The Exploratorium

By Deane Barker on April 7, 2004

Exploratorium: That article on the square wheels included a link to the Exploratorium Web site and that got me all nostalgic.

Housed within the walls of San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, the Exploratorium is a collage of over 650 science, art, and human perception exhibits. The Exploratorium is a leader in the movement to promote museums as educational centers.

I used to live in Pinole, California which is in the East Bay Area (home to the greatest football team ever, incidentally). I used to take school trips to the Exploratorium once or twice a year.

This place is a little geek paradise. For an impressionable 14-year-old with a TRS-80 and dreams of writing the best text adventure game since Zork, the Exploratorium was heaven. It’s a completely hands on science museum where you’re expected to touch and handle everything.

The coolest exhibit ever? They had a 100-yard long rear projection screen on the wall. Behind the wall was a projector on a track that displayed an image of a female track star (I think it was Jackie Joyner Kersee) running the 100 meters. The projector would run along the track (behind the screen) at actual speed, so you you could line up next to her and one end and race her to the finish.

Any readers from the Bay Area who can comment about the unqualified coolness of the Exploratorium?