BART partners with Exploratorium to give Bay Area students free rides to the museum


BART partners with Exploratorium to give Bay Area students free rides to the museum

Exploratorium visitor

BART is partnering with the Exploratorium to provide free transportation to the museum for students and teachers across the Bay Area.The partnership, which also provides free museum access,is made possible by a generous donation from Arthur Rock and Toni Rembe Rock. The pilot program in 2018 brought 23,000 students to experience the world-famous museum of science, art, and human perception at Pier 15 on San Francisco’s Embarcadero. For the 2019 school year, Bay Area teachers have already signed up 46,000 students to visit the Exploratorium through the program, with availability remaining open.

“I remember my own first visit to the Exploratorium,” says Chris Flink, the institution’s Sakurako and William Fisher Executive Director. “So I know how transformative extraordinary experiences with scientific phenomena can be. People sometimes think of learning about science as eating their vegetables. But then they have this joyful, engaging, transcendent experience at Pier 15, and get a sense of the joy of asking questions and questioning answers. We’re thrilled to partner with BART to ensure the Bay Area tradition of Exploratorium field trips truly are available to every Bay Area child.”

The 23,000 students who visited through the BART partnership in 2018 were among the 155,000 Bay Area students to take part in a field trip at the Exploratorium last year. The Exploratorium is especially proud that this program makes it possible for students who might not otherwise have an opportunity to visit; half of the BART field trip students last year came from Title 1 schools. Bay Area teachers interested in taking advantage of this offer can find more information at

San Leandro teacher




"This program was so fantastic. It made an otherwise impossible field trip possible for our students-many of whom have never been on BART and some of whom have never been to San Francisco at all!

May Chow Luo

San Leandro Unified teacher 









In a survey conducted after the field trips, 74% of teachers said they would not have otherwise attended a field trip at all, and 49% said they were bringing their classes to the Exploratorium for the first time. In addition to providing free access to transportation and museum entry, the Exploratorium’s administrative staff is on hand to help teachers plan their trips, identify correct BART stations, and make sure the teachers have everything they needed to get their classes to the Exploratorium and back. During the visit, students have an opportunity to investigate light and sound, to play with biology and see the iconic cow’s eye dissection, and to learn about environmental issues like Climate Change and human impact on the environment in the Fisher Bay Observatory. 

Diablo Valley School staff“As a long term educator, I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate the whole of your program, not just for students but for the community as whole. The philosophy you project is educational for adults as well. Not to mention the attitude and happiness of the people working there. You are a testament to the beauty and promulgation of science.”

Vicente Lopez

Diablo Valley School Staff



The pilot program was such a success that reservations in the second year have already doubled the pilot. “We’ve been immensely happy with the program,” says Sylvia Algire, Director of the Field Trip Explainers at the Exploratorium. “Whenever we have an opportunity to bring new children into the museum and to get them excited to play with and learn about science, we’re thrilled. And this partnership with BART has been extraordinary. When we can eliminate the financial and administrative barriers to science access, the educator community responds with a resounding ‘Yes!’ I’m excited to see this program grow.”

Berkeley teacher



“We lost our Title I funding this year, but still have many students who cannot pay for trips! This program allowed us to come, many students saw San Francisco for the first time!”

Patrick Hamilton

Berkeley Arts Magnet 2nd grade teacher










“This is a ‘win-win’ partnership that promotes learning about science and public transit. BART's group sales department works with the Exploratorium to get tickets to teachers, removing a barrier to this amazing opportunity for our region’s children,” says BART Board President Robert Raburn.

Tickets for the fall are still available, and will remain so for field trips taking place through January 31, 2019. Journalists and reporters interested in attending a field-trip, interviewing teachers, or communicating with Exploratorium staff about the project should contact [email protected] Those interested in reaching BART should send an email to [email protected].

This BART partnership is one of the many ways the Exploratorium is working to remove barriers to science education access for children and families across the Bay Area. In addition to a number of pay-what-you-can Community Days, the Exploratorium offers free ‘Museums For All’ access to EBT card holders at any time during open hours, free access to California public school teachers and Title 1 schools, a Community Family Pass program, and a Discover and Go Library pass program.