Visit California: More to Explore at the Exploratorium's New Pier 15 Home

By Caity Heim

“More” isn’t even close to the amount of space added to the new home of the Exploratorium, which opened its doors to the public April 17 at Pier 15 on San Francisco’s Embarcadero. More space means more exhibits, more learning, more creating and more exploring throughout the 330,000 square foot campus.

The Exploratorium’s 600 exhibits (150 are new) focus on hands-on learning while tying in the surroundings. Visitors can explore ships with the ship tracker at the new Bay Observatory, re-create storms, build and experiment in The Tinkering Studio, play life-size Team Pac Man and more. At the Bechtel Central Gallery within the museum, take a look into physics and human perception of light and sound. The East Gallery lets visitors take part in interactive investigations of living organisms in the bay water, mouse stem cell research and movement of the tides. In the Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery and Terrace, visitors can observe the landscape through an all-glass gallery with a lens to the waterfront and cityscape that focuses on the movement of the sun, tides, currents and more.

Also of note is the Exploratorium’s Bowes Education Center and the Center for Art & Inquiry. The Bowes Education Center expands Exploratorium’s impact on teacher professional development by providing large classrooms throughout the museum to foster connectivity and collaboration with all staff, exhibits and programming. The Center for Art & Inquiry will focus on art as a medium for exploration, questions and discovery.

The new location has a variety of options for visitors to relax and indulge in addition to learning and exploring. Check out the Bayside Restaurant, SEAGLASS, which caters to a wide variety of palates and features seasonal and sustainable cuisine on the waterfront. Or grab a quick snack at the plaza-side café and food carts along the outdoor plaza.

The Exploratorium aims to become the largest net-zero energy use museum in the United States. It relies on state-of-the-art solar panels to generate their energy, which can generate enough energy for 1,000 homes every year. Their heating and cooling system circulates water from the Bay to regulate indoor temperatures and cuts heating and cooling costs drastically.

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