My Toddler at the Exploratorium
Type of place: Museum
The Exploratorium is one of my favorite museums in San Francisco. I remember loving it when I was young because every exhibit was hands-on. I really love that you don't just look at things; you interact with the exhibits in order to learn something. Since I have a toddler that wants to touch everything, I figured this would be a good place for him.
It had been about 10 years since I last visited the museum. I couldn't remember if there were sections for small children so I went on their website for more info. The site clearly states that there is not a section specifically for toddlers but says many of the exhibits are fun for them because of lights and bubbles.
Because there wasn’t a specific toddler activity area, I decided to go on a day that was free. They have several of these days throughout the year. The full list is on their site here. I didn't want to pay $29.95 for my admission if my toddler might end up hating it.
We got inside and I quickly realized this was not going to be as good an idea as I thought. I have the type of toddler who wants to run and thrown himself head first into anything that looks fun. A lot of the exhibits are obviously not made for this. They have sharp edges, moving metal parts, wood, mirrors, concrete floors etc. The first section we walked into was the Tinkering section which has a lot of metal so right off the bat I was stopping him from exploring due to safety concerns.
We moved to another section looking for the exhibits with bubbles and lights. I only saw one with one giant bubble and he ran from the light show. I asked for help and was directed to the outdoor exhibits. Here he found the domino effect exhibit. This one kept his interest as there were small blocks and a table that was his height. He had fun here for a while until he realized that he had to leave the blocks there for the older kids to use. Then we had a stage 5 meltdown and we left the museum. We lasted a total of 25 minutes.
I counted this as a good day since 1) admission was free and 2) we got out of the house and tried something new. This place is great for people with older kids, or toddlers less rambunctious than mine. I really wish they had a little toddler section with safe interactive things they could tumble on or touch. But for now, I will plan on taking him again once he is a bit older.