Friday, January 4, 2013 Jessica

We took our kids just in the nick of time.  I just went on their website and they've closed the Palace of Fine Arts location and are gearing up for the Grand Opening at their new location on Pier 15.  Looks like there will be some On the Move outside street parties as well as some Pop-up Exhibits until the opening on April 17th.

I didn't realize they were closing so I guess it was our farewell visit.  I'm kind of sad it won't be at the Palace of Fine Arts, that's such an amazing venue.  But what if?...what if it's now going to be converted into a huge year round Flea Market with Food Trucks!!!  It's not out of the realm of possibility.  Here's what Curbed SF has to say on what's to become of the old space: 

While no specific plans are proposed yet, the committee has offered an initial framework to base projects, including public access, retaining the theater, preserving the architecture, "synergistic with adjacent outdoor spaces," family friendly, and including some kind of food service. They're thinking something along the lines of museum, exhibition space, venue for trade and craft shows, or art studios, and are open to both multiple-tenant and single-tenant uses.

It's possible, people...

Anyhow, our farewell visit was on a terribly rainy and stormy Friday so yaay!  it wasn't very crowded.  

The highlight was the tactile dome {I hope it's still going to be at the new location because it is awesome fun.  Seriously, everyone needs to do it.}

If you haven't, and you want to be surprised...don't read any further because this is going to be a full on spoiler post.  

Here's how the Exploratorium website describes it: 

Visitors enter through a light-lock room into a totally dark maze (path). Then, for an hour and fifteen minutes, they feel, bump, slide and crawl through and past hundreds of materials and shapes which blend, change and contrast. The purpose is to disorient the sensory world so that the only sense the visitor can rely on is touch. The sensation is so outside ordinary experience that a few people panic. An attendant at a control panel can reach every part of the ant-hill like maze almost instantly.

The four of us, along with about 15 other people were ushered into the dome and sat in a small waiting area where we were briefed on what to expect...which wasn't much more than what you read above - as well as that there is one way in and one way out and the way out is to always move ahead.  

We sat there nervous. 

We are a family of people who does best being the first to do something.  The sitting and waiting and watching other people go just makes us all anxious and tense {is that normal, you think or do some people prefer to wait?}.  Ian kept raising his hand too slow {sorry Ian, it's true} and we were almost the last group to go in {they stagger the groups so that you're not all on top of each other}.  

We'd decided Ian would be leader, then me, Anya, and finally Zack would bring up the rear.   

Ian, as the leader, was told he just had to keep on telling us what we were to expect and this is the kind of stuff we heard: 

Ian: Okay, so I'm going through a really small tunnel and you just have to keep pushing through and...okay...I'm climbing now, still climbing....yeah still climb and then...ouch...okay now I'm in a room with lots of metal and you just have to keep climbing...and wait...oh I'm sliding down a thing's a slllliiiidddeee.  

And then before you know it, I had stopped climbing up the thing and was in the metal room and then found myself head first hurdling down a slide and then it spit me out and I dropped - boink - right onto a big bouncy ball like floor....and right underneath me was Ian and his stinky feet {yeah you have to take your shoes off so it does smell a little like stinky feet and I touched Ian's socked feet that day more than I'd like to think about}.  

There was one small millisecond when I was working and wiggling my way through a tunnel where I thought "uh oh, I don't want to do this" but I pushed it down because it was really fun too.  

It doesn't take an hour and fifteen minutes to get through the maze, but you have that amount of time to go through the maze as many times as you'd like.  All four of us went through 3 times and then the kids went together once on their own.  

Highly highly highly recommend it.  

Anyone else like to share their experience with the tactile dome?


Rachel said...

Had absolutely no idea that was an exhibit there. Yes I hope that it is in the new location because that sounds cool and maybe if it's newer and we go soon, it won't be so stinky. ; )

Juliana said...

That sounds really fun! I hope they move it to the new location so we can check it out!