Spelunk through total darkness and discover the power of the sense of touch
When the Tactile Dome opened at the Exploratorium in 1971, the word visitors used to describe it was “transcendent.” Although we no longer call things “groovy” and few people wear bellbottoms any more, the renovated and rebuilt Tactile Dome is still a transcendent experience – now maybe more than ever before.
Opening October 30, 2013, the new Tactile Dome continues to challenge visitors to negotiate its pitch-black, maze-like chambers and elusively familiar textures by their sense of touch alone, just as it has for forty-two years. Like the hundreds of other exhibits that were updated for their new home at Pier 15, the new Tactile Dome has been built while still preserving the spirit of its past, and its reopening is one of the final groovy steps in the Exploratorium’s relocation. For information on Tactile Dome reservations and rates, go to /visit/west-gallery/tactile-dome.
The Tactile Dome was designed and built in 1971 by August Coppola (father of the actor Nicolas Cage and brother of the film director Francis Ford Coppola) as a geodesic dome where visitors find their way through pitch-black passages and experiences using only their sense of touch. For sighted visitors, vision is the dominant sense – and when it’s eliminated, new, rarely-experienced aspects of perception come to the fore. Click here for an excerpt from the original press release, which gives a glimpse into the history of the Dome.
2013 Tactile Dome hours and fees are as follows:
Admission to The Tactile Dome is $15/general and $12/member and is sold in addition to general admission to the museum. Advance reservations are strongly recommended due to limited capacity and high demand. Tickets are non-refundable and not transferable to another person, date, or time.
The Dome operates every day the museum is open to the public with the exception of prescheduled maintenance periods and unexpected events that may warrant closing of the Dome for a short period of time.
Each Dome session lasts approximately 1 hour with an individual trip taking 15-20 minutes depending on the number of tickets sold, the speed of the individuals, and the composition of the group. In most cases guests are able to take two trips through the Dome in the allotted time, but only one trip is guaranteed.
Dome sessions begin at 10:15am, 11:30am, 12:45pm, 2:15pm, 3:30pm and 4:45pm. The Dome is also operated on a drop-in basis during adults-only After Dark events--tickets for these events are sold on site only on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Dome is not recommended for persons with neck, back, or knee injuries; claustrophobia; fear of the dark; or women in their last trimester of pregnancy. Youth must be at least 7 years old to participate. The Dome is an active experience so dress accordingly.