Exploratorium, San FranciscoPier 15, The Embarcadero, San Francisco
Set amid San Francisco’s bustling Pier 15 , the crowd-pleasing Exploratorium invites guests to experience science in action—like standing in a fog cloud or walking into the totally dark Tactile Dome. Check out six unique galleries, like the hands-on Tinkering area, where you can watch museum staffers create wonders but also make your own. In the Living Systems gallery, look at fruit flies and stem cells under a powerful microscope, or let kids “pedal” the bike-powered machine outside that approximates a giant, squirting game of jump rope. Climb the stairs to the Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery for remarkable views of sailboats, freighters, and ferries, as well as the nearby Bay Bridge and Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands. And don’t miss the all-glass observation cube at the very tip of the pier.