checking out  the wave.

Maisy and I checking out  the wave.

Maren checking out the interactive map of the bay area.

Maren checking out the interactive map of the bay area.

Maisy drawing her representation of the bay.

Maisy drawing her representation of the bay.

Maren playing with light in the monochromatic room.

Maren playing with light in the monochromatic room.

The family checking themselves out in 3D.

The family checking themselves out in 3D.

Maisy "hearing" music by biting on a metal rod (w. a straw covering) and plugging her ears.  My personal favorite!  It's all about vibrations.

Maisy "hearing" music by biting on a metal rod (w. a straw covering) and plugging her ears.  My personal favorite!  It's all about vibrations.

The girls and me playing with overlapping mirror images.

The girls and me playing with overlapping mirror images.

Colorful video play= Dancing girls.

Colorful video play= Dancing girls.

The girls playing with sound delay and how it affects speach. 

The girls playing with sound delay and how it affects speach. 

The Low Down:  The Exploratorium was pretty crowded when we went last Sunday. I don't think I'd return on a weekend, if I could avoid it. We also made the mistake of bringing a stroller.  They are working on getting a stroller check, but they don’t have one yet. We were constantly dodging crowds, strollers and all of the amazing interactive exhibits.  We ended up just stashing it in random corners for chunks of time.  The Tactile Dome is also not yet completed (scheduled to be finished later this summer), but we couldn’t do that with the kids anyway. Despite the setbacks, we had a great family day and we were glad we went.

We were there for five hours which seemed like a very long time, though we could imagine easily spending twice the time.  There are exhibits for all ages, and Maisy, Maren, Todd and I were all wonderful explorers. It was some work for Todd and I to follow the wonder of our 2 and 5 year olds, while also trying to learn and explore ourselves.

We tried to make our escape a few times, yet each time we were sucked into another exhibit! That’s the sign of a fabulous museum.  Even after we got OUT of the Exploratorium, there were exhibits outside, so it was hard to even leave the outside space.

What we learned about visiting:  Next time we go, I’d like to take one of the girls on a special date by themselves so each child can get the most from their experience and we can really focus on their individual needs and wonder.

On the way home, I was glad we stopped by the Ferry Building at Gott’s for dinner and a drink (because I needed a nice wind down after all that). I was definitely not cooking dinner after that long day of thinking, explaining and chasing!  

Another option was the Seaglass Restaurant with family friendly food and adult friendly beverages inside the Exploratorium. We didn't sample the food, though we did eye the bar as we walked through.

Free Days:  The Exploratorium used to have free days each month, but now they have limited it to: Engineering Day (Sept. 29, 2013), Founder’s Day (Oct. 13, 2013,) Groundhog Day (Feb. 2, 2014), Pi Day (Mar. 14, 2014) and Mother’s Day (May 11, 2014).

Have you been yet?  What is your take?  Be sure to subscribe via email, follow on Facebook and on Pinterest so you don’t miss any fun updates! Thanks for reading.

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becky

I'm a part-time work from home, full time stay at home mom to two daughters and an Australian Labradoodle puppy. We are enjoying our last year before big girl school, playing with friends, swapping childcare to get the job done and getting crafty when we can fit it in. We live together in a wonderful community that we are truly thankful for and proud to be a part of. It takes a village and this is ours.