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Free (Market Days is a free outdoor program. Ticket required for museum admission.)
Note: Visiting dogs are welcome in the Plaza, provided they are on leash. Owners are responsible for behavior and cleanup.
The Exploratorium goes to the dogs with A Breed Apart. Meet some of the hardest working hounds around, such as guide dogs for the blind, and discover what fun-loving pooches can do in circus school or on the dance floor. Join faculty from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine to learn how canine genetics predict behavior, coat color, and the risk of heritable diseases, and what skulls reveal about the history and health of an animal. Find out how Finding Rover helps reunite lost dogs with their owners, and get to know best friends in need of homes from the San Francisco SPCA.
Market Days are free, open-air mini-festivals that bring together museum and community scientists, artists, and educators on third Saturdays from June to October. They feature curated art and science demos, hands-on activities, exhibits, and craft displays.
Dog Skills and Talent Shows
Noon and 2:00 p.m.
Canine contenders demonstrate everything from intelligent disobedience to choreographed dance steps. Hosted by Exploratorium master of ceremonies Ron Hipschman.
Dogs with Jobs:
Dogs for Diabetics
These medical assistance dogs identify changes in their owners’ blood chemistry.
FEMA Search and Rescue
Watch fire dogs climb ladders and demonstrate their tracking skills.
Guide Dogs for the Blind
Guide dogs are trained to disobey unsafe commands—such as stepping into the street when there is oncoming traffic—in order to protect their owners.
Dogs Needing Homes:
San Francisco SPCA Training School and Adoption Center
Talk with volunteers from the SPCA’s dog training, adoption, and foster programs, and introduce yourself to future canine companions.
Canine Circus School
This art school for dogs unleashes the inner performer in even the shyest of students.
Freestyle Dog Dancing
With Lynn Ungar and Piper
In canine musical freestyle, dog and handler perform together in a choreographed routine that combines obedience training, music, timing, showmanship, and lots of treats. Lynn and Piper will dance to Michael Bublé's rendition of "Feelin' Good."
UC Davis Veterinary School
Learn about the evolution of dog skulls with Dr. Frank Verstraete. He’ll discuss reconstructive surgeries and the ways a skull can reveal health and life history. Then meet with Dr. Cecilia Penedo to discover the ways scientists use canine genetics to predict the risk of heritable diseases, coat color, and behaviors such as aggression.
Cow Eye Dissection
With the Explainers
11:30 a.m., 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30 p.m.
Take in a classic Exploratorium demonstration with a dog vision twist.
San Francisco Dogs:
Doggie Diner Heads
Harold Bachman designed these famous dachshunds in the mid-sixties. After the Doggie Diners closed, these particular heads were rescued from oblivion and have since appeared at hundreds of local events.
This local company uses facial recognition software to reunite lost dogs with their owners.