Wow!! I was so impressed with how much stuff they have going on here!!
If you can get your kids through the "hall" to the exhibit halls in the back, they are usually the most interesting in my opinion--with all kinds of hands-on building, designing, climbing exhibits that bring science ideas to life and encourage testing out ideas--my kids are 5 and enjoyed it--I can only imagine how much an 8 or 10 year old would get out of this museum!
Truthfully, you'll probably get caught up on the way on some of their other great exhibits--liquid magnets, air tubes, oversized foam blocks, a swirling earth--yeah, pretty hard to pass up!
The outdoor exhibits were out of order when we were there 11/2012 and 2/2013, but the view of teh bay is pretty and the waterfall, sand table is still a big draw.
There are also all kinds of things going on downstairs--we can never see everything because there is so much to see and do, and the exhibits change every few months. They know how to keep you coming back!
Weekends are packed, but have the added bonus of animal encounters and craft activities which were favorites for my kids.
SF Bay Area residents can reserve passes through their library accounts.
I visited http://visitberkeley.com to plan my Berkeley trip. It was from the family section of the website, http://visitberkeley.com/what-to-do/family-fun, that I learned about UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS). The LHS was a marvelous experience for both my son (age 2) and me. We had so much fun that I vowed to return to the LHS once a year. The current exhibit “Dinosaurs Unearthed” is at the LHS through January 1, 2012.
REALISTIC MULTISENSORY EXPERIENCE
A life sized model of a Fin whale whose back is begging to be climbed resides on the LHS plaza, located in the Berkeley Hills above the University of California at Berkeley. Once inside prepare to be greeted by several gigantic animals with open jaws, blinking eyes, and moving limbs! I walked among roaring, stomping, realistic-looking dinosaurs that never once scared my toddler son. Outside in the back stands an adult Tyrannosaurus Rex of immense size with booming sounds. Downstairs in the lower level are dinosaur skeletons. I took several pictures of a T-Rex skull while gawking at the size of its teeth. I also learned that you can get married here!!
NONSTOP EXCITEMENT FOR ALL AGES
Younger visitors will have fun in the Young Explorers’ Experience. This special exhibition area features activities designed for visitors aged 2–7 years, such as a dino dig site, a climb-in dino nest, and a take-home activity. Birthday parties can also be arranged for children turning 4 and older.
The LHS features hands-on exhibits and non-stop activities for children and adults. I measured my son in nanometers at one of the hands-on activity stations in the Nanozone and watched a puppet show put on by fellow visiting children in the KidsLab; a multi-sensory play area for children in kindergarten and younger.
My son was engrossed for 30 minutes at the Kapla exhibit (simple building planks that reminded me of Jenga). My favorite moment though was at the windtubes. I watched my son play side-by-side with older kids, toddlers, and even children who were brand new walkers.
The cafeteria food was reasonably priced. I paid $5 for a large kid’s cheese pizza and a bag of chips. The elevators are large, the crowds are reasonable, and the parking lot is a short walk to the entrance. Best of all the entertainment is nonstop. Of all the trips I’ve taken this year to Maui, Oahu, Santa Cruz, and even Disneyland, I have to admit this museum was one of my favorite events.
Parking is $4. Open daily from 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more information go to http://lawrencehallofscience.org/
• $17.00 Adults (ages 19–61)
• $14.00 Student/Senior/Disabled (ages 7–18; 62 plus)
• $11.00 Children (ages 3-6; children under 3 are admitted free)
• $4 for Members, UC Berkeley students and staff
• Free for Member Dino Pass holders. Get more information on membership and the Dino Pass at http://lawrencehallofscience.org/giving/member.
• Planetarium and 3D Film an additional $4 each per visitor
Disclosure: The Lawrence Hall of Science provided my family with complimentary tickets so that I could review “Dinosaurs Unearthed”. The Lawrence Hall of Science did not request that I express any particular point of view and my reviews always reflect my honest opinions.
I hate to be the wet noodle among the glowing reviews of this East Bay institution, but after spending a rainy morning at Lawrence Hall of Science, I won't be going back anytime soon. Maybe when my 3yo is 4-5yo, we'll try again. I expected a large crowd given the weather, but what others describe as a great open floor plan to me felt like an acoustic nightmare. It is so very loud!
Exhibits are basically free standing in a large circular room with a very high ceiling, so every child who screams with joy (or sorrow) echos. Some of the exhibits include a lot of noise as well, like the air canon, or the wind tunnel. Other areas are similar, and it seems like walls are open at the top and just let noise from other rooms bleed together.
The exhibits themselves are pretty nice. Everything is hands on, though older children and younger children mingle quite a bit so the little ones don't really have a fair chance to play with things outside of the small, padded area called KidsLab designed for preschoolers. It was hard to tune out the din to hear some of the exhibits' push-button explanations.
I'd think these issues were just our little family, yet I saw many other children melting down with the same characteristic overstimulated cry as the morning progressed. This place needs chill-out room.
