- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Fodor's Northern California 2014
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
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
Just returned from a very short but very enjoyable trip to San Diego, La Jolla, and Del Mar. Read more
Some up front info:
Dates: March 10-25, 2014
3 nights, Glorietta Bay Inn, Coronado
3 nights Borrego Valley Inn, Borrego Springs
3 nights Embassy Suites, Palm Desert
3 nights Embassy Suites, Read more
We are planning to visit the Channel Islands for a day trip in mid June. Read more
· News & Features
With a slew of new openings, the San Francisco restaurant scene is as hot as ever. ... Read more
Book a night at one of these stylish, independently owned boutique hotels, located near major airports,... Read more
As 2013 comes to a close, there's no slowing down for the Bay Area's restaurant scene.... Read more