Science Education

Hands-on Science Fun and Education at the Exploratorium in San Francisco

July 23, 2013

ExploratoriumIf you grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, you no doubt spent some time as a kid at the Exploratorium. This innovative and influential hands-on museum of science, art, and human perception has been educating and entertaining families for over 40 years. The Exploratorium is a perfect place for an outing for families with children of all ages, from toddlers to teens. Parents, grandparents, and most other grownups will find it a lot of fun, too.

Until recently, the Exploratorium was located at the iconic Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco's Marina District, but it recently moved to an all-new, much larger facility at Pier 15 on the Embarcadero. This new building features all the old favorite exhibits along with 150 new ones, as well as a Bay Observatory that allows visitors to explore the environment of adjacent San Francisco Bay. The new location is spacious and stunning and worth checking out.

Win Tickets to the June 15 Penguins+Pajamas Sleepover at the Cal Academy

June 7, 2013

Penguins + Pajamas at the California Academy of SciencesWe can't think of a better way to spend Father's Day weekend than at the California Academy of Sciences' Penguins + Pajamas sleepover—it's a fantastic family experience that's both fun and educational. The next Penguins+Pajamas sleepover is scheduled for Saturday, June 15, and we're giving away a pair of tickets to a lucky Marin Mommies reader!

Experience your own "night at the museum" as you explore the exhibits after-hours, stargaze at a planetarium show, enjoy a special live animal presentation, explore the fastest fish and swiftest sailboats in the Academy's Built for Speed special exhibit, and dance and sing along to your favorite tunes from the Radio Disney AM 1310 Road Crew. Before bedtime, settle in for story time with cookies and milk to learn about Pierre—the Academy’s famous wetsuit-wearing penguin.

When the lights go out, unroll your sleeping bag in African Hall, next to the swaying kelp of the aquarium's California Coast tank, or even at the Swamp window, face-to-face with Claude, the albino alligator. In the morning, rise and shine, then head over to the Academy Café for a continental breakfast.

Butterflies and Blooms Abound at San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers

May 26, 2013

Butterflies and Blooms at the Conservatory of FlowersOne of our favorite destinations in San Francisco is the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, especially when they're presenting a special exhibit. This spring and summer, visitors to the Conservatory can get eye to eye with a butterfly in Butterflies & Blooms, in the special exhibits gallery through October 20, 2013.

Butterflies & Blooms transforms the Conservatory's special exhibits gallery into an intimate cottage garden that plays host to hundreds of butterflies! You'll see over 20 species of North American butterflies, including monarchs, western swallowtails, red admirals, and more, as well as several giant moths like the colorful cecropia moth.

We paid a visit to Butterflies & Blooms last week. When you first walk into the room, you realize you're walking into the butterflies' habitat. The gallery is draped in a giant white net that contains the fluttering inhabitants. The hundreds of butterflies are free to fly around the room and land on the butterfly-friendly plants and flowers like daisies, sunflowers, and zinnias, and the effect is magical. Some will even land on you—we were told it's good luck!

Win Tickets to the May 10 Penguins+Pajamas Sleepover at the Cal Academy

May 1, 2013

Penguins + Pajamas at the California Academy of SciencesWe had a blast when we attended the California Academy of Sciences' Penguins + Pajamas sleepover—it's a fantastic family experience that's both fun and educational. The next Penguins+Pajamas sleepover is scheduled for Friday, May 10, 2013, and we're giving away a pair of tickets to a lucky Marin Mommies reader!

Experience your own "night at the museum" as you explore the exhibits after-hours, stargaze at a planetarium show, and enjoy a special live animal presentation. Before bedtime, settle in for story time with cookies and milk to learn about Pierre—the Academy’s famous wetsuit-wearing penguin.

When the lights go out, unroll your sleeping bag in African Hall, next to the swaying kelp of the aquarium's California Coast tank, or even at the Swamp window, face-to-face with Claude, the albino alligator. In the morning, rise and shine, then head over to the Academy Café for a continental breakfast.

Win Tickets to the December 30 Penguins+Pajamas Sleepover at the Cal Academy

December 17, 2012

Penguins + Pajamas at the California Academy of SciencesWe had a blast at the California Academy of Sciences' Penguins + Pajamas sleepover when we attended last summer—it's a fantastic family experience that's both fun and educational. The next Penguins+Pajamas sleepover is scheduled for Sunday, December 30, 2012, and we're giving away a pair of tickets to a lucky Marin Mommies reader! This special 'Tis the Season for Science sleepover will include live reindeer, snow flurries, winter-themed programming, and live music and games from Radio Disney!

