The Exploratorium


A new scientific way of teaching

Written by Scott Messmore

The Exploratorium is a kid's dream come true. Children of all ages will have a great time learning about all aspects of science using the Exploratorium's unique displays. Hands-on exhibits teach 600,000 visitors a year about 13 categories: motion, sound, light, heat and temperature, weather patterns, hearing, vision, electricity, language, waves and resonance, touch and color. As much a fun, get involved, museum, the Exploratorium also examines how human beings interact with science. The primary Exploratorium exhibition is Revealing Bodies, an examination of how different cultures have perceived the human form throughout world history. Revealing Bodies displays ancient Arabic drawings, x-ray images, models and modern CAT scans that have been created in the pursuit of medicine and scientific discovery. Part science, history and art, Revealing Bodies will be on display until September 4, 2000.

Feel your way to scientific discovery

The Exploratorium was founded in 1969 by Dr. Frank Oppenheimer to not only show the world of science, but to educate as well. Each year, 60,000 students and their teachers visit the museum. The Exploratorium staff also trains 10,000 teachers each year using museum exhibits on mathematics and the sciences.

Hours of operation and location

One of the most unique displays anywhere is the "Tactile Dom". The Dome was opened in 1971. Visitors crawl inside a dome, in complete darkness, feeling their way around inside the dome. With only your hands to guide you, you'll be opened to a new world of sensory perception. To take a tour through the Tactile Dome, you'll need to register in advance and pay a special $12.50 fee. Call 415-561-0362 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, for reservations and hours of operation.

The Exploratorium is located inside the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District near the Golden Gate Bridge. From Fisherman's Wharf get a ride on the number 30 Stockton bus. If you're coming from other areas in San Francisco, hop on the Muni bus routes 22, 28, 41, 43 or 45. For more Bay Area Transit information call 415-332-6600. Recorded directions to the museum can be listened to at 415-561-0399. The first Wednesday of each month is "Free Wednesday" at the museum. If you're in San Francisco on a Wednesday, it's your lucky scientific day. Summertime hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., each day. Summer hours are in effect from Memorial Day to Labor Day in the fall. Admission to the Exploratorium is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors over 65 years, $5 for children six to 17 and free for children under three years old. For group rates call 415-561-0308.

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