The Exploratorium, a museums of science, art and human perception, is home to hundreds of exhibits that help in the understanding of electricity, centrifugal motion, sound waves, optical illusion and superstitions among other things. There are a few "hidden" exhibits at the Exploratorium that are easy to miss, but very worth seeking out.
First among them is the Sound Column, easy to pass by as it is what looks like a maintenance door in one of the massive Neo-Roman columns that make up the remains of the Palace of Fine Arts. In fact, the column is hollow and contains a fantastic demonstration of how sound waves work. By hitting a xylophone in the column with a large mallet the different notes travel at different wavelengths illustrated on the wall. By just moving ones head up and down one can make the notes seem to go silent, at the smallest section of the wavelength, or resonate loudly as they do at the peak of the wavelength. If the door is locked, ask at the front desk and someone will let you in.
Another hidden delight is the Tactile Dome – not recommended for the claustrophobic or germophobic - is an experience in total darkness that challenges visitors to heighten their sense of touch to navigate through the winding paths on their hands and knees. The tactile dome must be reserved ahead of time, and is a three dollar additional cost to the museum.
On any given day the Exploratorium is overrun by kids on field trips or birthday parties. It can be hard to fully enjoy the exhibits while kids frantically careen from exhibit to exhibit, but once a month on the first Thursday the museum is open late for Exploratorium After Dark. The lights are turned down low, special exhibits, such as as chain saw ice sculpting or Dr. MegaVolt©, are brought in, and drinks are served. In this setting, the Exploratorium becomes a fantastic play land for adults, who still have enough wonder in them to delight in the wonderful exhibits of the Exploratorium.