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Last updated: 26 June, 2023

Located along the city’s Embarcadero waterfront, this hands-on museum of science, art, and human perception founded by physicist and educator Frank Oppenheimer.

The interactive and experimental space features more than 600 exhibits and seven galleries, both indoor and outdoor. Whether it’s creating the illusions of flying and levitating with the Exploratorium’s anti-gravity mirror, or picking up sound vibrations through your teeth, you’ll experience endless wonder – all while overlooking San Francisco Bay.

Look out for the ping pong balls winding their way through artist Scott Weaver’s replica of San Francisco, made entirely of toothpicks, and the 27-foot-tall wind harp (outdoors).

Logistics

Price from: £33
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The Exploratorium is a 10-minute walk north of the San Francisco Ferry Building, which is accessible via the BART and Muni Embarcadero stops, as well as the San Francisco Bay Ferry from Oakland.

It’s easy to reach by bicycle, and there are numerous for-pay parking garages in the vicinity.

After, grab refreshments overlooking San Francisco Bay at the long-running Pier 23 Cafe, just a few minutes’ walk north of the museum.

When to do it

The museum is open all year round, Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Monday.

After Dark nights take place every Thursday evening, and include unique programming (e.g. learning about fungi), craft cocktails, and exhibit access. Age 18+.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Exploratorium General Admission Ticket

San Francisco

Exploratorium General Admission Ticket
Experience the Exploratorium, the award-winning 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 more than 650 interactive exhibits—indoors and out—and explore eye-opening ways to understand the world around you. Journey through total darkness in our twisting, turning, world-famous Tactile Dome. 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 (hours vary).  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 plus there's parking nearby.

Price: $40

Min age: 4

Rating 4.69 / 5 [118 ratings]

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Exploratorium Admission Ticket - After Dark Thursday Evenings (ages 18+)

San Francisco

Exploratorium Admission Ticket - After Dark Thursday Evenings (ages 18+)
Things Look Different After Dark. See for Yourself. 6-10pm every Thursday night at the Exploratorium. Adults-only (18+). Lose yourself in more than 650 interactive exhibits exploring perception, art and science. Grab your friends and a drink and get immersed in everything from a fog bridge, to a large-scale kaleidoscope, dazzling light displays, mind-bending mirrors and more. Journey through total darkness in our twisting, turning, world-famous Tactile Dome. Or savor adults-only programming: featuring unique guest speakers, great music, cutting-edge films and one-of-a-kind activities. It'll change how you think about the world around you. But don't take our word for it—see for yourself. The Exploratorium is located at Pier 15 on San Francisco's Embarcadero – just minutes away from the Embarcadero BART Station, Pier 39 and the Ferry Building.

Price: $20

Min age: 18

Rating 4.57 / 5 [33 ratings]

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Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

San Francisco

California, United States of America (USA)

Early morning low fog at Golden Gate Bridge

A beautiful bayside city with home-grown authenticity, charmingly unique neighbourhoods and excellent locally-driven food. Home to the magnificent red-ochre Golden Gate Bridge and the world’s most infamous prison, Alcatraz.