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Field Trip Planning Guide

Group of young friends having fun at a carnival or fair, smiling and posing in front of a colorful striped tent.
Field Trip Planning Guide

There’s no right or wrong way to engage with Exploratorium exhibits, but there are a few ways to make the most of your field trip.

When to Come

Field trip days are Tuesdays through Fridays, starting at 10:00 a.m. If you’re planning to arrive outside of field trip hours, please make a group reservation by calling 415.528.4444 and choose option 5 for reservations.

Exploratorium COVID-19 Requirements

For information about our COVID-19 guidelines and what to expect, please visit our FAQ page.


We require a minimum of one chaperone for every ten youths or children in your group. Although the museum is self-guided, it's a good idea for chaperones to stay with their students—teacher and chaperone involvement can greatly improve the students’ experiences, and having chaperones nearby makes it easier to keep an eye on the students they're responsible for. Download our chaperone tips in English, Spanish, or Chinese below.

On Arrival

When you arrive, please check in with an orange-vested Explainer. If you arrived by school bus or charter bus, please wait for an Explainer to meet your bus before unloading students. If you arrived by public transportation or car, you can check in with an Explainer on the plaza (the open area on the north side of Pier 15, in front of the main entrance).

While the Explainer organizes your group, the lead teacher from your group should check in with the Group Reservations cashier, located at the far end of the Ticketing desk, to confirm the number of students and adults in your group and receive group tickets.


Once you're in the museum, an Explainer will welcome your group, answer any questions you may have, and cover logistical details and museum rules. Then the Explainer will help you explore one exhibit as a group—there's no right or wrong way to engage with our exhibits, but this 15-minute orientation will give you a few places to start. Orientation is for teachers and chaperones as well as students, so enjoy it! 

The Explainer won't stay with you throughout your visit, but Explainers are available around the museum to answer questions, discuss exhibits, and lead demonstrations. Just look for the people in orange vests; they're happy to talk to you.

If you'd like to receive orientation in a language other than English, or have other requests, please tell the Explainer when you check in. We'll do our best to accommodate you.

This video will give you an idea of what to expect when you arrive.


We are unable to store student lunches, but students are welcome to carry their lunches in backpacks during their field trip.

At lunchtime, please enjoy our dedicated outdoor lunch spot right over the water.  Seating in our onsite SeaGlass restaurant is reserved for restaurant patrons. Students who want to purchase food must be accompanied by an adult; one adult chaperone is required for every five students. No outside food, please.

Museum Galleries

Exploratorium exhibits are organized into galleries, with a different topic in each gallery. Learn about what's where and find out what demonstrations and events will be available during your field trip.

Exhibit Archive

What is there to do at the Exploratorium? This ever-growing exhibit archive can give you a taste of the 650-plus exhibits in our collection and provide background information on how each of them works.

Visiting the Exploratorium Store

The Exploratorium has two stores. Both are open to your students, but the store located in the center of the Exploratorium has been specially designed with their interests in mind. One adult chaperone is required for every five students in the store. Hint: Try visiting the store earlier in your field trip to avoid crowds.

First Aid

Our First Aid Station is located at the Information Desk near the main museum exit. If you need emergency assistance, tell an Explainer, the nearest staff member, or go to the Information Desk. 

Lost Student

Lose a student? Find the nearest Explainer or go to the Information Desk. 

Lost and Found

Lose an object? Our Lost and Found is located at the Information Desk.