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Friday, January 12, 2018

San Francisco with Kids: The Exploratorium

The Exploratorium is a suggestion that EVERYONE makes when telling you about places to visit with kids, and when you go in, you'll realise why. It's like a Science Museum on steroids.. one day is barely enough to see it all. If you can avoid school holiday time, you might have an easier time of it, as when it's crowded you might end up waiting around a bit for popular exhibits as we did. But there's enough to experience that you can keep moving around and come back later to the ones you missed as well. The post is more of a photo tour, as I can't really do justice and describe the variety of stuff. You can find more details of the different spaces etc. at the link given on the first line.

This is an exhibit in the Colours and Light section (which is where most of my pics are from) that showed how perception makes the difference when viewing colours. I was curious to see if it would come through in photos as well:

What colour would you say that is? White?
The one on the left is the "white" one from the previous pic!
The rightmost one is the newest now.. 
The card in 2nd position is the one we saw in the first pic - dark grey if not black.
Pretty cool, especially for the kids.

Who doesn't want to make funny and colourful shadows if you get the chance. I was also part of the fun along with trying to click it ;).

This is what we looked like on a screen that detected our infrared radiation. The one with the black i.e. VERY COLD nose is me :P. Checked after a couple of hours spent inside and it was back to normal. You could also press your hands on some cold shapes and check out your "tattoos" on the screen.

On to a small room where everything was lit in monochromatic (yellow) light. It was fascinating to see how that drains out most colour. My blue jacket was dark grey, our shoes were drab, and this lovely rainbow looked absolutely washed out. Compare to the one just outside the room just below. The room also had small torches giving out white light that the kids could shine on things to see the difference that made. A box with jellybeans, a set of crayons, a painting of a landscape, were some of the examples in the room.

Monochromatic light
A similar one in normal white light
We'd seen this type of mirror before but it's always fun to go at it again. I was not going for Leonardo's Vitruvian Man symmetry, but that's what I managed to look like ;)

This one was titled Floater Theatre where we watched a BLANK WHITE SCREEN for a few minutes with a narrative playing alongside, with the floaters in our eye showing up and giving a performance based on how we moved them. Amazing use of something I always assumed was a minor irritation but otherwise never thought about.

The kids, especially D, were fascinated with this one
My post probably covers about 3-4% of the place, as most activities were hands-on and I was only clicking the occasional one. Do check it out if you are ever in San Francsisco, I am sure the kids will find it memorable.

Signing off with a lovely if slightly garbled pic of D and S with an even more shadowy me on the side..


  1. It's been years since I went. Thanks for the great reminder, I should take the kids!

    1. Thanks for reading Arvind :). I'm sure the kids will have tons of fun!

  2. This is spectacular!

    Love the one with the colour perceptions. Says so much about the way we view things even otherwise, no?

    That rainbow screen one is also there in Mangalore, by the way. Saw it last time we were there.


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