The Exploratorium is a museum of science, art, and human perception. It’s full of interactive exhibits that are designed to stimulate all the senses, engage visitors in hands-on learning experiences, and inspire people to see the world with new eyes.

It has been described as “a cross between Disney World’s Epcot Center and New York’s Museum of Modern Art.” The Exploratorium is also an accredited school for teachers from elementary through high school.


This place was founded by physicist Frank Oppenheimer in 1969. The museum was originally located on the Palace of Fine Arts rotunda, but it had to move after ten years because its popularity increased so much that all space there became too crowded for visitors and staff alike.

The new location is also waterfront property – a bayside pier that used to be an army base before World War II. Visitors can enter through the dock just like they did back then or via Pier 15 if they prefer access near ground level.

They’re Going Strong!

Today, over 850 people work at this awesome place including scientists, teachers, and engineers who have been involved in designing exhibits since the 1970s when the present building opened up. In fact, more than 13 million children and adults have taken part in its educational programs.

The museum has become so popular that it’s now one of the most visited museums on the West Coast, both nationally and internationally known. An average of over 800 people visit each day – no wonder this place is often called “the best science center” around!

What to Expect When You Visit

A better question would be what not to expect? Visitors can try out all sorts of installations like these:

* Virtual Reality Cave where you learn how much your eyes affect sight by wearing virtual reality goggles

* Wave Organ which plays music made from sounds produced naturally within San Francisco Bay itself

* Human Gyroscope lets visitors feel just what it’s like inside a spinning gyroscope (while staying safely on the ground)

* A rumbling three-story ramp that mimics a lunar surface as visitors climb up and down with their feet firmly planted on special pads below.

This museum is an incredible place, offering lots of fun things to do for people from all walks of life! Whether you’re young or old, there’s no limit to what can be learned here.

Tips for Visiting PIER 39 on Fisherman’s Wharf
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