Exploratorium San Francisco’s Magical Mystery Tour

Exploratorium 1 by Rochelle CarrIn honor of missing my beloved San Francisco today, I am writing about my trip a few months ago, to the fantastic and amazing – Exploratorium! Take a ride below for my review of San Francisco’s own, magical mystery tour…

I sit here in Portland, OR, patiently waiting for my new grandson to arrive. If you don’t see a post in more than three days, you will know it’s because I am either in transit to somewhere incredible, doing something incredible, or busy helping my kids, family, or grand-kids, do some big time, all consuming “life thing.” You know, a big life thing, like being born.

Exploratorium – A tactile museum of science, art, and human perception.


My thirteen year old niece Cecelia and I had a fantastical time this summer indulging in San Francisco’s unreal teen school shopping scene, and fabulous museums. We hit my new favorite Exploratorium, and explored, and explored, for a good four hours. This place is ÜBER cool. I mean so cool that a person(of any age) can drink out of a TOILET water fountain, and laugh out loud while doing it. My dear friends, sent me a photo (two weeks prior) of them leaning over drinking out of the TOILET water fountain, and I seriously thought they were sick or (doing you know what) and could never make it to the new Exploratorium “In the Dark” party! The joke was on me.

Head to the Exploratorium and remember to view and experience the day through the eyes of a child. Go slow, go fast, take it all in, try everything that speaks to you, don’t hit the kid (running to take over an exhibit or screaming out loud) to his or her parents, and please take sanitizer to wipe your hands after that same kid coughs on the handles of whatever cool thing you are going to try next. I know – its a big EWE, for us germaphobes, yet I had the time of my life!

The inner scientist wizard nerd in me went crazy at this Exploratorium Disney-ish science and art adventure. I walked in my Dad (the biologist/marine ecologist), shoes for a day, and wished he had been there to explain (in Dad’s deeper marine detail) some of the supreme green machine and nature exhibits. SO cool to watch a plant curl before your very eyes to protect itself if you touch it.

Exploratorium 3 by Rochelle CarrBeing an artist, it was fun to stand in front of a screen doing what we did here, and have that same technology magically sketch you standing in place. I took that rad photo of us. We did this posing about three or four times! A different magical mystery technology (in the same area) takes the mod hippie brightly colored photo above. We did this with a group, then another three times after that jumping and waving our arms and dancing around – alone. It was definitely an “all about us” day!

You will find the most amazing toothpick sculpture (see last photo below) called, “Rolling Through The Bay, by Scott Weaver.” It took Scott 37 years to make this. It stands a whopping nine feet tall, eight feet long and three feet deep. There are 105, 387 (and a half) toothpicks in this sculpture, and he used many bottles of Elmer’s glue. WOWZA. I am curious as to how he moved “Rolling Through The Bay” to the Exploratorium without any toothpick damage!

Yes, the tickets are pricey yet worth every penny in my opinion. They have a few discounted ticket options: student tickets, Triple AAA $2.00 member discounts, and local resident discounts. I will take advantage of the $15 Thursdays from 6p-10p for those 18+ in the near future. There are five or so free Exploratorium days a year. Parking is a bit of a pill so take the F line metro that stops one block from the museum.

The only thing about the 220 million dollar fantastical new Exploratorium, (that I was sad to hear about after my visit), was that the museum did not budget or plan well and it significantly cut the staff, that had been a part of creating this wonderful museum. There are two articles about this that are definitely worth the read. First one from the NY Times click here, and the next one from SF Gate click here. I am so sorry for the folks that lost their jobs. I am thankful for the hard work and creativity you provided the Exploratorium in your tenure. It would not be the same place without each of you!

Feel the joy, feel the wonder, and feed your own childlike curiosity while you experience San Francisco’s own “Magical Mystery Tour” at the EXPLORATORIUM!



Exploratorium 2 by Rochelle Carr


Definition of Urban Backpacker:

1. Of, relating to, or located in a city.

2. Backpacker redefined: Artful reviews that lead you from hidden budget gems to five-star destinations helping you find palate pleasing adventure, enjoyment, and story collection.

3. Pack bag. Travel there. See city. Eat food. Respect culture. Take picture. Share story. Be thankful. Repeat.