Tucked away in the Berkeley Hills resides The Lawrence Hall of Science. The museum is science-based and is an extension of UC Berkeley. I am a science nerd, so this museum is right up my alley.
Getting to the museum requires GPS or some excellently written directions, as the road winds through the hills and along steep sections with an occasional right turn here and a left turn there. The KidFriendlyVenues app has the correct GPS location for you. Parking is never an issue, but you do need to pay for parking at a kiosk near the museum entrance.
Leading up to the front doors of the museum is a large outdoor cement yard with a fountain and two large climbing structures: a whale and a strand of DNA. Yes, DNA. How cool is that?
The entry fee for the museum is modest, compared to many other Bay Area Museums. Our family has a membership. The way I look at it, even if we don’t utilize it, it helps fund an impressive institution which carries out important research.
Once inside the museum, the children run off in different directions to play with the many interactive displays. They are all hands-on, and the activities change out frequently. On this most recent visit, they had an airplane-making section with a contraption that would help launch them. There are more displays on the upper floor, as well as two rooms that allow for hands-on building. The activities are appropriate for toddlers to adults. The adults can fully engage in the physics behind the projects/activities, while the children have fun with cause-and-effect.
Downstairs in the museum is a theater with regular-viewing shows based on science, and they are approximately 40 minutes long. Many of the films are 3-D. Finding an empty seat is never an issue.
There is a magical room downstairs with various exotic animals, and for set times of the day, patrons are allowed to visit this laboratory and handle some of the animals.
Out the back door is the most gorgeous million-dollar view of the Bay Area. My two boys love the water area, where they can place paddles in a running stream to re-direct water flow. Of course, despite my warnings to stay dry, at least one child ends up falling in the water each time we visit this museum.
This is one of my favorite museums for many reasons: Super kid-friendly, the high quality of the displays, the lack of crowds, the ease of finding my straying children, and the fun outdoor area.