***The Exploratorium and Dome will be closed Dec 2012 to April 2013 while they move from the Palace of Fine Arts to Pier 15. Check the website for reopening date.***
For something a little different from the ordinary tourist experience in San Francisco, make reservations at the Tactile Dome at the Exploratorium (the latter is a hands-on science museum.) As the website says, "Discover a world where the walls seem alive and your hands tell you more than your eyes."
We did this for a teen birthday party once, and the adults had as much fun as the kids, climbing and crawling and sliding through a geodesic dome in almost total darkness. You can go through the course several times in your allotted time, and each time you notice different things hanging on the walls; it's like going on a 3-dimensional scavenger hunt.
The dome is wired for sound and monitored by the receptionist for safety reasons, so it's also entertaining to hover near the check-in desk and listen to the voices and comments issuing from the darkness. "Where are you?"... "Give me your hand!"... "Omigawd, what WAS that?...
Children must be at least 7 to go into the dome. This activity is not recommended for people who are claustrophobic, freaked out by the dark, have bad backs or knees, or don't like taking their shoes off -- but a memorable experience for everybody else.
The fee for the Dome is $12 per person -- but you must also pay admission to the rest of the Exploratorium ($25 regular, $19 college students, teachers, or over 65) if the museum is open. . Reservations are required for the Dome.
Just across the Exploratorium is a newly developed park as part of the new George Lucas office complex. Nicely landscaped with rolling hills, streams, and benches with fantastic view of the Golden Gate bridge and Palace of Fine Arts. You can also walk around and check out the newly renovated buildings. I especially like the one with the Yoda fountain by the entrance. Great place to have a picnic or to relax after a day at the exploratorium. (click on the picture to make it bigger)
Maybe forgotten by many tourist, but surely not unloved. The beauty of the Palace of Fine Arts and the surrounding parks is a green and quiet oasis within the busy city. Here many newly weds make pictures and mine can show you why ...
Located on a peninsula jutting out into San Francisco bay, the wave organ is a great place to visit. Hard to explain but it's basically a bunch of tubes that were placed under the water. As the tides and waves ebb + flow, the tubes that are jutting up at the actual site make the most bizarre noises. It's an underwater symphony. The wave organ site is desolate. No roads, just a walking path leads there. No signs, no tourist kiosk just a huge pile of stones forming a unique sculpture with places to sit and listen to the underwater performance. If you are at the Exploratorium, cross Highway 101 by the marina. Walk to the end of the marina + keeep walking to the end of the peninsula. Great views of the Golden Gate + SF as well. THe address is end of Yacht Road past the Golden Gate Yacht Club. It's alledgedly heard best during high tide which is usually very early in the morning but I wouldn't recommend it at that time unless there is a big group of you because of the desolate locations. We did notice quite a few homeless people living nearby.
If you know in advance that you will be visiting San Fransisco, you should make reservations to attend the Tactile Gallery. It is the most fun time I have ever had in San Fransisco and is wonderful for Kids and adults. you are sworn to secrecy when entering(it adds to the fun) but I will say that you will have a great time slipping down a big slide in the dark without knowing what is at the bottom. the Tactile gallery is located in the San Fransisco exploratoriam and is no extra charge after paying the general admission to the exploratorium. Reservations are required, I believe 4 months in advance. If you can't make reservations, I hope you will visit the exploratorum anyway. It is a wonderful museum with all kinds of experiments and the grounds are beautiful(as seen in many movies.
I saw this swan just chillin' on the lake in front of the Palace of Fine Arts, it's begging to be photographed, :))>. (click on the picture to make it bigger).
This is a must see if you're in San Francisco. Kudos to those that have worked hard to save this magnificent memory of the past!
Next to the Palace of Fine Arts goto the excellent 'Exploratorium' where you can play with hands on scientific exhibits.
Don't forget to visit the Palace of Fine Arts....its beautiful...This is me by one of the Palace Columns....