The San Francisco Exploratorium: A Cathedral to Art and Science

  • Dec 29, 2013 12:02pm GMT

Yesterday, I took my family for our inaugural visit to the Exploratorium's stunning new Pier 15/17 location. [Full disclosure, I worked as an orange jacketed "Explainer" at the Exploratorium at its Palace of the Fine Arts location when I was a senior in high school and am still a huge fan. Look for the now orange-vested explainer in the photos.]

I have to say that I was duly impressed! The new space is beautiful and does a great job of bringing together the Exploratorium's foci: Art and Science. Or maybe it is using art to teach science? Or maybe it is using science to show the power of art? Whatever it is, it is a lot of fun for the whole family.

From the sundial on the sidewalk out front where YOU cast the shadow, to the fog bridge, to the columns of water that mark the height of the tide each hour, to the large tree that you can walk through it was a delight for the senses and a great way to make science not only fun, but engaging and beautiful.

A long time favorite exhibit of mine is a beach ball sized glass "planet" filled with a blue viscous liquid that when you spin the planet creates the vortices and weather patterns we see on Jupiter and the likes. It is a great piece and it turns out something you can re-create at home with Ivory dish soap and food coloring. This is definitely a Makers paradise! (Note the picture of their fabrication shop which is open so visitors can connect with the people and machines that create the exhibits).

There is even a Slinky Treadmill.

This is what I was able to take in the 1.5 hours we had before our toddlers melted down. Glad I have a membership so I can go back for more.

I decided to take a few photos to share a glimpse of the magic with you, but of course, for the full effect you just have to go yourself!