Experience your own "night at the museum" as you explore the exhibits after-hours, stargaze at a planetarium show, and enjoy a special live animal presentation. Before bedtime, settle in for story time with cookies and milk to learn about Pierre—the Academy’s famous wetsuit-wearing penguin.

When the lights go out, unroll your sleeping bag in African Hall, next to the swaying kelp of the aquarium's California Coast tank, or even at the Swamp window, face-to-face with Claude, the albino alligator. In the morning, rise and shine, then head over to the Academy Café for a continental breakfast.

Win Tickets to the October 12 Penguins+Pajamas at the California Academy of Sciences

September 23, 2012

Penguins + Pajamas at the California Academy of SciencesWe a blast at the California Academy of Sciences' Penguins + Pajamas sleepover when we attended last summer—it's a fantastic family experience that's both fun and educational. The next Penguins+Pajamas sleepover is scheduled for Friday, October 12, 2012, and we're giving away a pair of tickets to a lucky Marin Mommies reader!

Experience your own "night at the museum" as you explore the exhibits after-hours, stargaze at a planetarium show, and enjoy a special live animal presentation. Before bedtime, settle in for story time with cookies and milk to learn about Pierre—the Academy’s famous wetsuit-wearing penguin.

When the lights go out, unroll your sleeping bag in African Hall, next to the swaying kelp of the aquarium's California Coast tank, or even at the Swamp window, face-to-face with Claude, the albino alligator. In the morning, rise and shine, then head over to the Academy Café for a continental breakfast.

Blast Off at the Novato Space Festival this Saturday at Pacheco Plaza

July 11, 2012

Space Station Museum in NovatoCelebrate the 43rd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing at the 2012 Novato Space Festival at the Space Station Museum in Pacheco Plaza shopping center. This free event takes place Saturday, July 14 from 10 am to 4 pm at the museum and in Pacheco Plaza's Center Stage.

See artifacts and photographs from the 1969 moon landing; meet legendary astronaut Dan Bursch (who spent 227 days in space on the space shuttle and the International Space Station); sit in a Navy fighter jet cockpit from the USS Hornet Museum; participate in hands-on interactive exhibits from NASA, the Planetary Society, Cosmosphere, and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic; and more!

Kids can also build a snap-together space shuttle module, courtesy of HobbyTown USA, and a join the Space Book Club from Literacy Works.

A Prehistoric Adventure with Plantosaurus Rex at San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers

June 21, 2012

Plantosaurus Rex at the Conservatory of FlowersWalking into Golden Gate Park's magnificent Victorian Conservatory of Flowers is always a bit like stepping back in time. But through October 21, 2012, the Conservatory will transport visitors even further back in time than the 19th century with their newest exhibit, Plantosaurus Rex. Visitors to Plantosaurus Rex will encounter realistic model dinosaurs lurking within the Conservatory and surrounded by the plants that they were familiar with back in prehistoric times.

The first sign that something's not quite business as usual is the sight of a Tyrannosaurus Rex's fearsome looking head popping out of the glass Conservatory roof! (Don't worry—it's not really breaking throught the roof, it's just a clever and fun illusion.)

Inside, you'll see numerous examples of ancient plants from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, including ferns, horsetails, gingkos, coast redwoods, and orchids, along with the dinosaurs that ate them, like a life-sized baby Stegosaurus. You'll also see models of fearsome carnivores that ate the plant-eating dinosaurs, like the T Rex (or the rest of it, anyhow) and an Allosaurus.

A Visit to Sausalito's Bay Model

February 25, 2012

The Bay Model in SausalitoI grew up in Marin, but for some reason never visited the Bay Model in Sausalito until last Thursday. With their grand re-opening taking place this week, and with the kids having mid-winter break, I thought it would be a great time to check it out. It's also free to the public, so it's an inexpensive place for a fun and educational family outing. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but as it turns out we all really enjoyed our visit—it's definitely one of Marin's hidden treasures.

The Bay Model has been a Sausalito fixture since the 1950s, when it was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers to allow scientists and researchers to study how water flows through San Francisco Bay and the Delta. The Bay Model has functioned solely as an educational facility since 2000, and visitors can marvel at the giant model itself, which is the size of two football fields, learn about the local ecosystem, and explore the history of the World War II-era Marinship shipyard that was once on the site.

The Bay Model has just undergone $15.5 million dollars worth of renovations and improvements, including a new roof with 2,500 solar panels, seismic retrofitting, and upgrades to the visitor center. They'll be holding a grand re-opening celebration today, Saturday, February 25, from 11 am to 4 pm.

Syndicate content