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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
MEGA
Adeline_H, Jul 2022
Exploratorium General Admission Ticket
I feel like I could watch the curtains dance for hours on end. Really neat experience over all. Price was good too))
star-5
This is huge ...
Thomas_Y, Jul 2022
Exploratorium General Admission Ticket
This is huge Our son was really excited and enjoyed His favorite part is area 1 It’s good for everyone
star-5
Always something new to learn
Monica_M, Apr 2022
Exploratorium General Admission Ticket
My daughter had never been to the Exploratorium. My son had so much fun showing her his favorite things. They had fun experiencing the new exhibits.
star-5
Valentino's birthday
Cindy_A, Jun 2022
Exploratorium General Admission Ticket
Brought my grandkids for my great grandson a birthday. We stayed till closing. They didn't want to go so I'm sure we will return
star-5
When Can We Come Back?
Margaret_P, Jun 2022
Exploratorium General Admission Ticket
We took our son, his wife & children. It was particularly fun as he has 2 very curious kids but totally different curiosities. The 3 year old had never seen so many things to try & figure out how they worked. The 6 year old danced her life away making all sorts of cool shadows etc
star-5
Very cool
Tina_N, Jun 2022
Exploratorium General Admission Ticket
Very cool, I like the floating heads. My boyfriend was very interested in seeing new science inventions especially the bacteria wall that he calls a world map.
star-5
Learning experience
Grace_U, Mar 2022
Exploratorium General Admission Ticket
Lots of fascinating exhibits even for senior and adult daughter. Reasonably priced. Overall worthwhile to visit for all ages.
star-4
First visit
Romell_R, Mar 2022
Exploratorium General Admission Ticket
First time visiting very good experience. my three-year-old grandkids had a good time. We will return in two years
star-5
Well worth an afternoon!
Paula_L, Feb 2022
Exploratorium General Admission Ticket
I really enjoyed the optical illusion exhibits. So very cool! For parents of children who are interested in pursuing a career in engineering, this venue will inspire them!
star-4
Florida Visitors’ First Visit to the Exploratorium
Lizabeth_M, Mar 2022
Exploratorium General Admission Ticket
Our almost seven year old granddaughter walked in the doors after seeing her ticket scanned and from then on did not stop. We allowed three hours for our visit and still had to practically force her to leave. She went from exhibit to exhibit, staying at her favorites for varying lengths of time. There were no prohibitions on touching anything which was a welcome relief after taking her to art museums. I read in advance that the museum was on three acres of land. Since we stayed in one building the entire time, I am unclear about the Vastness of the Exploratium, but suppose that will be determined on a subsequent village. One terrific feature is the opportunity for students to create drawings in the company of other children. It was such a good feeling to watch children working side by side, cooperating and encouraging one another.
star-5
Exploring. Learning....
Jamie_P, Jan 2022
Exploratorium General Admission Ticket
Exploring. Learning. Smiling. Coffee. Being able to play with things. Little confusing but figured it out
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.
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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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Trip ideas

An Exploratorium Exhibit Developer's Guide to San Francisco

An Exploratorium Exhibit Developer's Guide to San Francisco


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
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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