How are you reducing crowds?
We are currently requiring all visitors and members to buy timed tickets in order to manage capacity and create a safe and spacious environment.
Reserve timed tickets
Members should have their digital membership card and ID available to present to staff if requested.
Why can’t I reserve tickets for next month?
Initially, the Exploratorium will offer timed and dated tickets by month, on a rolling basis. This will allow us to adjust visitor capacity in case public health guidelines change. We’ll offer tickets farther in advance as soon as we can.
How crowded will the museum be?
The museum will be operating at 50% capacity, following city/state guidelines, to ensure physical distancing requirements can be met.
How are you limiting the density of visitors in each gallery?
Floor staff in galleries and all public areas will remind visitors of government-mandated social distancing guidelines. The museum will limit ticket sales to help maintain low visitor density.
Is the entire museum open to explore?
The great majority of the Exploratorium is open, with the following exceptions:
Small Store (The Main Store on the Embarcadero will be open.)
Select hands-on exhibits and demonstrations
Will the Exploratorium be cleaning and disinfecting more frequently?
High-touch surfaces such as exhibits, restrooms, railings, and seating areas are cleaned and disinfected frequently throughout the day per CDC guidelines, and the entire building is cleaned and disinfected every evening after closing. To further reduce risk, some hands-on exhibit elements are unavailable. Although research suggests that the risk of contracting COVID-19 from a contaminated surface—also known as fomite transmission—is extremely low, we’re doing everything we can to keep our guests, staff, and community safe.
Do I need to wear a face covering?
Yes. All guests over the age of 3 are required to wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose and fits snugly against the sides of your face. Scarves, neck gaiters, bandanas, and masks with valves do not meet this requirement.
Are you taking temperatures of visitors or staff?
No. However, if anyone in your party has any symptoms of COVID-19, please postpone your visit. Exploratorium staff are required to answer health screening questions each day prior to arriving at work.
Will the air be fresh or recirculated?
All galleries and office spaces use 100% outside air with no recirculation. We’ve done this ever since we moved to Pier 15. We also change our HVAC MERV 14 filters at appropriate intervals to ensure clean air.
Will water fountains be operational?
Water fountains will be switched off to reduce risk of coronavirus transmission. However, touchless water bottle fillers will be available.
Planning Your Visit
What about accessibility?
The Exploratorium is fully wheelchair accessible. We can also lend wheelchairs to visitors who need them. We have tactile maps for blind and visually impaired visitors. You can pick one up at the Information Desk, located just past the ticket scanning station. For more information, visit Accessibility.
What should I wear?
You'll want to wear comfortable clothes. We recommend layers, so that you're ready for whatever San Francisco weather comes your way—sun, fog, or a chilly ocean breeze. Comfortable shoes are a must. The Exploratorium campus covers 3.3 acres, so expect to do plenty of walking. Don't worry if your shoes do turn unfriendly, though; we have bandages at our First Aid station.
What can I do with my bag/coat/stuff?
There are coin-operated lockers just past the ticket scanning station (small) and outside the Information Desk (large). Small lockers are 10"w x 14"h x 14"d; large lockers are 23.5"w x 29"h x 23"d.
What about food?
There are two museum dining areas—the Seismic Joint Café, which faces the outdoor plaza, and Seaglass Restaurant in the Bay Observatory. Both feature seasonable and sustainable cuisine prepared under the auspices of acclaimed San Francisco chef Loretta Keller.
Thursday Evenings: 6:00–9:30 p.m.
Saturday and Saturday: 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
(including indoor dining per San Francisco guidelines)
Seismic Joint Café
Wednesday– Friday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Is the Exploratorium just a kids’ museum?
No, our exhibits can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages. Some exhibits and programs are best appreciated by adults while others are very popular with kids and toddlers. And every Thursday night After Dark (ages 18+) offers thoughtful and innovative science, arts, and perceptual experiences.
Is there anything here for toddlers?
Many of our exhibits involving color, bubbles, light, and shadow are big hits with toddlers and younger children. Note that strollers are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Here are some tips and helpful bits of advice on visiting the Exploratorium with kids.
Is it okay to shoot photos and video in the museum?
Informal photography and video for personal use, including engagement and wedding shoots, are allowed during regular public hours as long as other visitors' experiences are not disrupted and the photos are for noncommercial use. Photography of strangers is not allowed for any reason without the person’s (or their guardian's) express, written consent.
Any photography, filming, or recording intended for publication in television or film or on radio must be approved by the Marketing Department. In addition, any photo shoots outside of regular public hours or any photography that blocks access to exhibits, requires extra lighting, or results in any other potentially disruptive activity must be arranged through the Museum Rentals Department.
Where can I find additional help on site at the museum?
Ask a staff member or any Floor Facilitator (we all wear badges), or visit the Information Desk (just past the ticket scanning stations).
Is this the place with the planetarium/aquarium?
The Exploratorium does not have a planetarium or an aquarium. You might be confusing us with the California Academy of Science, another great San Francisco museum. We encourage you to visit both.
What else can I do nearby?
