Top Bay Area Tech Museums
Chabot Space & Science Center. Explore our planet and universe, learn about space exploration and climate change, attend special workshops and events, or gaze through telescopes. $5 admission is available on select Fridays, and admission to the Observatory Deck for telescope viewing is free on Friday and Saturday nights. 1000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland. 510-336-7300. www.chabotspace.org.
Lawrence Hall of Science. Run by U.C. Berkeley, this center in the East Bay hills offers permanent and rotating exhibits that allow children to participate in design challenges, follow along with the discoveries of Berkeley scientists, explore the geology of the Bay Area or watch changing weather patterns on a six-foot globe. The current exhibit, “DesignQuest: Build the Future,” runs through Jan. 19. In December and January, the Ingenuity Lab, open weekends and holidays from 12-4 p.m., will feature marble runs. Other events include planetarium shows and 3-D films. 1 Centennial Drive, #5200, Berkeley. 510-642-5132. www.lawrencehallofscience.org.
Oakland Museum of California. One of three main galleries, the museum’s Gallery of California Natural Sciences includes seven places throughout the state that show California’s diversity of climate, ecosystems, wildlife and more, while exploring conservation, land use and environmental conflict. 1000 Oak St., Oakland. 888-625-6873. museumca.org.
Bay Area Discovery Museum. Learn about the Bay, build and create in an Imagination Playground or learn the “Secrets of Circles” in math, science and engineering in this hands-on children’s museum that aims to spark creative thinking. 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito. 415-339-3900. www.baykidsmuseum.org.
Children’s Creativity Museum. At this interactive art and technology museum, children can make their own stop-motion animation film, experiment with Photoshop, play the role of inventor in the Innovation Lab or join in workshops featuring innovators, game developers and more. 221 Fourth St. 415-820-3320. creativity.org.
The Exploratorium. A pioneer in hands-on science education and a longtime Bay Area favorite, the Exploratorium is better than ever in its beautiful Bay-front location that opened in 2013. Explore science, art and human perception, whether making your shadow dance, drinking from a toilet water fountain or watching a dissection. Projects change frequently in the Tinkering Studio, where kids can create with circuits, motors and more. A number of outdoor exhibits are available free to the public. Pier 15, The Embarcadero. 415-528-4360. exploratorium.edu.
Children Discovery Museum. This hands-on science and art museum encourages little explorers’ creativity and curiosity with exhibits on bubbles, mammoths, water and more. The current exhibit “Broken? Fix It!” helps visitors diagnose problems and get inside the repair process. 180 Woz Way, San Jose. 408-298-5437. www.cdm.org.
Computer History Museum. Learn about the history of computing, explore driverless cars, see some of the first computers and more through exhibits, multimedia displays and events. 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View. 650-810-1010. www.computerhistory.org.
Intel Museum. Go behind the scenes of Silicon Valley, see what it’s like in a silicon chip factory and more in this chipmaker’s interactive museum. 2200 Mission College Blvd., Santa Clara. 408-765-5050. www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/company-overview/intel-museum.html.
NASA Ames Visitor Center. Learn what’s happening at this important research center through exhibits on spacecraft missions, living in space, the moon and more at this free visitor center. NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field (take Moffett Boulevard off Hwy. 101). 650-604-6497. www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/home/exploration.html.
The Tech Museum of Innovation. The Tech aims to inspire the innovator in everyone through hands-on exhibits and workshops on technology and innovation, biotechnology and health, renewable energy and more. Check out a 3-D printer, meet a social robot, experience an earthquake or watch an IMAX film, among other fun family activities. STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math), maker and hands-on science workshops are held regularly on both a drop-in and registration basis. 201 S. Market St., San Jose. 408-294-8324. www.thetech.org.
Janine DeFao is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent.