Groups are always welcome at the Exploratorium!
No matter what your age, if you’re curious about the world around you, the Exploratorium is the perfect place for your next outing. A visit to the Exploratorium will fascinate, entertain, and inspire you. We offer special rates for groups of 15 or more, with a free ticket for the group leader.
Please see Plan a Group Visit, for all the information you need to plan a great Exploratorium experience. Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance.
Plan a Group Visit
How to Make a Reservation
To reserve by phone, the group leader should call 415.528.4444. The reservations office is open seven days a week. Hours are 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m., with extended hours until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays. Please note that we don't accept reservations for Community Days.
Alternatively, you can fill out the online Group Visit Request Form, and an Exploratorium staff member will contact the group leader to complete the trip-planning process.
Group Visit Hours
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Thursday (Adults 18+): 6:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
Sunday: Noon–3:00 p.m.
Please fill out the Group Visit Request Form or call the Reservations Office to book group visits. Please note the museum is closed on Monday, with the exception of certain holidays.
In order to qualify for group rates, you must make a reservation at least 1 day in advance, for a minimum of 15 people, and a 50% deposit is required in advance to confirm the reservation.
Group Rates for Daytime Adult Groups
- Adults: $34.95
- Seniors (65+), people with disabilities, teachers, students: $24.95
- 1 group leader admitted free
Group Rates for After Dark Groups
- Adults: $15.95
- 1 group leader admitted free
Group Rates for Children and Youth Groups
- Youth (4–17): $24.95
- 1 adult chaperone is required and admitted free per every 10 youth
- Additional adults: $29.95
REQUIRED! Chaperones for Youth Groups
We require that you bring a minimum of 1 chaperone for every 10 youth. Please keep in mind that, for the duration of your visit, the chaperones are responsible for the behavior of the young people they are accompanying. It’s a good idea for chaperones to stay with their group, as this can greatly improve the group experience. Chaperones don’t have to be science experts; instead, they can ask open-ended questions that will help the young people explore.
Coming by Charter Bus?
If you plan to reserve charter buses, please do so after making your group reservation to ensure that your preferred time is available. Charter bus arrival and departure times must be carefully coordinated so they don’t interrupt traffic flow on the Embarcadero. Please discuss bus arrival and departure times with the Reservations Office. Refer to Bus Routes, which provides directions for charter buses and school buses.
Paying for Your Group Visit
- We accept the following forms of payment for group reservations: checks, traveler’s checks, MasterCard, VISA, Discover, and American Express.
- A deposit of 50% of the total amount due upon arrival is due one month prior to the date of your intended visit, or at the time the reservation is made if booked less than a month in advance. This deposit will be applied to your total amount due, which must be paid in full at least two weeks prior to arrival. Please have ready an exact head count of children, youths, and accompanying adults. Deposits are nonrefundable if a reservation is canceled within two weeks of the intended arrival date. No refunds of under $50 will be issued.
- Payments (apart from the deposit) must be made in one lump sum. Group members paying separately are not eligible for group pricing and will be charged the general admission rates.
- We no longer accept purchase orders as a form of payment. Also, we cannot accept electronic fund transfers (EFTs).
- While Members receive complimentary year-round general admission, these admission privileges do not extend to Group Admission. Please include any Members in your overall head count.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I just show up with a big group?
To expedite entry, we strongly recommend that you purchase admission tickets for your group in advance by contacting our Group Reservation office at 415.528.4683. When you book your reservation, the group leader will receive complimentary admission.
How will I know what’s going on the day that I visit?
Check out the digital monitor in the Crossroads. Our staff throughout the museum can also tell you if there are any special programs going on that you shouldn’t miss.
The Exploratorium is a big museum; how will I know where everything is?
Download a digital map to orient yourself. Our 600+ exhibits and artworks are organized into 6 galleries, each focused on different topics. You can visit the galleries in any order you choose; just pick an area of interest and dive in.
How long will it take to see everything?
That depends on how much time you spend at each exhibit. We recommend allowing at least two hours to explore.
What if I have a question while I’m exploring?
Our Explainers (in the bright orange vests) are here to help. You can find them throughout the museum and at our Explainer Stations. Ask a question or just see what they’re up to; they regularly do magic demonstrations, plant dissections, and a plankton drag from the Bay.
What if I get hungry, thirsty, or tired while I explore?
To help you enjoy your visit, there are restrooms, water fountains, and lots of places to sit and relax throughout the museum. The Seaglass Restaurant offers a wide range of locally sourced, sustainable food and beverages; however, the restaurant is not set up for large groups. If your group would rather bring their own lunches you are welcome to eat in the outdoor ticketed space next to the restaurant. Boxed lunches can also be purchased in advance. The Seismic Joint Café, near the museum’s entrance, offers sandwiches, snacks, and drinks.
How can we get the most out of our group visit?
You might consider coming for a preview visit before you bring your group. If that’s not possible, here are some suggestions for navigating the museum once your group arrives.
Connect Ideas: Choose an exhibit to explore. Think about what you learned when you interacted with it. Now, look around and find two more exhibits that have some connection to the first one you chose. What’s the connection? As you explore the rest of the museum, look for other exhibits with connections as well.
Look for Natural Phenomena: Look for exhibits that demonstrate phenomena you’ve noticed out in the natural world. Where else have you noticed these phenomena, and under what conditions?
Use Your Senses: Find exhibits that involve your sense of smell, touch, sight, and hearing; find at least two for each of these senses. What did you discover about each sense by exploring the exhibits?
Need more support reaching your learning goals?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Can we get a larger reduction or free group tickets?
If your group is not able to pay our group rates, please contact us at 415.528.4444.
Have more questions?
Please contact us at 415.528.4444.
Travel Trade/Tour Operators
Pier 15, San Francisco, CA 94111
Centrally located along the Embarcadero between Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 39 and the Ferry Building.
Passenger loading and unloading is available in front of the museum in dedicated loading zones. Parking is available nearby. Route and parking directions will be provided at the time of booking.
Some transit services have been temporarily suspended or the hours and/or frequency of operations have changed. Please check with the transportation providers’ websites for current information.
San Francisco’s historic F Market streetcar line runs along the Embarcadero and stops in front of the Exploratorium (the Embarcadero and Green Street stop).
We're just a 10-minute walk from the Embarcadero BART station.
SF Muni buses and Metro rail lines J, K, L, M, T, and N stop within a 10–15 minute walk along the picturesque waterfront.