By Diane Ako
Wow! That's the first word I used when I walked into the Exploratorium, a museum in San Francisco full of hundreds of hands-on exhibits with a scientific bent. It's an interactive museum that functions as an informal education center.
Physicist and educator Dr. Frank Oppenheimer founded the Exploratorium in 1969 as a way to help people - big and small - explore and understand the world around them. I've never been there before, which seems a little strange, considering how well known it is - though maybe it makes sense since it is a primarily student-oriented place, and I didn't attend grade school in California.
It has more than 700 Exploratorium exhibits in the building, with 400 currently on view. "It provides access to, and information about, science, nature, art and technology," according to the website. "Since the Exploratorium’s inception, the museum’s exhibits and programs have focused on human perception: how do we see, hear, smell, feel and otherwise experience the world around us?"
I just thought it was awesome. If I lived there, I'd definitely buy a membership. Olivia was endlessly fascinated with the exhibits, and had to be pried off one station to go check out another. It's not huge, but it's so well designed, one could go there over and over and not tire of it.
Make sure you go upstairs. That's where the living exhibits are, including my favorite - the LIVING chick embryo that is growing in a petri dish. You could see it under a magnifying class, heart beating and all! There are several dishes with chicks at various life stages. Here's a shot of a five to seven day old embryo. It's wicked cool.
3601 Lyon Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
PS I finally uploaded video of my LA trip last month:
Also reach me via DianeAko.com