Sunday, 29 September 2013

Exploratorium

Last weekend we took the girls to visit the Exploratorium. This was actually our second trip to the Exploratorium, but our first to it's new location at Pier 15.




I never got around to posting about our first visit to the Exploratorium last year. The museum itself was great and Ava had a fantastic time with all of the hands on displays, however my day was overshadowed by an over-tired Lola and an incident at the giant bubble making station. Older children had kept pushing Lola out of the way whenever it was her turn to make bubbles and in an attempt to grab a bubble wand she ended up with her hands in the bubble mix. Those little hands then touched her eyes and the screaming started. With her red bleary eyes stinging from the bubble solution, Lola then put her hands in her mouth. And then the vomiting started. For about half an hour poor Lola screamed and vomited as her eyes stung and her mouth burned from the bubble mix. Needless to say that put a dampener on my (and Lola's) day.

The Exploratorium was previously located at the Palace of Fine Arts, an absolutely stunning location but not the most accessible without a car. Sure, buses go there regularly but with small children we avoid catching the bus in San Francisco whenever possible. The drivers tend not to allow strollers on the bus unless they're folded up. Not always practical when your young child has a habit of falling asleep on buses!

The Exploratorium's new location on Pier 15 is a vast improvement. An easy walk from Embarcadero BART station (where strollers are always welcome) the new location is much more accessible.

Most of the exhibits at the new Exploratorium were brought over from the old location. There are however plenty of new and refreshed exhibits. The space is much more open and airy than the old location so it doesn't feel quite as cramped and crowded even though it was very busy when we visited.

The Exploratorium has six main galleries, each devoted to a particular area of exploration: Human Phenomena, Tinkering, Seeing and Listening, Living Systems, Landscape Observation and the Outdoor Gallery. The museum is so huge that we didn't get a chance to see the entire thing but we'll be sure to head back sometime soon for another visit.

Let's see if I can remember which gallery everything was located in...

Outdoor Gallery
First up we hit the Outdoor Gallery. The girls enjoyed pedalling bikes with ropes rotating around the wheel. Ok, I have no idea what to call anything! As Ava pedalled Lola and Kim jumped through the rope. The girls also really enjoyed playing with a rain making machine. As they stood under the safety of a large umbrella they controlled the "rain" and delighted in spraying me with water. They were also fascinated by the man-made fog that crept over the water. By far their favourite thing in the Outdoor Gallery though was the climbing structure. They'd pop through one hole and end up on the other side. Making their way to the top was no easy task. In fact, Lola only made it up one level while Ava scampered to the top.








Seeing and Listening
Our first stop inside was the Seeing and Listening Gallery. Here the girls tested out all sorts out sight and hearing related exhibits. They wore headphone that switched which side each ear hears, made noises with saw blades, listened to music through their teeth, learnt about colour with prisms and lights, looked at their reflections in crazy mirrors, watched sound vibrations move sand and so much more. 

 



















Tinkering
In the Tinkering gallery the girls played with all sorts of gadgets. The set up pulley systems, played with magnets and experimented with mechanical gadgets.







Human Phenomena
The Human Phenomena gallery focuses on cognition, emotion, social behaviour and the interplay between science, art, society and culture. I honestly can't remember which exhibits fall into this category other than the drinking fountain toilets! It's amazing how many people I saw refuse to drink out of these fountains simply because they were shaped like a toilet. Of course, Ava and Lola were more than happy to drink out of them!



And then there were loads of other exhibits that we enjoyed but I can't remember which category they fit into. Giant bubbles on pulley systems, hot and cold experiments, Bernouli blowers, light machines, high speed cameras... So many fun things. As the girls rushed from one thing to another I found it a little hard to keep track of just which area of the Exploratorium everything was located in.













 We all had such a great time at the Exploratorium and we'll definitely be back for more.



3 comments:

  1. Love the picture of you and your girls at the start! And how funny - we have both bought the same sandals for our girls - blue Saltwaters for summer!
    -Nina

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    Replies
    1. The blue Saltwater sandals are everywhere at the moment. I see so many kids at Ava's school wearing them. Blue is the new pink ;) I was happily surprised when Ava chose the blue over pink.
      I stocked up on Saltwater sandals a little while back when a store had them for about $15. We have lots of pinks and silvers in all sorts of sizes!

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  2. We haven't been to the new location yet but I'm excited to take my son to see it. He loved it at the Palace of Fine Arts!

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