The [San Francisco] Exploratorium

While I was in San Francisco, a friend suggested we meet up to hang out at The Exploratorium for their After Dark event. Once a month, only adults are allowed in. Each one has a topic, this on was The Art of Tinkering. There were cocktails, (too expensive to bother with, but nice), people making things, experiments to play with and people explaining their craft.

San fran explore (19)Iris and I went, we never ran into my other friend, I guess his phone died, and had a great time. We are lucky if we saw a quarter of what there was to see. The place is huge. We hung around the sight and color section quite a bit. I forgot how much fun it can be to play with perception and color.

Blending diffrent light shadows Image from Iris

Blending different light shadows Image from Iris

Huge Mirror that flipped everything upside down.

Huge Mirror that flipped everything upside down.

Inside a kaleidoscope

Inside a kaleidoscope

We both fell in love with this map diagramming the changes of the Mississippi River. I am trying to find a print of it. I found the creator, and there are many more of them, but I haven’t found anyone who has prints.

San fran explore (10)We maybe going to make some LED accessories, but decided not to wait to get to the table. My favorite thing was an amazing toothpick model of the city of San Francisco by Scott Weaver called Rolling Through the Bay. He would roll ping pong balls through it on a tour of the city. Incredible.

San fran explore (8) San fran explore (7) San fran explore (1)We also tried out the Cheek-to-Cheek piece by Bernie Lubell. It looked a bit like an electric shock chair. The idea was that you put this contraption on your head. There are pads that are on your cheeks and they fill with air as you move around on the chair and air is pumped in to the pads, so you are dancing cheek to cheek with yourself. Pretty funny.

Me on Cheek-to-Cheek. Image from Iris

Me on Cheek-to-Cheek. Image from Iris

Iris on Cheek-to-Cheek

Iris on Cheek-to-Cheek

We also spent some time on the rooftop checking out The Bay Lights, Iris’s favorite installation right now. The Bay Bridge has been turned into a huge LED light sculpture that is programmed to change by the artist, Leo Villareal.

We finished the night looking at the emotion and social experiment area, daring you to walk under a ladder or suspended piano. It was fun watching peoples reactions to being surprised, even though they knew it was coming. A camera caught them and it was replayed in slow motion. I was awful at guessing which was a person genuine smile vs. a fake one, even though I did really well on this test.

Walking under a piano

Walking under a piano

We spent almost two hours before we finally headed out. It was really fun and I would have loved to have spent more time there. If you are in the area, you should definitely check it out, day or night.

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