The Ferry Building features a wealth of shopping and dining choices as well as a farmers’ market several days a week. (You can also catch a ferry to many points in the Bay Area.) You might also enjoy a stroll down to nearby Port Walk at Piers 1½, 3, and 5. Alcatraz tours and Pier 39 aare located just a short stroll north, along the Embarcadero. Less than a mile away is historic North Beach, home to fine restaurants, the lovely Washington Square Park, and the famous City Lights bookstore, founded by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Chinatown, the oldest and largest Chinese community outside of Asia, is also nearby; you'll find the iconic Dragon Gate, excellent dim sum restaurants, and colorful bazaars featuring everything from precious gems to paper umbrellas.
Check with individual attractions to confirm hours and availability.
I still have questions. Who can I contact?
Call our Reservations Office at 415.528.4444 and choose option 5. Someone is available to answer your call from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, with extended hours from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays.
Where is the Exploratorium located?
We’re at Pier 15, which is on the Embarcadero at Green Street in San Francisco.
How do I get to the Exploratorium?
See Getting Here for a Google map, directions, and public transportation options. You can also call our Guest Services department at 415.528.4444 for additional help getting here.
Where can I park?
There are numerous parking garages and lots near our Pier 15 campus. The museum partners with SP+ to offer a discount using the code 4302100 at these lots: Exploratorium Pier 15 Parking Lot and Pier 19½ Parking Lot. For more parking information, see Getting Here. In addition, there is also metered parking on the Embarcadero and nearby streets. Please note, though, that the Exploratorium is easily accessible by public transportation from most of the Bay Area and we provide bike racks for visitors.
Is there a loading zone to drop people off before I park?
There is a white-curbed loading zone on the Embarcadero, just south of the museum, where you can drop people off or pick them up.
What hours are you open?
We are reopening July 1.
Wednesday–Saturday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Thursday (Ages 18+): 6:00–10:00 p.m.
Sunday (Daytime members and Donors only): 10:00 a.m.–Noon
Sunday: Noon–5:00 p.m.
Monday and Tuesday: Closed
When is the best time to visit?
Our timed ticketing system spreads arrival times throughout the day to reduce crowding. When you reserve your timed ticket, any time slots nearing capacity will be noted.
Do I have to leave the museum at a specific time?
No. You're welcome to stay until closing no matter what time you enter.
How do I get tickets?
We are currently requiring that all visitors and members reserve timed tickets in order to control capacity and create a safe and spacious environment.
Reserve timed visitor and member tickets
Members will need their pass IDs in order to log in and reserve tickets, and should have their digital membership card and ID available to present to staff if requested. Don’t know your pass ID? Check your digital membership card, or contact us.
Tickets are also available at the museum. Tickets are valid only for the date you select, and they are nontransferable.
How much do tickets cost?
$29.95: Adults (18–64)
$24.95: Youth (13–17), college students, teachers, seniors (65+), people with disabilities
$19.95: Child (4–12)
FREE: Children ages 3 and younger
FREE: EBT cardholders
FREE: California Public School Teachers can apply for free admission
What if I don't know the exact date I'm visiting?
Consider purchasing a gift card online or call 415.528.4390. You can apply the card to museum admission, memberships, and on-site purchases. Learn more.
Do children need tickets?
Children ages 3 and under are admitted free and don't need a ticket. Please be sure to tell our staff at the door how many children ages 3 or under you have in your party. Children ages 4 and older are considered Youth and need a ticket.
Are you part of San Francisco CityPASS?
Yes, the Exploratorium is part of CityPASS. Save 44% or more on admission to four Bay Area attractions, plus 3-days of unlimited cable car and Muni bus rides. Learn more and buy CityPASS.
How do I become a member?
You can become a member online or call us at 415.528.4321.
You can also visit the Exploratorium with general admission tickets and apply your ticket costs toward a membership at any time on the day of your visit.
Thank you for your support!
I'm a member. What do I need to know?
To learn more, go to our Membership section, call 415.528.4321, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I visit if I'm a member of an ASTC Passport Program participating institution?
The Exploratorium offers free admission for members of ASTC Passport Program reciprocal institutions, and the benefit covers 2 adults and 4 children regardless of your membership level in your home institution. Bring your institution’s membership card and a photo ID or other proof of residence for entry to our Box Office. One visiting adult must be named on the membership card used for entry. Home institutions and the member home address must be at least 90 miles away from the Exploratorium.
How do I buy a gift card?
You can buy one or more gift cards online or by calling 415.528.4390. Learn more.
Do you offer any discounts on museum admission?
Yes. We offer free admission to EBT cardholders and to California public school teachers who have preapplied, as well as discounts for residents of the nine Bay Area counties through the Discover & Go and Check Out SF Family Pass programs administered through public libraries. Visit our Box Office to pick up your timed tickets.
All visitors can pay-what-you-wish on our annual Community Day, when museum entry is on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information, email us at email@example.com or call 415.528.4444.
Is there anything to see at the Piers without paying?
Yes! There’s an unticketed outdoor space with great exhibits, Seaglass Restaurant with a gorgeous Bay view, and our Store and Seismic Joint Café are accessible from the Embarcadero.
Are passes or coupons available?
While we currently do not offer coupons for admission, we do participate in two bundled attraction pass programs offering substantial savings—CityPASS San Francisco and the Go San Francisco Pass. Visit our Box Office to pick up your timed tickets.
Members of AAA NorCal and SoCal may purchase discounted admission tickets on site. Visit our Box Office to pick up your timed tickets.