At most museums exhibits are behind glass cases and velvet ropes and DO NOT TOUCH signs. Not so at the Exploratorium, San Francisco’s interactive playhouse dedicated to the science of psychology and perception.
At the Exploratorium every exhibit is an activity: Refract light, create illusions, defy gravity, distort sound and mess with your mind—all interactively. One of our favorite activities, though rather low tech by Exploratorium standards, involves putting on giant pairs of animal ears to experience firsthand how non-human creatures perceive sound. As part of that same exhibit, museum visitors to sneak across a bed or rocks as quickly and slightly as possible; a decibel reader charts how much noise you make.
Don’t let the Exploratorium’s classical exterior fool you—the interior is as unstuffy and downright fun as a museum can get. Even the preponderance of children isn’t enough to make it uncool for grown-ups although we do suggest visiting during a school day when the museum has fewer tykes running around.
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