The Exploratorium is currently rated the #1 museum in San Francisco by TripAdvisor users.
The Exploratorium's 2019 summer exhibition, Self, Made,received the American Alliance of Museums Excellence in Exhibitions and Exhibition Label Writing Award.
Middle Ground,a project developed by the Exploratorium in collaboration with the San Francisco Public Library, received the 2020 SF Design Week's Civic and Government Award.
Middle Ground also received an honorable mention in Fast Complany's 2020 Innovations by Design Awards.
The Art of Curiosity (2019) received 2nd prize in AAM's Books Award and was distinguished for its Innovations in Print.
Exploratorium named among American Mensa’s Top Ten Favorite Science Museums 2013
The American Institute of Architects, San Francisco Chapter, presented the Exploratorium with its Special Achievement Award for the new location in 2013
National Science Board 2011 Public Service Science Award for Exploratorium's contributions to public understanding of science and engineering (May 2011), one of the most prestigious national honors in science given to an organization, short of a Presidential Medal. The NSB is the 25-member policymaking body for the National Science Foundation and advisory body to the president and Congress on science and engineering issues.
The Exploratorium is one of seven museums to receive distinct Google Awards (April 2011). This award supports the Exploratorium’s future home on the waterfront at Pier 15 and 17 in San Francisco, radically improving educational access for all when it opens in 2013. For Google, museums do more than entertain and inspire. Many Googlers cite their own experiences in science museums as a positive influence on their decision to become engineers.
Awarded the prestigious 2010 Thea Classic Award by the Themed Entertainment Association for having "pioneered the 'interactive exhibit movement'” and "set a new direction for science education."
One of America's 12 best nonprofits — the only museum and only west-coast organization — as described in the book, Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits, 2007
Best of the Best Bronze Medal in the Destinations category, Bay Area Parent, 2012
Museums and the Web 2013 Conference awarded the Exploratorium’s Sound Uncovered app a Best of the Web Award in the mobile category. In 2011, it gave the Exploraorium website its Best of the Web “Long-Lived” Award.
Named in the Top 20 Twitter Profiles for Non Profits, 2011 by Social Media Delivered
Named in the 50 Essential Twitter Feeds for STEM educators, 2011 by BestCollegesOnline.com
CBS Bay Area named the Exploratorium one of its 10 Must-See Museums for kids, 2011
Core77 awarded the Exploratorium the 2011 Design Award for its Tinkering Studio, notable for its design education initiatives, stating “The Tinkering Studio provided a rich experience in practice to a cross section of the population who would not have that opportunity otherwise.”
In October 2011, the Exploratorium's "Color Uncovered” iPad app placed #1 in free Educational iPad apps, and within the top 10 ranking for free downloads overall on iTunes. Color Uncovered has been downloaded over one million times since its launch and was ranked in 120 app stores around the world.
At the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) named the Exploratorium website one of the 2011 Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning. The list is considered the “best of the best” by AASL.
'Best Biotech' Website by Genetic Engineering and Biology News, 2011 http://www.genengnews.com/issue/best-of-the-web/161/
The Exploratorium's Total Solar Eclipse: Live from China website won the gold award in the "Community" category, and the Ice Stories: Dispatches from Polar Scientists won the silver award in the "Online Presence" category, at the 2009 American Association of Museums' (AAM) Media and Technology Committee MUSE awards.
Homeschool.com named the Exploratorium's website one of the "Top 100 Educational Websites for 2009."
In 2008, Parents magazine named the Exploratorium a Top 10 Museum for Kids (rated #2). And the Exploratorium is not even a kids' museum!
U.S. News & World Report rated the Exploratorium #3 in their list of things to do in San Francisco in 2008.
The 2008 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge awarded Linda Nye and the Exploratorium Visualization Laboratory first place in the Illustration category for "Zoom Into the Human Bloodstream." (Sponsored by Science magazine and the National Science Foundation.
In 2008, www.dailycognition.com listed the Exploratorium as one of the world’s most famous museums, alongside the Louvre and the Smithsonian.
Exploratopia, the Exploratorium's hands-on book of experiments, won the 2008 AAAS/Subaru SB&smp;F Prize for Excellence in Science Books, in the Hands-On category.
The Exploratorium Science of Gardening Web site was awarded the Muse Gold Award for Interpretation and Education and Science in 2006 at the American Association of Museums conference.
The Student & Youth Travel Association (SYTA) awarded the Exploratorium the Mosaic Award in 2006 for diversity of staff and audience.
In 2005, results of a poll were announced at the 4th Science Center World Congress in Rio, where science center staff from five continents met. Science center directors ranked the Exploratorium the number one science center in the world.
The Exploratorium Web site was selected by distinguished author James Lerman as one of the best Web sites for teachers on the Internet today for his book 101 Best Web Sites for Secondary Teachers, published by the International Society for Technology in Education (2005).
The Exploratorium has received five Webby Awards, four for Best Science Website (1997, 1998, 1999, and 2004) and one for Best Education Website (2002). In 2007, the Total Solar Eclipse: Live From Turkey broadcast won the People’s Voice Webby Award for Events & Live Broadcasts.
The Exploratorium's Global Climate Change site received a Pirelli INTERNETional Award in 2003 for environmental publishing.
In June 2010, Exploratorium Director Dr. Dennis Bartels was one of two educators named to the Oceans Research and Resources Advisory Panel (ORRAP). In accordance with the Administration’s Ocean Action Plan, ORRAP provides independent advice and guidance to the over 20 federal agencies of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program.
In 2009, Exploratorium Director Dr. Dennis Bartels was appointed to the Education Working Group for the President’s Council of Advisory on Science and Technology.
In 2008, Exploratorium staff member and multimedia artist Walter Kitundu received a MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as the "genius" award.
On October 10th, 2007, Dr. Robert Semper, the Exploratorium's Executive Associate Director, representing the Association of Science-Technology Centers, testified at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology hearing: Assessment of the National Science Board's Action Plan for STEM Education.
In March 2006, Dr. Dennis Bartels, Executive Director of the Exploratorium was invited by the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to serve on the National Science Foundation Education and Resources Directorate Advisory Committee.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has awarded the distinction of Fellow (Education section) to Rob Semper, Exploratorium Executive Associate Director. AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and the publisher of the journal Science.
Charles Carlson, Exploratorium Director of Life Sciences, was named to the National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine Long Range Planning Panel.
In 2003, Paul Doherty, Exploratorium Senior Scientist, was awarded NSTA’s Faraday Award for excellence as a science communicator. In 2002, he was awarded the Distinguished Teacher Award by the American Association of Physics Teachers, Northern California Section.