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Explor­atorium ready to amaze on Pier 15

PIER 15 — Since 1969, the Exploratorium has fascinated visitors of all ages. Late last year, the Exploratorium left its original home at the Palace of Fine Arts to set up residence at historic Pier 15.

The new $300 million interactive museum will open to the public Wednesday after a series of special events including a gala party.

Other than the classic facade of the old Pier, everything in the new Exploratorium is designed for the 21st century and beyond.

The 330,000-square foot Embarcadero location offers breathtaking views of San Francisco including the Waterfront and Bay Bridge.

Some of the new exhibits include a tinkerer’s clock complete with pulleys, levers and gears that climax with a gong. The entire mechanism is run on windshield wiper motors.

Another new exhibit is a giant mirror where patrons interact with a giant upside-down image of themselves and others. You can explore an image of the museum where even the smallest faraway object appears in perfect focus and detail.

The mirror — which also reflects and magnifies audio — looks likely to become one of the new favorite exhibits.

Artist Michael Brown collaborated with reclaimed wood specialist Evan Shively to create the Tree Experience, created from a fallen 300-year old Douglas Fir tree. The tree has been split down the center to reveal its rings. It’s technically known as dendrochronology.

There are roughly 150 new exhibits in the total of 600.  Many old favorites remain, including the Shadow Box, in which a flash captures your shadow against a wall after a 60-second countdown.

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