I’ve been meaning to visit the new Exploratorium since it opened its new location at Pier 15. However, since its new address sits between some crowded tourist hotspots, I never felt a visit was worth the hassle. But when you have friends that are engineers with 2 toddler daughters and are visiting the city on Pi Day, there’s nowhere else more perfect to take them than the Exploratorium.

Getting there
The Exploratorium
Pier 15 on the Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94111

I was thoroughly impressed with how easy it was to find parking. We arrived about 10 minutes before the museum opened and, despite being a free admission day, there was plenty of street parking. Our friends parked in the Embarcadero Center for a $10 flat fee with validation. If you’re a visitor and staying in downtown, I highly recommend taking the Muni’s F light rail line for a chance to ride in a vintage streetcar.

There are 4 more Free Days for 2015:

  • Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 10, 2015)
  • Engineering Day (Sunday, September 27, 2015)
  • Founder’s Day (Sunday, October 11, 2015)
  • Winter Holiday (Sunday, December 6, 2015)

Your family can also get in for free with the San Francisco Library Discover and Go. If you can’t make it on the free days or get the Family Pass, there is a Bay Area resident discount where admission fees range from $17-$22. Children under 3 are always free.

The Experience
I think the Exploratorium is a great combination of learning and playing! Caleb is at the age where he’s still learning how his body and the world works so I love that the all exhibits are hands on. Instead of just staring at an exhibit, he was able to use his senses (except taste) to build, bang, throw, jump, climb, and basically exert his energy. Some might argue with me but I really feel that this is best way for a toddler to learn. Caleb explored, discovered, and experienced the exhibits himself which helped him learn how things actually function.

With these tiles, I like to think Caleb was learning different shapes, colors, and sizes as well as how objects fit together. This exhibit also expands his creativity as he was building a larger structure with all those tiles.

Caleb really learned his body limitations with the drums. He kept banging until he fell down in exhaustion!

These chairs give him some perspective of his own size! Either that or he just thought it was fun to climb on.

This wasn’t an exhibit. It was just a wall to separate the entrance from the museum interior. The kids that walked past the window greeted Caleb and he excitedly waved back. That sure was a fun social interaction for a toddler! 

This exhibit introduced him to something new – mist! He was pretty baffled! I love seeing Caleb discover something new for the first time. His reactions are so hilarious, and yet so precious.

These are just some of the exhibits that the Exploratorium offers. If you haven’t already, I hope you’d consider stopping by! Let me know what you think.


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