Today I picked back up the world’s slowest basement remodel by putting another coat of primer on the walls. This “make” is just too boring to put words to. Instead I am digging out an Exploratorium adventure from a couple of weeks ago that I never got around to writing about.
Well, ok. (deep breath) That’s not entirely true. I started to write about it that very night but was clearly not fully recovered enough to string coherent words together. The Exploratorium itself was awesome, and I will get to that more in a second, but the behavior by my four year old daughter (yes the cute one sipping tea and stuffing bears)… not so awesome. It was a fit of epic proportion that caused the two of us to sit outside the museum for AN HOUR in a standoff while Jack went in with his friends and their families. The type of fit that tests every ounce of one’s parental mettle. The fun part? We had ferried over so there was no way out. I’ll spare you the detail, but I will say at one point my daughter called me a “beast” which, in hindsight, is a kinda funny thing for a four year old to say.
Eventually we worked through the ordeal, though I would not say with any grace or parental prowess. Maybe something in our post-storm talk did settle in because she hasn’t done this since and has even stopped herself from going there a few times.
Ok then, with that behind us, we did make it into the Exploratorium an hour before it closed…
Sometimes change is scary. You really love something as it is, grew up with it as it is, can’t really imagine it another way. This is what made me nervously anticipate the complete overhaul of the Exploratorium. Would the new location be too new, too sleek? Would there remain a gritty curiosity to the place? Was I over thinking it all? (clearly)
But really, they did a phenomenal job rebuilding this place. It did feel new and modern but without losing it’s edge. The new location is so much easier to get to by BART or ferry (ahem… BART if you might need a quick getaway). There are way more exhibits, much more to see. It feels more spacious whereas the old one often got cramped. The only downside was that Jack loved running around the Palace of Fine Arts next to the old location. I think he envisioned it as his own Star Wars battle arena so he misses it. Also, the price has gone up (to be expected) making it now a pricey adventure for a family of four. We’ll get a family membership since it’s definitely a place to keep returning to.
The other thing that remains true in the new version is that it’s full of hands-on science that is equally enjoyed by kids and adults. This is an every age museum. You see tons of adults enjoying it without kids in tow. Like Herbie, the overall and page boy wearing pied piper of the Exploratorium who had tricks up his sleeve to get the most out of each exhibit. We kept running into him and he kept being super gracious and sharing his exploration with the kids… bubble wands for the colored shadow wall, multicolored jelly beans for the monochromatic room, flashlights to write with in the Shadow Box room. The kids loved running into him. Who was this mysterious hipster? Did he work there??
In Summary: If you live in the area, go here. If you visit San Francisco, go here. Even if you don’t have kids, go here. There still is no place quite like the Exploratorium.
Pier 15, San Francisco