Home Venues Exploratorium


The Exploratorium isn’t just a museum; it’s an ongoing exploration of science, art, and human perception—a vast collection of online interactives, web features, activities, programs, and events that feed your curiosity. The exhibits also make for great conversation starters for out-of-town guests who don’t necessarily know one another.

“Brides and grooms who hold their receptions at San Francisco’s Exploratorium are definitely fun-loving,” says Amy Adkins, the museum’s rental manager.

Couples have used glass beakers for their centerpiece vases, greeted guests with a sign-holding mannequin wearing a lab coat, and directed their guests to their tables with a “Periodic Table” seating chart. For a unique wedding portrait, says Adkins, couples often pose against the museum’s Colored Shadows Wall exhibit. “There’s a lot you can do with the science theme without going ‘mad scientist,’ ” she says with a laugh. Most Exploratorium wedding receptions start with cocktails served among the museum’s hundreds of hands-on science exhibits, where it’s perfectly okay to drink champagne and snack on hors d’oeuvres.

says Adkins. “We have an 18-foot tornado that you can touch, a giant kaleidoscope where you can see yourself reflected into infinity, and a gravel path that you try to walk across as quietly as you can. At the end, you get a score. If you’ve been too loud, the screen writes: ‘Too loud. Try again.’ That’s a fun one for guests, especially after they’ve had a couple of drinks!”

In 2013, the Exploratorium is moving from the Palace of Fine Arts to Pier 15/16, on San Francisco’s historic Embarcadero. Located on the waterfront, it’s just a 10-minute walk from the landmark Ferry Building click for details.

3601 Lyon Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
Phone: 415/561-0311



Reception/Special Events

Max. Seated Indoors: 200
Max. Seated Outdoors: 0
Max. Seated Indoors: 400
Max. Seated Outdoors: 0
Max. Standing Indoors: 2500
Max. Standing Outdoors: 0
CEREMONY CAPACITY: Ceremonies are held in the adjacent Palace of Fine Arts rotunda, rented separately through the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. Ceremonies may also be held in the 125-seat McBean Theater.RECEPTION CAPACITY: The facility holds 400 seated or 2,500 standing guests indoors.FLOOR PLANS

 Fees & Deposits

20% of the total event cost is required to reserve your date. Half the balance is due 4 months prior and the remaining balance is due 2 months prior to the event. Rental fees start at $6,500 and vary depending on the event hours, time needed for vendor load-out and guest count.


Year-round, daily, starting at 5:15pm.


Choose From List


All floor locations for setup (food stations, bars, seating, etc.) must be made known to and approved by the Facilities & Rentals Program Associate at least two weeks prior to the event. An Event Coordinator will be on hand during your setup to spot problems, such as tables or bars blocking emergency exits or exhibit accessibility. no alcohol served after midnight.


Catering: select from approved list
Kitchen Facilities: prep only
Tables & Chairs: some provided,
or through caterer
Linens, Silver, etc.: through caterer
Restrooms: wheelchair accessible
Dance Area: provided
Bride’s Dressing Area: CBA
Meeting Equipment: CBA
Parking: large lot, on street
Accommodations: no guestrooms
Telephone: office phone
Outdoor Night Lighting: access only
Outdoor Cooking Facilities: no
Cleanup: caterer or renter
View: Palace of Fine Arts Rotunda and grounds
Other: AV equipment, access to hundreds of hands-on exhibits

Amplified Music

w/ Restrictions

Wheelchair Access

Wheelchair Accessible

Site Views


Venue Type

Banquet Hall/Events Facility


Alcohol: through caterer, licensed server required
Smoking: outdoors only
Music: amplified OK with restrictions
Wheelchair Access: yes
Insurance: liability required

Photos via  Exploratorium and Marielle Hayes Photography
Amy Adkins quote via  Magnet Street