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#115977 14-Apr-2013 08:10
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We are visiting San Francisco in thhe school holidays and I am casting round looking for family activities. One of the attractions is the 'Exploratorium'. It seems to be a science and technology museum with interactive displays. Kind of like parts of MOTAT, but on steroids. I have two boys who are in their mid-teens, and am wondering if the exploratorium would interest them. Youtube videos I have found seem to indicate it's possibly pitched more at primary school aged kids.
Entry price is relatively steep (US$25 for adults, US$19 for kids) so any feedback from people who have visited would be appreciated.




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  #799018 14-Apr-2013 08:14
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Haven't been to the Exploratorium, but if you have time and want to see technology head down to the San Jose The Tech Museum and then to Intel Museum in Santa Clara. Visited both before and lots of cool stuff - even for kids.





 

 

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  #799019 14-Apr-2013 08:21
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freitasm: Haven't been to the Exploratorium, but if you have time and want to see technology head down to the San Jose The Tech Museum and then to Intel Museum in Santa Clara. Visited both before and lots of cool stuff - even for kids.



Yes, I had seen those other tech locations. The whole of Silicon Valley is of interest to me but perhaps not so much the rest of the family!
We are relying on public transport in SF and have a limited time there (a few days). Can you comment on ease of getting to San Jose etc from the Fisherman's Wharf end of the city?




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  #799021 14-Apr-2013 08:27
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The Tech is pretty good - technology in general. If you don't have a car best way around will be Caltrain. Their website has a trip planner. Take a bus or walk to SFO Train Station and from there is pretty quick to get to San Jose or Santa Clara.




 

 

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  #799028 14-Apr-2013 08:39
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Didn't make it to the Exploratorium it didn't appeal, but did make it to the California Academy of Sciences and that was well worth the trip. Probably similar prices and I'd expect it wouldn't take a whole day to visit, more like half a day with a family.

No idea how easy it is to get to using public transport (Exploratorium would likely be a lot easier) but I used one of those hop on hop off buses to get around (was only in San Fran for a few days) it takes you to all the tourist attractions but it might be a bit expensive for a whole family.



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  #799052 14-Apr-2013 09:05
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PANiCnz: Didn't make it to the Exploratorium it didn't appeal, but did make it to the California Academy of Sciences and that was well worth the trip. Probably similar prices and I'd expect it wouldn't take a whole day to visit, more like half a day with a family.

No idea how easy it is to get to using public transport (Exploratorium would likely be a lot easier) but I used one of those hop on hop off buses to get around (was only in San Fran for a few days) it takes you to all the tourist attractions but it might be a bit expensive for a whole family.


Our current plan is to get the all loops (hop-on hop-off) bus tour + alcatraz. As you say not cheap for a family, but neither is anything else on the trip when multiplied by 4! Cal Academy of Sciences is a Natural History museum isn't it?

May have to plan a more tech oriented trip in the future. I even found a guided tour of Silicon Valley on the web, but at US$400pp thought it was probably more for dotcom type people...




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  #799070 14-Apr-2013 10:00
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PANiCnz: Didn't make it to the Exploratorium it didn't appeal, but did make it to the California Academy of Sciences and that was well worth the trip. Probably similar prices and I'd expect it wouldn't take a whole day to visit, more like half a day with a family.

No idea how easy it is to get to using public transport (Exploratorium would likely be a lot easier) but I used one of those hop on hop off buses to get around (was only in San Fran for a few days) it takes you to all the tourist attractions but it might be a bit expensive for a whole family.


+1 for Academy of Sciences. Been there twice. Currently they have an earthquake exhibition open, with a presentation in the planetarium that amongst other things shows all the quakes from around the planet for the last month. It's easy to get there from the Market St area by bus or trolley. F-line trolley from memory. Google services will tell you exactly what to get from wherever you happen to be at the time.

Golden Gate Park also has lots of other things once you're there.




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  #799072 14-Apr-2013 10:03
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And whatever you do in SFO, make sure you visit the Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop in the Ghirardelli Sq, and get a Hot Fudge Chocolate Sundae. Or two.




 

 

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  #799076 14-Apr-2013 10:09
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freitasm: And whatever you do in SFO, make sure you visit the Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop in the Ghirardelli Sq, and get a Hot Fudge Chocolate Sundae. Or two.


You know what, I've been to SF three times, and I've never been to the chocolate shop. I did have a very decent hotdog from the cart at the end of the streetcar line on Powell & Market, though.




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  #799081 14-Apr-2013 10:15
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freitasm: And whatever you do in SFO, make sure you visit the Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop in the Ghirardelli Sq, and get a Hot Fudge Chocolate Sundae. Or two.


Yes I am studiously aware of the above mentioned chocolate shop but have been trying to avoid attracting attention to it :P




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  #799084 14-Apr-2013 10:31
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They used to have one in Las Vegas as well, but it was closed last time I visited nine months ago while doing renovations in a whole block of the walk. A shame, because it's seriously good.

Anyway, back to the museums...





 

 

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  #799089 14-Apr-2013 10:37
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Opposite the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park is an art museum (the name escapes me) its your typical art museum so probably not worth the money, time and effort for a family. BUT it does have a free observation tower off to one side that offers up some great views of the Bay area, more so because it provides a different perspective than the usual shots from the Golden Gate bridge.

I always do the hop on hop off buses whenever I'm in a new city, I find it an easist way to get around until you master public transport and it helps you get your bearings in a new city. If you can get one of the buses with a tour guide, they are very professional and offer great insight along the way.

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  #799090 14-Apr-2013 10:44
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As you will be aware there's heaps of good stuff to do there. Depending on how old your kids are, you could hire bikes from Blazing Saddles (they have several outlets down in the touristy area by the wharves) and ride over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito - a flat ride and really fun. If you don't want to ride back you can easily takes your bikes on the ferry back into town to where you started.

http://www.blazingsaddles.com/san-francisco.aspx

Also maybe have a look at the Cable Car museum - that's also where the motors are that drive the whole cable system - I found it fascinating.

http://www.cablecarmuseum.org/

If you have a car, consider driving over the GG bridge to Muir Woods just north of the Marin Headlands. It's a national park forest with giant redwood trees - an enchanting place.

http://www.nps.gov/muwo/index.htm




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  #799123 14-Apr-2013 11:49
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If you want to go to Alcatraz you will have to book early, there is usually a 20 odd day wait on tickets, you won't be able to just turn up on the day and get to the island.  You will however get boat trips around the island on the day.

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  #799368 15-Apr-2013 05:09
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Coincidentally just saw this:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57579443-1/the-exploratorium-shows-off-its-huge-new-digs/

Edit: Don't seem to be able to get a working link copying and pasting the URL on iPad.






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  #799400 15-Apr-2013 08:37
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eracode: Coincidentally just saw this:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57579443-1/the-exploratorium-shows-off-its-huge-new-digs/

Edit: Don't seem to be able to get a working link copying and pasting the URL on iPad.




Yes had already seen some video of their new location on pier 15. Still unsure whether it will suit my boys age range though (17 and 14).
Will check out some of the other suggestions.
@Fabian. Thanks for the heads up about the Alcatraz tour. Luckily we already have our booking for it.

Going OT in my own thread. For any of you that spend time in the States, do you get an 'in country' sim, or stick with roaming? I started a thread in "mobile handsets" but will cast the net here as well as I am still not 100% sure of the best route to follow.




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