For whatever reason we kept away from Lawrence Hall of Science until yesterday. It may have been perfect timing or possibly we've been missing out for months but Lawrence Hall came through in a big way for us this weekend. Pros: carpeted floor (great for 3 year olds and crawling under-1s), big open floor plan (i.e. don't have to deal with rubbing shoulders with damp kids and parents), cool outside areas (especially fun on a foggy, wet day), neat mid century space age architecture, engaging activities for kids AND adults, friendly families, cafe with amazing views, reasonably priced parking lot, etc, etc. Cons: tough one...I would be perfectly happy if all these kids museums just eliminated the gift shops. I understand making money but I think it takes away from the "point" of the experience which for me is knowledge=currency (not a $10 giant bouncy ball with a plastic embedded clown fish). Despite the gift shop LHS gets a five from the Kiuchis.
There are a lot of scientific models, exhibits and activities for kids at Lawrence Hall of Science. Here's a place where visitors of all ages can explore science. The kids can spark their curiosity with science, math and engineering classes and camps. They also get up close with the animals from the Animal Discovery Room, build and design towers and bridges, create a new tech project.
One of the favored destinations for Bay Area children's field trips, the Lawrence Hall of Science boasts first rate exhibits, demonstrations, and educational programs that highlight the interactive spirit of scientific exploration. All of the activities at Lawrence Hall are highly engaging, with hands-on opportunities for learning and fun around every corner. Lawrence Hall also offers some of the most varied and fascinating programs for children of all ages, both as summer programs and after school activities during the year.
This is a great place to have the kids blow off some energy on those foggy Bay Area days, although if you visit when the weather is more temperate, you will be able to enjoy one of the finest panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay Area while your kids are fully engaged in climbing on the life-sized orca on the museum's outdoor patio.
The Lawrence hall of science in the Berkeley hills is a win sunbelt parents and children alike. The senic views of the bay area combined with the hands on science museum makes for a fun outting any day of the week. The giant whale and double heilux out front are just a glimps of what youcan find inside. Rotating exibits keep kids interested while teaching them the fundimentals of science. Birthday parties are also great here and include an all day pass to the museum for guests.
I believe the Hall is still in operation although it has been many years since we last went. It is geared toward children school age and up to adult. Lots of hands on activities and changing exhibits often. Well worth the trip. There is a great gift store with all sorts of learning/teaching materials.
Love this place when its raining out! Great place to take the kids to run around. My 2 yr old loves the little tot area, he can take off his shoes and run around! Some of it may seem a little outdated, but the kids love it. Not to mention the fantastic views when its a clear day out!
Our kids have been on numerous field trips to Lawrence Hall of Science. They have an excellent educational program, with different featured science topics (e.g., static electricity) offered in a number of classes. On field trips, the kids have typically rotated among 2 or 3 classes. The site has a beautiful, expansive view of the Bay and plenty of space for the kids to burn off energy after eating their brown bag lunches. There's also a cafeteria in the facility, as well as a small science museum with featured exhibits that change regularly.
This science museum is smaller than most others in the Bay Area, but it does have enough exhibits to keep most school-aged kids engaged for at least an hour or two. The traveling exhibits are always great, but our two favorite permanent exhibits were the outdoor lab area and the animal discovery room in a classroom downstairs. I wished we would have had time to check out the planetarium show.
The views from the outdoor play area are awesome. So sit back and relax while your kids try their hand at controlling the water flow "from the Sierra Nevada".
Check the schedule for the times for the Animal Discovery Room, since it's not always open.
We really enjoy going to the Lawerence Hall of Sciences. Their exhibitions are always very interesting and it is impossible to leave without having learned something new. The view from the gardens is breathtaking. They have very high quality items in their gift store.
The Lawrence Hall of Science is a science center that is part of UC Berkeley. It has an outdoor exhibit called Forces that Shape the Bay which is great. Also, on the weekends in the afternoon, there is a room downstairs with animals that visitors can observe and meet. There is also an area specifically for children 6 and under which has activities that the littlest ones enjoy such as big foam blocks. They also have summer camps, after school classes and birthday parties here! Lastly, the view from here is gorgeous!
Beautiful views from parking lot. Awesome whale and cell structure to climb on outside. Inside, the main exhibits are on the 1st floor. Lot's of hand's on displays and it certainly is a great visit for kids and adults alike. My personal favorite room is the one with all the animals, and you can touch them, and its usually open on the weekends so either call or check online for the hours. i dont know them off the top of my head.
My boys love this museum because of all the interactive exhibits and play area. I like it because it's small enough that I can keep on eye on them but it still has plenty to look at and enjoy. There's a great outside area too if the weather is good. Some exhibits change periodically too so you can keep going with new things to look at.
We happened to be in Tilden Park on a rainy day and ended up visiting the Lawrence Hall of Science on a whim while we were trying to escape the wet. But we had a fantastic time in the toddler area where the kid were able to build using large foam blocks. But the area that they enjoyed the most was kids can build cars out of Legos and race them down a track against other cars. It was a fun lesson on areo dynamism and stability. The store had some really fun stuff, but we always try to spend very little time in museum stores. In the summer, Lawrence Hall of Science runs a series of wonderful science camps. If we lived closer, I'd definitely sign up kids up.
This is a fun thing to do on a rainy day when your kids have been inside for too long. They have special exhibits that come and go so you'll have to check the website for what's current. Our favorite special exhibit was the dinosaur exhibit. The kids enjoyed the permanent exhibits as well. The planetarium show is fun to do and isn't very expensive.