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 location for your next outing. A visit to the Exploratorium will fascinate, entertain, and inspire you. We offer special rates for groups of ten or more, with a free ticket for the group leader. Want more? We can provide lunch for your group or arrange reservations for our famous Tactile Dome—a journey through total darkness. Please discuss these options with our reservations office.
Please see Plan a Group Visit, Frequently Asked Questions, or Travel Trade/Tour Operators below for all the information you need to plan a great Exploratorium experience. Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance.
Bring your Scout troop, Boys & Girls Club, YMCA, or other youth organization to enjoy hours of hands-on fun at the Exploratorium. They can perfect their cooperative skills at Team Pac-Man, be amazed by their upside-down images in front of the Giant Mirror, or enjoy learning about light and color at exhibits such as Colored Shadows.
The Exploratorium is the ideal destination for keeping minds active. Ponder social behavior in the Gallery 1, enjoy the glorious view from the Bay Observatory Gallery while learning about our local environment, or explore the living world in the Gallery 4. Take a break by enjoying an appetizing Exploratorium lunch at our onsite restaurant, Seaglass.
For your next offsite meeting, let us help you create a unique Exploratorium experience. Following your meeting and catered lunch, investigate our exhibits, or take a trip through the Tactile Dome. (If your organization would like to rent one or more of our galleries for a special event, please contact Event Rentals.)
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 Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please note that we don't accept reservations for free 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 Request Form
Hours for group visits are 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Please call the reservations office to inquire about group visits on Thursday evenings. The museum is closed on Monday except for certain holidays.
To qualify for group rates, you must make a reservation at least a day in advance, for a minimum of 10 people, and a 50% deposit is required in advance to confirm the reservation.
Group Rates for Children and Youth Groups:
Children (4–12) $17.95
Youth (13–17) $19.95
1 Adult admitted free per every 10 children and youth
Additional adults $24.95
Group Rates for Daytime Adult Groups:
Seniors (65+), people with disabilities, teachers, students $19.95
1 Group leader admitted free
Group Rates for After Dark Groups:
1 Group leader admitted free
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.
REQUIRED! Chaperones for Youth Groups
We require that you bring a minimum of one chaperone for every ten youths or children. 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 chaperone involvement can greatly improve the experiences of the children or youths. Chaperones don’t have to be science experts; instead, they can ask open-ended questions that will help the young people explore.
REQUIRED! ID Labels for Youth Groups
Please provide visible labels with the name of your organization (not individual names) for everyone in your group, including adults. In this way, both the Exploratorium and the chaperones can identify the members of your group without compromising the safety of individuals.
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 on the 1st of the month prior to the date of your intended visit. 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 Exploratorium members receive complimentary year-round general admission, these admission privileges do not extend to Group Admission. Please include any Exploratorium 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 monitors above the admissions area, which list what’s going on. Our Guest Services staff 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?
Grab a floor map to orient yourself. Our 600 exhibits and artworks are organized into six galleries, each focused on a different topic. 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’s that big dome in the middle of Gallery 1?
That’s our Tactile Dome—you go through it in complete darkness, using only your sense of touch as your guide. You can reserve timed tickets in advance for up to 17 individuals (ages 7 and older).
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. 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 have 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?
Have more questions?
Please contact us at 415.528.4444.
Travel Trade/Tour Operators
Viator Top Rated Destination
Pier 15, San Francisco, CA 94111
Centrally located along the Embarcadero between Fisherman’s Wharf 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.
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).
SF Muni bus lines 2, 6, 14, 21, 31, and Metro rail lines J, K, L, M, T, and N stop within a 10–15 minute walk along the picturesque waterfront. Muni bus lines 1, 10, 12, 41, and 38 also stop in the vicinity. BART stops and the AC Transit Terminal are within a mile.
Optional Lunch Available
Award-winning food service group Bon Appétit will create seasonal, sustainably prepared meals for your group. Lunch options can be discussed in detail at the time of booking.
Tour Group Operator Request Form
To start booking your group trip, please fill out our Group Visit Request Form, and we will contact you within two business days. For additional questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.