Exploratorium Preps for Move to Piers

San Franciscans are used to seeing exhibits that are amazing, weird, and awesome at the Exploratorium, but soon they might catch a glimpse of something new: moving boxes.

The Exploratorium is prepping for a move over to Pier 15, currently an underutilized warehouse in the middle of nowhere on the northeastern waterfront. Today's groundbreaking (waterbreaking?) ceremony kicks off three years of rehab and construction on the piers, and will culminate with a state-of-the-art new home for the one-of-a-kind museum.

The new location offers a slew of advantages: more space than the current location in the Marina, docks for oceanographic vessels,

Before the move can happen, though, the floor of the bay will need to be cleaned, and piles will be driven deep into the ground to support the rickety piers. Solar panels will adorn the roofs, bay water will heat and cool the building, and gray rainwater collected during wet weather will be recycled for non-potable uses like toilets.

All told, it'll cost about $300 million, of which $91 million is still being sought.

The project has made some people nervous, since it will privatize a significant amount of waterfront property. But considering its current decrepit state, the general consensus is that the trade-off is worth it.

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