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Free Museum Day 2023 at The Exploratorium for Mother’s Day (SF)

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Sunday, May 14, 2023 - 10:00 am to 5:00 pm | Cost: FREE*
*Pay what you can

Pier 15 | 698 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111

Free / Learn More

The Exploratorium typically only has one “pay what you wish” day a year.

The Exploratorium’s “Community Day” tradition returns for 2023 in honor of Mother’s Day/Día de las Madres. Lots of free bilingual activities will tempt you to spend your full day at the museum including folklórico dances and a mariachi concert serenading mothers.

The Exploratorium’s “Pay What You Wish” Community Day
Sunday, May 14, 2023, 10 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Pier 15, Embarcadero at Green St., S.F.,
Free / Pay what you wish.

Please note that admission is “pay what you wish” is for everyone, not just for mothers.

Arrive early as entry is subject to capacity.

See full details at exploratorium.edu

Happy Mother’s Day! All mothers, and especially Latina moms, and their families are invited to pay whatever they want for a day of fun at the Exploratorium. To honor this special day, we offer moms bilingual programming. Enjoy folk dances and a fabulous mariachi concert with serenades for moms, and make paper flowers to give them.

Pay what you can’ within your means on Community Days, when museum admission is subject to capacity and is on a first-come, first-served basis. The number of tickets available depends on the accommodation capacity of our facilities, so admission is not guaranteed. Daytime hours for members and donors (Sundays, 10:00 a.m. to noon) will not be available.

2023 Schedule of Events

¡Plantásticas!: Our Lives with Plants
 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
 Gordon and Betty Moore Gallery 4: Living Systems

Get to know the wonderful world of las plantas! From maíz to marigolds, plants shape our cultura and our planet. Take a look at plants from many angles—food, science, gardening, and more. Don’t miss this special exhibition developed with collaborators from the Latinx and Indigenous communities.

Plant Prints
 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
 Gordon and Betty Moore Gallery 4: Living Systems

Create take-home artworks that invite you to see familiar plants in new ways. Using a monoprinting technique, this activity gets you up close to the details of each specimen—and leaves you with a handmade print that showcases the natural beauty and architecture of the plant.

All Hands On Science: Glowing Greetings
 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
 Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6, Terrace

Use LED lights and paper circuits to adorn a greeting card for someone special to you.

Cacao: From Bean to Bar
 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
 Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6, Terrace

With Karla McNeil-Rueda

What are the scientific and cultural contexts of chocolate? What’s the story behind this tempting treat? Join Karla McNeil-Rueda of Cru Chocolate as she shares the “bean-to-bar” process that turns cacao beans into chocolate bars. Hear about the women-led teams of farmers she works with, and enjoy a taste of atole champurrado, a traditional Mexican hot chocolate and corn drink. Tastings are limited and first come, first served.

Making Paper Flowers
 Noon, 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m.
 Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6

With Irma Ortiz

Traditionally used as party decorations, Mexican paper flowers are simple to create and charming to receive. All materials are provided. Children welcome! Limited capacity; first come, first served. Free tickets for this activity are available in the Observatory.

Make Your Mark! (On a Plant Pot)
 Noon–2:00 p.m.
 Gordon and Betty Moore Gallery 4: Living Systems

With Andi Xoch and Elizabeth Montufar

Get creative and decorate your very own terra-cotta pot! Make a beautiful vessel for a plant to take root, with help from the artist and the inspiration behind the amazing plant patios in our ¡Plantásticas! exhibition. Learn a little bit about how to repot plants for success, and maybe even add some flora to your pot.

10,000 Years of Science in a Corn Tortilla
 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
 Moore Gallery 4 Mezzanine Classroom 2610

With Doña María Ávila Vera, Irma Magaña Canul, and Dr. Isabel Hawkins

Learn about the cultural context and the science of corn—and see for yourself how a corn tortilla is made from scratch! Yucatec Maya elder María Ávila Vera and her daughter-in-law Irma Magaña Canul will share traditional cooking methods that have been passed down and refined through generations. They will be joined by Exploratorium Senior Scientist Dr. Isabel Hawkins, who will highlight the nutritional, ecological, and scientific significance of corn.

Stories of Corn
 Noon and 1:00 p.m.
 Moore Gallery 4 Mezzanine Classroom 2610

With Aldo González Rojas and Gabriela Linares Sosa

Join Aldo González Rojas and Gabriela Linares Sosa for a special workshop on native Mexican maize. Over 8,000 years ago, Mesoamericans in what is now southern Mexico first domesticated maize. Across generations, local and Indigenous communities have passed down their knowledge as its harvesters and caretakers.  Hear how Indigenous farmers tend to their crops, learn about the different kinds of maize native to Mexico, and share your own stories about corn!

Aldo González Rojas is Zapotec from the community of Guelatao de Juárez, where he is Municipal President. In 2002, through the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juárez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO) and other organizations, he participated in the founding of the Network in Defense of Corn.

Gabriela Linares Sosa is Zapotec from the Sierra Juárez of Oaxaca. She is a biologist and the founder of Defense of Native Maize of Oaxaca. She has worked with UNOSJO since 2007, and recently joined the Coordination of the Assembly of Indigenous Women of Oaxaca.

Musical Celebration
 11:30 a.m.
 Osher Gallery 1: Human Phenomenon

With Cascada de Flores

Dance with delight during an interactive performance by Cascada de Flores! Vocalist Arwen Lawrence and guitarist Jorge Liceaga have honed a rich repertoire of rancheras, boleros, sones, and guarachas that embody Mexico’s embrace of sounds from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Colombia. To kick off our Mother’s Day celebration, they’ll share a selection of their favorites that are guaranteed to enchant listeners of all ages.

México Lindo y Querido
 2:00 p.m.
 Osher Gallery 1: Human Phenomenon

With Cuicacalli Ballet Folklórico

Cuicacalli Dance Company’s México Lindo y Querido is a Ballet Folklórico performance that takes audiences on a journey through diverse regions of Mexico through music and dance. Indigenous, European, and African styles of music and dance are fused to create what we know as folklore mexicano (Mexican folkloric dance). México Lindo y Querido will fill you with pride, love, and joy—elements that the wonderful culture of Mexico offers to the world!

Cuicacalli (House of Culture) is a year-round youth dance program based at Brava Theater in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District. ​​

Ballet Folklórico Workshop
 3:00 p.m.
 Osher Gallery 1: Human Phenomenon

With Jesús Cortés

Learn about Cuicacalli Ballet Folklórico with Cuicacalli Dance Company Director Jesús “Jacoh” Cortés. Put on your dancing shoes as he invites you to try out some steps for yourself!

Jesús Cortés is a renowned international performer. In 2008, he founded Cuicacalli (House of Culture), an international, cross-cultural, dance-arts educational institution based at Brava Theater in San Francisco’s Mission District. Cuicacalli offers Indigenous, ballet folklórico, and contemporary dance programs.


Disclaimer: Please double check event information with the event organizer as events can be canceled, details can change after they are added to our calendar, and errors do occur.

Cost: FREE*
*Pay what you can
Categories: *Top Pick*, Art & Museums, In Person, Mother's Day
Venue: Pier 15
Address: 698 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111