Sunday, December 5, 2010

Larwrence Hall of Science in Berkley

We're big fans of science museums (as you may have been able to tell by the reviews listed here so far), but the Lawrence Hall of Science is one of our favorites. It's among the great hands-on science centers of the Bay Area. It's also a little less expensive than many of the other big science museums, right now running at $6.00 to $9.00 for kids and $12.00 for adults, kids under 3 are free.

One of the things we like best about the Lawrence Hall of Science is that it has generally not overwhelmingly crowded when we've visited. We may have to wait a moment to take a turn with an experiment or a table, but most of the time we don't. Usually the stations we have to ration ourselves with and share the most are the big, new ones in the main lobby. There is usually enough room to move, and take time at each science station without feeling like other as hovering around waiting for us to move.

My oldest daughter took a one-day workshop on animal adaptations that she told me she enjoyed very much. I only peeked through the window from the hall, but the group of kids all looked enthralled with the class.

Some of the exhibits change every few months or so and you can see both the current and upcoming themes on the Lawrence Hall of Science website. There are also many exhibits that stay the same all the time, so not everything will be brand new if you visit a few times a year.

The only thing I've been disappointed in was the planetarium show. It's a fairly small planetarium, so the host/speaker is very accessible for asking questions of, which is nice, but the shows we've seen have been underwhelming. One of the shows we watched was projected with a regular projector as a traditional rectangular screen, which made viewing very difficult for anyone sitting underneath it in the circular room. It seem to be a waste of a domed planetarium to me. On the upside, tickets are very cheap, only $4 (it isn't included in the admission cost). But if you're short on time, or unsure if you want to stop and see a show, I'd pass and stick with the other great options available at the museum.

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