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The Exploratorium in San Francisco is one of the city's premiere science destinations. It aims to deliver a unique interactive experience that mixes science with art. The Exploratorium is huge with hundreds of interesting exhibits and events to discover.
The Exploratorium was founded in 1969by renowned experimental physicist, researcher and professor, Frank Oppenheimer, the brother of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Throughout his career is an educator, Dr. Oppenheimer was always interested in providing a platform for his students to have a hands-on experience with science. His goal was to find a way to introduce science to the masses, and the Smithsonian proposed him to plan a branch of its museum. However, he refused and decided to work on his own project, called the San Francisco Project. After touring museums in Europe, and thanks to a $50,000 grant from the San Francisco Foundation, the Exploratorium was born and opened at the Palace of Fine Arts.
The Exploratorium attracts over half a million visitors every year and has designed over a thousand exhibits and artwork, and currently has over 400 in display. In its massive 110,000 sq.ft. of space, it offers tons of innovative things to discover about everything from technology, astronomy, culture, the human body and much more. You will need at least a few hours to fully explore it.
The Exploratorium does a great job of making science fun and educational while providing many tactile experiences for children and adults alike. It's also an important arts venue with many pieces of artwork and support for artists. Since 1974, over 300 artists have held residencies at the Exploratorium, with about ten to twenty artists spending two weeks to two years at a time. The artists are completely taken care of by the museum, which pays for their living expenses and offers them a stipend. The artists also have access to the Exploratorium's wide array of workshop, tools and materials to make their art. They also work with the resident scientists at the Exploratorium on various exhibits and to contribute to the museum's development.
If you are in the San Francisco area, be sure to make some time to visit this fascinating attraction. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. General admission prices are $15 for adults 18 to 64, $12 for students with IDs, senior citizens over 65, youth under 13 to 17, and people with disabilities. Children 4 to 12 get in for $10 and children under 3 for free. While the fees are reasonable, you can forgo paying them all together if you go to the Exploratorium on the first Wednesday of every month. However, since it can get very crowded on these days groups of over 10 have to make reservations in advance.
If you want to discover how important your tactile sense is in everyday life, check out the dark interactive exhibit in the Exploratorium's Tactile Dome. Admission to this attraction costs $20, apart from the regular admission fee.
The Exploratorium is located at 3601 Lyon St, at Jefferson St in San Francisco.