Family Travel: Hands on Science at the New Exploratorium. Photo credit: ganesha.isis
The Exploratorium has long been one of my favorite museums.  I first visited as a kid and remember loving how the hands-on exhibits answered questions that I had pondered on for years.  Long before the days of "googling" your answer, the Exploratorium offered answers in a way that I loved as a child.  I've always been a fan of learning, but even for those who are less interested in the hows and whys of this world, the Exploratorium seems to draw out a curiosity that you didn't even know existed.  In spite of our current internet technology, actually digging your hands, feet, arms, and legs in the reality of scientific principles is much more vivid than reading the answer from a search engine.  Explore the Exploratorium and walk away with knowledge, critical thinking, and a day full of amazing fun!
 
In April 2013, the Exploratorium opened at its new location on San Francisco's Embarcadero: Pier 15.   Ideally situated at a public transportation hub, the new space spans 330,000 square feet, three times more than the museum's original space at the Palace of Fine Arts.  A public plaza and lobby, which also boasts a Bay History Walk, outdoor exhibits, a cafe, and the Exploratorium store have also been added on site.  The new building utilizes green design plans including a bay water heating and cooling system, rooftop arrays, rainwater collection, and high performance windows.  These features work together to ensure that the museum operates at a net zero energy goal.  More than 1000 interactive exhibits were designed and built on site for the re-open including explorations in biology, physics, listening, cognition, visual perception, social behavior, and environment.  The first-class exhibits here are so cutting edge, 80% of other science centers across the world use exhibits, programs, and ideas from the Exploratorium.  In addition to the six main gallery halls, the Exploratorium also hosts a 200-seat theater, classrooms, labs, and workshops.
 
Admission prices are hefty for adults start at $25, although CityPASS users generate the best value.  Don't be swayed by the high ticket cost, this is one museum that is well worth the price tag.
 
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Photo credit: ganesha.isis

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