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Exploratorium’s New Waterfront Home on Track for a Spring 2013 Opening

For Immediate Release:
February 07, 2012

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Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367

Exploratorium’s New Waterfront Home on Track for a Spring 2013 Opening

The $220 million construction project for Pier 15, the new home of the Exploratorium, is on track for a Spring 2013 opening. Developed in two phases – starting with Pier 15 – this future nine-acre campus at Embarcadero and Green Streets is a ten-minute walk from the San Francisco Ferry Building and will unite the Exploratorium’s educational activities under one roof, as well as offer significant room for expansion into Pier 17 in future decades. The Exploratorium will remain open to the public in the Palace of Fine Arts through January 3, 2013.

“The Exploratorium unleashed a bold revolution when it opened in 1969, leaving both classrooms and the museum field changed forever. It was the first place that visitors could play with science and art, to see, hear, smell and feel the world around them. It became the leader in the science center movement globally and the best science museum in the world,” said Dennis Bartels, PhD, Executive Director of the Exploratorium. “Well, we are about to multiply our impact several fold.”

The project places the Exploratorium at the heart of the waterfront, at the gateway to the City and at the nexus of public transit, radically improving educational access to all. Learning will happen everywhere. With room inside and out, Pier 15 triples the space, doubles the number of classrooms and triples the Exploratorium’s capacity for teacher development. The Learning Commons, Learning Studio and theater provide additional places for the general community and educational professionals to gather and learn.

Construction details:

  • Pier 15’s budget, including endowment and programmatic costs, is $300 million.

  • The ground breaking was celebrated on Tuesday, October 19, 2010.

  • Refurbishing and seismically upgrading the historic pier that spans the length of almost three football fields over the water is a major engineering feat. Engineers drove piles underneath the bay to replace, repair and/or seismically upgrade, hundreds of dilapidated pilings and the substructure, some which date to the early 20th century.

  • Four sets of massive steel pilings, 135 feet long and 6 feet in diameter, were installed as part of the seismic upgrade. At the same time, construction crews demolished the non-historic building at the east end that connected Piers 15 and 17, and have completed the exterior structure for the New Bay Observatory at the East end of Pier 15, at the water’s edge. They also began work in the interior of Pier 15,  preserving its impressive truss structure, which covers the 820 ft. length of the pier — the equivalent of a New York City block.

New building:

  • Indoor space of 330,000 square feet, includes quintessential Exploratorium exhibits in four galleries; space for professional teacher training, after-school programs, educational camps and lifelong learning; a theater; the Exploratorium store; and a café.

  • Outdoor space of more than 1.5 acres of free, public open space, including new displays that combine the Exploratorium’s interactive exhibits with direct visitor experience of the surrounding bay and city.

  • Bay Observatory building: the only completely new construction at the eastern end of Pier 15, is a mostly glass structure – conceived like an aperture – through which spectacular views of the bay will complement a new gallery, outdoor terrace and a second bayside-café.

Designed by San Francisco-based EHDD Architecture, the project will take advantage of the piers’ location on the bay to become a LEED Gold facility. The Exploratorium’s goal is to become a net zero energy facility, the largest, net-zero energy museum in the US, if not the world.

See also in the press kit: Facts of Interest for additional information.

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Contact: Linda Dackman (415) 561-0363/ Leslie Patterson (415) 561-0377

Hours of Operation & New Evening Hours
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm;  every Thursday evening adults only (ages 18 and up) 6pm-10pm.

$29 for adults, with lower rates for SF Bay Area residents, youth, seniors, students, teachers and the disabled. Tickets available at the door and advance tickets available online at www.exploratorium.edu/visit/tickets.

Getting Here
The Exploratorium is easily accessible by public transit. Convenient parking is available nearby. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit/location-directions

About the Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is the global leader in informal learning, igniting curiosity and inspiring creativity in people of all ages. The world-renowned science museum creates original, interactive exhibits, on display at more than 1,000 science centers, museums and public spaces around the world. Dedicated to education reform in and out of the classroom, the Exploratorium is a premier professional development center for educators and a creator of award-winning educational resources. Since 1969, the Exploratorium has influenced generations of entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, teachers, students, children, museum professionals and everyday doers, reaching nearly 180 million people annually from around the globe. On April 17, 2013, the Exploratorium opened at Pier 15 in the heart of San Francisco's Embarcadero, where it will celebrate a new era of experiences that encourage critical thinking and awaken wonder for generations to come. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit.

Pier 15
San Francisco
California 94111
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Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367