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|Sean Garrity • 12/12/17|
The Short Version: More than just a museum, the Exploratorium is an ongoing celebration of science, art, and human perception built to feed human curiosity. Since its inception more than 40 years ago, couples have been flocking to this San Francisco public educational laboratory to learn more about the world and themselves. The Exploratorium’s interactive exhibits, film screenings, and adult-only After Dark events on Thursday nights offer the perfect backdrops for daters to strengthen bonds. So, if you and your significant other are looking to ignite passions for science and each other, the Exploratorium’s thought-inspiring exhibits and activities can act as the kindling. And, if you decide to commit, consider an After Dark membership.
Lifelong learners are a special breed of people. No matter how caught up they are in their careers, home lives, or day-to-day, they maintain an active interest in discovering more about the world around them. While it may not be surprising that these individuals are well read and make for great conversationalists, those with a propensity for curiosity are also much more likely to be adept in the areas of intimacy and relationships.
In fact, George Mason University’s Todd Kashan found that individuals who value intellectual pursuit scored higher than their counterparts on intimacy tests and displayed traits associated with social closeness.
“Being interested is more important in cultivating and maintaining a relationship than being interesting; that’s what gets the dialogue going,” he said in an interview. “It’s the secret juice of relationships.”
And, for those in the San Francisco area looking to spark these bond-building dialogues, the Exploratorium offers the perfect setting. This state-of-the-art learning laboratory delivers much more than your average museum.
The Exploratorium’s interactive exhibits, after-dark film screenings, and educational programs are perfect for daters seeking to learn more about the world and themselves.
“We believe in curiosity, inquiry, play, and experiential learning,” said Martin Rock, the Exploratorium’s Associate Director of Communications. “It’s incredibly exciting to enter a space where you’re encouraged to create new experiences and make your own discoveries.”
Located in San Francisco’s famed Pier 15, the Exploratorium has been providing inquiry-based experiences for the public for more than 40 years. The educational laboratory’s goal is to transform learning by engaging visitors’ curiosity through explore-for-yourself exhibits, film screenings, and events, among many other vehicles.
The Exploratorium is also changing the way science is taught with professional development programs designed for educators. As Martin noted, this all works to solidify the Exploratorium’s commitment to lifelong learning, the community, and the other museums with which it shares exhibits and expertise.
Martin also told us why a date at the Exploratorium is excellent for a budding relationship,
“We invite people into a space that’s very different than what they’re used to,” he said. ”A date at the Exploratorium is a way to experience new things together and to be open not only intellectually, but emotionally; not only to the exhibits, but also to each other. A lot of our exhibits actually require two people and you can learn a lot about a person by how they choose to engage.”
No matter your interest or passion, the Exploratorium has multiple ways you can investigate it, as well as get exposed to new things that might catch your fancy.
Struggling to find something to talk about is a common first date woe, and the Exploratorium solves that problem.
Walk through exhibits and discuss everything from art to science. Get hands-on with the tinkering exhibit. Learn about earthquakes via slinkies and pasta. You can even create a memento from your first date in the form of a self-portrait silhouette. The opportunities for engaging conversation are endless.
If it’s a second date, the We or Just Me exhibit will help you and your date determine if you are a pushover or you play to win. This exhibit offers several social experiments to learn about social concepts of fairness, risk, and reward. It’s an easy and fun way to get to know more about your date and yourself.
After several sessions of inquiry and discussion at the many exhibits at the Exploratorium, stop into the SeaGlass Restaurant. Enjoy a locally-sourced menu with waterside views while you talk about which exhibits interested you the most. The stunning views also set a casual scene for romance.
Rather than hit the neighborhood pizzeria on Thursday nights, come to the Exploratorium for its thematic After Dark Thursdays. Grab a date or some friends, a drink, and lose yourself in the more than 650 exhibits that explore perception, art, and science.
Hang out in the pitch-black dome, and then enjoy a walk across the fog bridge. Each Thursday also offers a special theme that can include guest speakers, music, specialty films, and one-of-a-kind activities only the Exploratorium can give you.
“The Exploratorium also does a lot of work to bring together experts from various disciplines to discuss a single topic, and much of this happens at After Dark on Thursday nights,” Martin said. “Because of the interdisciplinary nature of these discussions, our visitors have access to fascinating conversations they won’t find anywhere else.”
Last month, the Exploratorium started offering an After Dark membership, which Martin described as something new and refreshing to the museum world
“It’s not common for experiential museums to engage directly with adults by offering an affordable, adult-only, evening-only membership,” he said. “Because every After Dark is different, members get a year of innovative programming for the cost of two nights out. I like to think of After Dark as a cross between your favorite class and the coolest bar you’ve ever been to. Events focus on everything from the science of food to the elements that make up our universe.”
If you’re a fan of vanilla, come to the thematic After Dark Vanilla at the Exploratorium to learn about its original cultivation in Mexico and how it’s now grown worldwide. In this educational session, Dr. Sharman O’Neil discusses the environmental implications this global cultivation has on the biodiversity of vanilla plants. Vanilla-centric food and drink and information about the science of vanilla in cooking will also be served up. This is just one of the interesting events After Dark Thursdays offers. If you’re more into glitter and sparkle, After Dark: Bright and Shiny on January 4th might be more your speed.
Like-minded lifelong learners are drawn to the Exploratorium each spring for its annual gala, Party at the Piers. This signature fundraising event celebrates the Exploratorium’s exceptional approach to science, art, and education.
Attendees enjoy food, music, and entertainment while raising money to support educational programs that benefit thousands of students and teachers worldwide. It’s also a great excuse to pull out your formalwear and impress your special someone with your dance moves. When that’s over, head to the after-party, Afterglow, to keep the good times rolling for a great cause.
Martin told us another event members enjoy each year is the Science of Cocktails.
“The best bars from all over the city come up with specialty cocktails that are inspired by science, and specifically by our exhibits,” he said. “For the cost of admission, visitors get to try custom cocktails from the best mixologists in the city and to understand some of the science that goes into making the perfect drink. And the Exploratorium’s exhibits are just as fun after a drink or two.”
Tickets to this event tend to sell out quickly.
Tons of exhibits, After Dark Thursdays, and an environment that breeds curiosity and discussion make the Exploratorium a unique and phenomenal place to take your date or meet with other people who love learning more about the world around them.