Lawrence Hall of Science 1 Centennial Dr., below Grizzly Peak Blvd. Parking $1/hr.
Located high in the hills behind the campus, this hands-on museum was established by the university in 1968 as a memorial to Ernest Orlando Lawrence, who developed the cyclotron and was the university’s first Nobel laureate. The 65-ton electromagnet that was used to provide a large magnetic field for the 27-inch cyclotron in the early 1930s is displayed outside in front of the hall, and the original 5-inch, hand-held cyclotron is displayed inside the hall. Special events are scheduled regularly. Though exhibits are of special interest to grade-school children, pre-schoolers especially enjoy the water area of the outdoor Forces that Shape the Bay exhibit (picnic tables are provided here) and the Design Quest activity room with crafts materials galore. Teens often respond to the astronomy shows in the small Holt Planetarium and also like the Ingenuity Lab. The hall’s permanent exhibits include a seismic recorder and the Nano area, where you will discover a world that is normally too small to see. Couches and chairs are found throughout for resting. On weekends, the Animal Discover Room permits finding out more about small animals such as chinchillas and turtles. Outside on the vast entry plaza overlooking the San Francisco Bay, kids can climb on a life-size adolescent fin whale and a DNA molecule play structure.
The short-order Bay View Cafe dispenses well-priced fare—including several choices for vegetarians and vegans—and provides a magnificent panoramic view of the bay and San Francisco.
See the spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay via webcam, located at the Lawrence Hall of Science.
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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers