Where is the Exploratorium located?
We’re at Pier 15, which is on the Embarcadero at Green Street in San Francisco.
What hours are you open?
Saturday–Thursday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Thursday Evening (18+): 6:00–10:00 p.m.
Friday: 10:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.
How do I get tickets?
Tickets are available at the museum or online.
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
Do the Exploratorium offer discounts for locals?
Yes, we do. Please inquire about local discounts at the ticketing desk.
Locals are defined as guests who live in one of the following San Francisco Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano, or Sonoma.
Please note that local discounts are not available for tickets purchased online.
How do I become a member?
You can become a member online or call us at (415) 528-4321. 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 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I buy a gift card?
You can buy a gift card online or call us at (415) 528-4390. To purchase multiple gift cards, please call (415) 528-4390.
How do I get to the Exploratorium?
See Location and Directions 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?
You can park at the Levi's Plaza Garage or Embarcadero Center fordiscounted rates on different days at specific times. You can alsoreserve and pay for parking in advance at several convenient locations within easy walking distance of the Exploratorium. There are also a number of parking lots and parking garages in the area including a parking lot directly across the street from the museum. (The Exploratorium doesn’t own or operate any of these facilities.) 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 that we provide bike racks for visitors. For more parking information, see Location, Directions, and Parking.
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.
Do you have any free days?
In addition to free access for field trips for San Francisco Title 1 schools, the Exploratorium is free to everyone five days a year, a program that began in fall 2013. Here are our upcoming Free Days:
- Groundhog Day (February 2, 2016)
- Pi Day (March 14, 2016)
- Mother’s Day (May 8, 2016)
- Fall Free Day (September 18, 2016)
- Halloween Free Day (October 30, 2016)
Note: Entry is subject to capacity; admission is not guaranteed. We don't accept group or field trip reservations; group entry is discouraged due to large crowds.
The Exploratorium works with local libraries and community groups to provide additional free access. For more information, contact our Guest Services department at email@example.com, or at (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 that are accessible from the Embarcadero.
Are passes or coupons available?
We do not currently offer passes or coupons. If you have an old pass or coupon from the Palace of Fine Arts (PFA), they are no longer valid; they expired in 2013 when we moved to our new location at Pier 15.
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 after you purchase your ticket. For more information, visit Accessibility.
What’s the Tactile Dome?
The Tactile Dome is a physical journey through total darkness. You navigate your way through this sensory environment entirely by touch—sometimes walking, sometimes crawling or even sliding. Most people find it to be an amazing experience, but it’s not for everyone. You must be at least 7 years old, and reservations are required.
What's the best time to visit?
Any time is great, but you might want to consider visiting on a weekday afternoon, when there are usually fewer visitors.
What should I wear?
Even if you're not planning to visit the Tactile Dome, 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 ticketing (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 the SeaGlass Restaurant in the Bay Observatory. Both feature seasonable and sustainable cuisine prepared under the auspices of acclaimed San Francisco chef Loretta Keller and Bon Appétit, an award-winning food service group. Local vendor food carts can be found on the outdoor plaza.
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 (see below).
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.
Where can I find additional help onsite at the museum?
Ask a staff member or any orange-vested Explainer (we all wear badges), or visit the Info Desk (just past ticketing).
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 are 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.