New Embarcadero Gem to Feature 150 New Exhibits, Bay Observatory, Outdoor Gallery and Free Civic Space
On April 17, 2013, the Exploratorium opened at Pier 15 at the heart of the revitalized San Francisco waterfront radically improving access to visitors from all over the world and dramatically enhancing the size and scope of the museum. One of the most highly anticipated events of the year, the Exploratorium’s opening events included a dedication ceremony with keynotes by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, and other dignitaries, as well as two evenings of spectacular large-scale projections on the façade of Pier 15 by internationally acclaimed technology innovators Obscura Digital.
With three times more space overall than its previous home, the new Exploratorium will engage the curiosity and creativity of visitors of any age as they explore 150 brand-new exhibits amongst more than 600 that will be on view. For the first time, the Exploratorium expands its investigations into the bay, city, and outdoor landscape.
As the global leader in informal learning—an approach that encourages learning outside the classroom—and the world’s most experimental museum, the Exploratorium will make use of the remarkable new space to push the boundaries once again. For the first time in 44 years, the signature ah-hah! Exploratorium exhibits will be featured outdoors, taking advantage of the city and bay to encourage visitors to observe and engage in their environments like never before. Visitors will experience their own storm by adjusting the frequency, size and velocity of raindrops (umbrella highly recommended), step into the mobile Camera Obscura and see an upside-down world before them, and interact in real-time with invisible life – teeny-tiny plankton that produce almost half the oxygen we breathe. The site features the Bay Observatory, an all-glass building. The Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery and Terrace, on the second level, is for viewing the waterfront and the city, designed to allow visitors to explore the science of the bay, the landscape, and the human impacts that have shaped the Bay Area. The new Exploratorium will also offer 1.5 acres of free public space – a part of the Outdoor Gallery, for visitors to enjoy the views and play with participatory exhibits tied to the surrounding environment.
The 330,000 square-foot indoor/outdoor project was designed and constructed with the goal of becoming the largest net-zero energy museum in the United States, if not the world. True to the spirit of the Exploratorium and the nature of net-zero, achieving such an ambitious degree of energy-efficiency will require monitoring and tinkering over time. The entire undertaking will be a real-time educational exhibit, with live energy use and photovoltaic production data on public display.
Along with the move, the Exploratorium has expanded its programming and is open late two nights a week. On Wednesdays it is open to the public from 10am-10pm. And for those who want to experience this exuberant learning laboratory amongst other adults, the Exploratorium is exclusively to the 18 and older crowd on Thursday evenings for After Dark, from 6-10pm, with a cash bar. Special programs will be offered both evenings.
At Pier 15 the world-renowned Exploratorium will attract even more visitors of all ages to play, observe and discover while soaking in the beauty of the bay and cityscape. But as always, exhibits retain the familiar home-made authentic quality for which the Exploratorium is famous.
The Exploratorium’s opening partners are: PG&E, Premier Opening Partner and Lead Sustainability Partner; Chevron, Premier Opening Partner; Genentech, Premier Opening Partner; SunPower, Supporting Partner; Wells Fargo, Supporting Partner; KGO-TV, Premier Media Partner; San Francisco Chronicle, Premier Media Partner; San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority, Premier Media Partner.
Go back to the Exploratorium @ Pier 15 Press Kit table of contents