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“Huge and fun for all ages”
Review of Exploratorium

Exploratorium
Book In Advance
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$29.95*
and up
Exploratorium General Admission
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$15.00*
and up
Exploratorium Admission: Thursday Evening Happy Hour
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$89.00*
and up
Viator Exclusive: San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Plus Bike & Bay Cruise
Ranked #11 of 550 things to do in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Experience the Exploratorium, a hands-on museum of science, art, and human perception that's dedicated to the excitement of experimentation, the pleasure of discovery, and the power of play. Indulge your curiosity in over 600 exhibits-indoors and out-and explore eye-opening ways to understand the world around you. Don't miss the iconic Tactile Dome, where you can take an interactive excursion in total darkness using your sense of touch as your only guide (be sure to make a reservation in advance). There's also a unique museum store plus two delicious places to eat: the SeaGlass restaurant, which has a stunning Bay view, and the Seismic Joint cafe. Located at Pier 15 along San Francisco's Embarcadero between Pier 39 and the Ferry Building, the Exploratorium is easy to get to by public transportation (the F-Market & Wharves Historic Streetcar stops out front and it's a ten-minute walk from BART or MUNI) plus there's parking nearby. Tickets are available online (recommended) or at the door.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Chicago, Illinois
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Huge and fun for all ages”
Reviewed April 8, 2014

The exploratorium is gigantic and has tons of fun stuff to do. We were 4 adults and we had a blast. My only reservation is that its pretty expensive--$25 per person, which surprised e. But it was huge and had so much to do, so ultimately, worth it.

Visited March 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Wow and Wow!”
Reviewed April 7, 2014

If you love science museums like I do, you will not want to miss the Exploratorium. My 15 year old son and I spent over four hours here, but we could have spent all day. Optical/vision area was probably the most fun for us, but we loved it all. The outdoors area on the pier is beautiful... make sure to get your hand stamped and step out... there are some fun exhibits out here as well (both sides).

I was happy I purchased our tickets online and could breeze past the 8 - 10 min. purchase line on this Thursday morning.

We took the MUNI "F" train down the street to Pier 39 for lunch (it passes in front every 7 min. or so) and walked back (took about 13 minutes to walk back). They have restaurants on site, but Pier 39 is always fun (for both parents and kids).

Staff was very friendly. I can't wait to return to see all the exhibits we didn't get to! Thanks Exploratorium!

Visited April 2014
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Thank EPMom4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chicago
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“Pick your time”
Reviewed April 6, 2014

The newly moved Exploratorium is not cheap ($25 when we were there), but it was for us a pretty good experience. It isn't exactly a science "museum", they really don't tell you anything about WHY things work. Rather, you are there to do hands on things and see for your self what things "DO". Frankly we'd like a bit more explanation than what we found, but this should not keep you from going there.

We arrived early in the day and stayed until closing. In the morning there were huge numbers of children, MOST of whom raced around from exhibit to exhibit just to USE them but not UNDERSTAND them. It was a joy to see the occasional child who thoughtfully stayed at an exhibit to LEARN.

We say "pick your time" since on the day we were there a good number of the rambunctious young crowd had left, leaving more time at an exhibit for the people who want to spend more time with what the place has to offer.

We do think it is a definite must see.

Visited March 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
san francisco
Level 5 Contributor
74 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Many amazing exhibits - somewhat overwhelming”
Reviewed April 6, 2014

There are an amazing amount of high-quality exhibits. Mostly hands-on. A person/child could easily spend 10 minutes or more on many of the exhibits to really get the most out of understanding the point/scientific principles involved. Consequently, there is no chance of getting to see everything, or even close to everything in one trip.

The drawback is the crowds - the place is extremely crowded on weekends in that not only do you have to wait for exhibits but sometimes it feels like rush hour on a subway platform. I don't know what it is like during the daytime when school is in session but I assume its a completely different experience. The place is made for kids but its an odd combination. The exhibits are often quite sophisticated but the Exploratorium is full of strollers and toddlers and five year olds. Again, the drawback is that the kids just run around randomly pushing buttons and playing with exhibits in ways in which they weren't intended. Personally, I would not bring a child under 5 here. It really is for older children.

Visited March 2014
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Thank aatimes2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level 6 Contributor
136 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“A lot to see and do - but well worth it”
Reviewed April 5, 2014 via mobile

Finished up our 2 day visit today. There is simply an overwhelming amount of cool things to do here so we split it up into 2 partial days. You could probably do it in one, but after a while you start to suffer from sensory overload. It's in a great location on Pier 15 with stunning views of the Bay, Treasure Island and the Bay Bridge. It's a must for locals and tourists alike.

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