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A gateway to a world where science, art, and human perception intersect in fascinating and interactive ways

San Francisco’s Exploratorium, located at Pier 15 along the historic waterfront, is not just a museum; it’s a gateway to a world where science, art, and human perception intersect in fascinating and interactive ways. Since its inception in 1969, the Exploratorium has been a cradle of creativity and innovation, offering hands-on experiences that ignite curiosity and transform the way we understand the world around us.


Exploratorium History

Founded by physicist Frank Oppenheimer in 1969, the Exploratorium emerged from the mind-expanding idealism of the 1960s. It was conceived as a place where visitors could explore the world through science, art, and human perception. Rooted in San Francisco’s rich culture of creativity and innovation, the museum has become a beacon of learning and inspiration, influencing not just the Bay Area but the entire world.

Did you know? The Exploratorium is considered the prototype for contemporary science centers worldwide, with eighty percent of science centers globally adopting its exhibits, programs, or ideas.

Exploratorium’s home at Pier 15 
© Exploratorium,
Exploratorium’s home at Pier 15
© Exploratorium,


Exploratorium Today

In its spectacular waterfront location at Pier 15, the Exploratorium continues to be a playground for the curious, blending breathtaking views of San Francisco with over 600 interactive exhibits. Here, visitors of all ages are invited to touch, tinker, and play, delving into experiments that reveal the mysteries of science and art. The museum’s ethos of experimentation and interactivity has solidified its status as an iconic San Francisco attraction.

Not to be Missed

  • Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery & Terrace: Offers unparalleled views of the city skyline, Coit Tower, the Bay Bridge, and Treasure Island.
  • Thursday After Dark Events: An adults-only evening that combines science with cocktails, music, and art, allowing visitors to engage with exhibits in a whole new light.

Location, Address, Website and Hours

  • Location: Pier 15, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111
  • Website: Exploratorium
  • Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; Thursday evenings (18+), 6:00–10:00 p.m.

Fun Fact: The Exploratorium’s unique approach to education and its iconic location have made it a sought-after filming location for documentaries and feature films exploring the convergence of science and society.


Exploratorium’s home at Pier 15 
© Exploratorium,
Exploratorium’s home at Pier 15
© Exploratorium,

Why You Should Visit

The Exploratorium is more than just a museum; it’s an ongoing exploration of science, art, and human perception. It invites visitors to question and explore, making it a vital part of San Francisco’s cultural landscape. Whether you’re engaging with interactive exhibits, enjoying the stunning views from the Bay Observatory, or participating in the After Dark events, the Exploratorium offers endless opportunities for discovery and inspiration.

With its commitment to making science accessible to all, the Exploratorium not only educates but also entertains, proving that learning about the world around us can be as playful as it is profound. As you step into the world of the Exploratorium, you’re not just visiting a museum; you’re embarking on a journey that challenges perceptions, fosters curiosity, and celebrates the joy of discovery. So, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a long-time fan, the Exploratorium at Pier 15 awaits, ready to upend what you think you know and inspire your next brave leap forward.


8 Reasons Why the Exploratorium is San Francisco’s Most Iconic Travel Destination


  1. Why is the Exploratorium the best spot for panoramic views of San Francisco and the Bay? Nestled between the Ferry Building and Fisherman’s Wharf, the Exploratorium offers unmatched vistas from the Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery & Terrace, allowing visitors to experience the city and its landmarks like never before.

  2. What makes the Exploratorium a pillar of innovation and a reflection of San Francisco’s spirit? Born from the revolutionary ideas of the 1960s and founded by Frank Oppenheimer in 1969, the Exploratorium embodies the city’s creative and independent essence, continuing to influence global culture with its commitment to exploration and interactivity.

  3. How has the Exploratorium served as an inspiration across generations? By merging art, science, and human perception through over 600 interactive exhibits, the Exploratorium has become a playground for entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, and educators, challenging and inspiring visitors to view the world from a new perspective.

  4. In what ways is the Exploratorium a dynamic learning environment for all ages? Offering hands-on experiences that spark curiosity and foster deep learning, the Exploratorium proves that the quest for knowledge knows no age limit, evolving constantly to engage minds both young and old.

  5. Why isn’t the Exploratorium just another science museum? Hosting works by some of today’s most innovative artists, the Exploratorium transcends traditional science museum boundaries, creating a space where art and science intersect to provoke thought and creativity.

  6. What makes the Exploratorium appealing to adults as well as children? Not just for kids, the Exploratorium’s After Dark events offer adults a unique blend of science and socializing, featuring cocktails, interactive art, and hands-on activities in an adults-only setting, highlighting its role as a versatile San Francisco attraction.

  7. How does the Exploratorium’s influence extend beyond its physical location? Through its Global Studios, the Exploratorium collaborates on international projects, with eighty percent of science centers worldwide incorporating its exhibits, programs, or ideas, showcasing its global impact.

  8. Can you experience the magic of the Exploratorium without an entrance fee? Yes, with exhibits extending into San Francisco’s Embarcadero, the Exploratorium invites passersby to engage with free interactive art installations and projects, offering a glimpse into the creative wonder that defines the museum.


Nearby Points of Interest

Cable Cars: open to the public since 1873, this fascinating mode of transportation conveys visitors from Market Street to Beach Street, where Fisherman’s Wharf is less than a ten-minute walk away. Be sure to watch operators move the cable car on a turntable to point it in the right direction for the return trip to Market Street!
 this island prison is now a famous tourist attraction, but in its heyday, it housed the era’s most infamous prisoners. Inmates could hear laughter carried across the water from the city, and many attempted the one-mile swim to land. Visit today for a tour!
Famous for its sunbathing sea lions, shopping, and seafood, PIER 39 houses a delightful collection of specialty shops and tourist attractions that will delight the entire family. Eat at the Hard Rock Café, ride the vintage hand-painted carousel, or watch a live magic show with the kids. Don’t forget to visit the Welcome Center for your free coupon booklet!
Aquarium of the Bay: Located at Pier 39, the aquarium is home to sharks, bat rays, sea anemones, and more! Its interactive exhibits allow visitors a rare chance to feel and interact with creatures difficult to access in the wild, such as sea anemones and starfish.
don’t miss the panorama from the 210-foot high tower, which offers views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island, the Bay Bridge, and the San Francisco skyline.
:  Little Italy offers a variety of bars, comedy clubs, and authentic Italian restaurants. Try some focaccia bread, or take a walk in the relaxing green space of Washington Square.
– Mural-filled alley with perfect backdrops for Instagram and Tik Tok. Free and Family friendly. Located at 757 Beach Street near Hyde St.

Exploratorium can be featured on these tours:

City Tour
Lucky Tuk Tuk Sightseeing Tours at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Lucky Tuk Tuk City Tour

Explore beautiful San Francisco in your own private, electric Tuk Tuk! Perfect for families and groups. A personal guide for your party commandeers this modern-day rickshaw at a pace that’s right for you!
Evening Tour
Night View of Bay Bridge and Coit Tower from San Francisco

Night Private Charter San Francisco Lights Tour

Explore San Francisco at night in a cozy, electric Tuk Tuk! Get up close to the glittering lights and go where buses don’t dare in this modern-day rickshaw. Live commentary included!

Jump Aboard these Other Fun Tours and Rentals to Explore San Francisco

Buckle in and explore the city with an entertaining driving tour of or a trip over the Golden Gate Bridge to walk among the .
San Francisco Jeep Tours will drive you and up to 6 guests in a convertible Jeep. You’ll see all the iconic sites and attractions on exclusive routes with a fun and experienced tour guide.

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