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Chabot Space & Science Center

  • 5

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Chabot Space & Science Center
10000 Skyline Boulevard
OaklandCA 94619
(510) 336-7373

Ages: 6 and up

Cost: adult $14.95 | child (3 - 12) $10.95 | under 3 free

Parking: Yes - parking structure

Features: Shop, Handicap Accessible, Stroller Friendly, Restaurant, Snack Stand, Picnic Area, Family Friendly, Changing Table, Restrooms

The Chabot Space & Science Center is located high on the tops of the Oakland Hills, a perfect spot to take advantage of the Center's telescopes, which are the largest research-quality telescopes open to the public west of the Mississippi.

The 86,000 square foot center features interactive space and science exhibits, digital dome planetarium shows and MegaDome shows.  For a list of the center's current exhibits, click here, and for a list of the center's current planetarium and MegaDome shows, click here

The theater shows are not the only amazing draw at the Chabot Space & Science Center.  The Observatories are one of the best kept secrets of the San Francisco Bay Area.  Whether visiting in the daytime hours during night sky viewing hours, center patrons are invited to use the many kinds of observatory tools.

Regular Hours:

Monday & Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday & Thursday: 10am -5pm
Friday & Saturday: 10am - 10pm
Sunday: 10am - 5pm

Summer Hours:

Monday: Closed
Tuesday - Thursday: 10am - 5pm
Friday & Saturday: 10am - 10pm
Sunday: 10am - 5pm

Holiday Hours: 10am - 5pm

1 Reviews

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  • 5

Reviewed on 08/20/2012

Chabot Space & Science Center is out of this world. My three children, aged from 6 to 12, all found aspects of this outing to be exciting and informative. We spent an entire day enjoying not only the well-developed exhibits but also the planetarium shows, which ran throughout our visit.

Upon entering the Center, we checked out which shows we'd most like to watch and when they would be playing. With that info, we planned to first watch "Tales of the Mayan Skies". As the digital dome screen came to life and the Milky Way was projected upon it, my youngest sat back in his seat and let out an audible "Oooh!" While this show was probably not a perfect fit for younger audiences (it was lengthy), The Chabot Space & Science Center has a show that truly IS perfect for little kids: "Secret of the Cardboard Rocket".

The exhibits we visited were all really interesting.
** "Beyond Blastoff: Surviving in Space" had some components that were very hands-on. All three kids enjoyed climbing onto a sort of under-car-creeper and pretending to be astronauts 'floating' in space and working on the spaceship. The reticulated space toilet gave each child a moment to ponder just how difficult — and grossly fascinating — basic functions may be when orbiting in space.
** "Destination Universe" demonstrated how galaxies form, why nebulae and stars emit light in the colors that they do, and just how dark a black hole may be.
** In "Bill Nye's Climate Lab", the kids became Climate Scouts, and while the information may be fairly common sense (how to save energy, why biking is better than driving), it was in the nature of how this exhibit got kids involved that made it a winner. Special, recognizable ID cards were given to the kids at the front desk, and as they went through the Climate Lab, their IDs would register that they'd successfully completed an activity and would track points. It became a competition to see just who would win the most points and be the best Climate Scout of the family.

If you're at the Center during the day, like we were, you can see the large, high-powered telescopes, but you won't be able to see through them; go on a Friday or Saturday night to experience an up-close space viewing. Daytime visitors can view the sun through special sun viewers, and if outdoor experiments seem like they'd interest your kids, you can check out a Sun Explorers Backpack at the front desk to learn more about the special relationship between the Sun and the Earth.

We had lunch at the Center, which was a little pricey. ($40 for four of us, with orders ranging from hot dog to chicken Caesar salad.) Everything was freshly made, and most things were either organic and/or locally supplied. Moreover, the food was tasty. However, to save a bit of cash, you may pack a lunch and eat outside in the courtyard.

Chabot Space & Science Center