March 16, 2009

Outdoor San Francisco science museum opens

An outdoor, interactive science museum has opened along San Francisco's waterfront, offering visitors both toys and tools to explore scientific principles.

The Outdoor Exploratorium at Fort Mason, a historic military post established in the 1860s, takes advantage of the natural and man-made landscape. Included among the exhibits is the Bridge Thermometer -- a calibrated telescope that allows viewers to see how the Golden Gate Bridge -- engineered to move up and down as much as 16 feet at its center in response to thermal expansion and contraction -- changes height depending on temperature and traffic.

The 20 exhibits, funded by a National Science Foundation grant, were designed by scientists and artists from The Exploratorium, a popular hands-on museum inside the Palace of Fine Arts at the site of the 1915 San Francisco World's Fair.

This is not what you typically envision when you think of a museum, project developer Bryan Connell said in an interview. This is the future.