One week for an intense study visit!

From 24th November to 1st December, Explora organised a study visit in the house of tinkering and making, San Francisco/California.
Maria Anna Carli, haed of Exhibit Dept., Paolo De Gasperis, Web&Digital Education and Anna Codazzi, National and European Project Manager, had the opportunity to visit and exchange thoughts and ideas with professionals from 2 children’s museums – BAY AREA DISCOVERY MUSEUM and Children’s Creativity Museum and 2 science museums – CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES and EXPLORATORIUM. The visit was enriched by a tour of the K12 lab at Stanford University.

Some info about our visits!


Located at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge on 7.5 acres of National Park land in Sausalito, BADM features seven exhibition spaces and more than six daily drop-in programs for children 6 months of age to 10 years. The BADM fab lab is a maker space with digital fabrication technology, where children can design and fabricate projects.
The fab lab is divided in 3 areas:

  • Fab Lab A, where to explore the engineer design process with Rigamajig using wheels, pulleys, nuts, and bolts;
  • Fab Lab B, the area dedicated to hands-on educational programs led by educators; 
  • Fab Lab C, where to create tall buildings, bridges, entire cities, and more using KEVA Planks, stackable wooden planks.

Other 6 exhibits guide the visitors in outdoor and indoor hands-on experiences: My Sky, to explore the far-off wonders like the Sun, Moon, and stars right here on Earth; Hands-On Harley-Davidson™ (from January 2019), where to have fun exploring STEM in action and hit the (simulated) open road themselves in replica motorcycle dealership; Bay Hall, where children enjoy a playful simulation of the ports of San Francisco and Oakland; Tot Spot, a multi-sensory experience designed for infants and toddlers that offers a safe and stimulating environment to explore; Art Studios, where to explore different art mediums and techniques via our painting walls and tactile tables; Lookout Cove, a 2.5-acre interactive outdoor exploration area featuring natural elements and iconic Bay Area landmarks for children to play on; Imagination Playground, soft and oversized foam blocks, noodles, and chutes with holes and shapes that fit together in a multitude of ways, allowing children to transform their environment.


Globally recognised as the place where tinkering has been thought and designed for enriching the visitors’ experience, it has more than 650 hands-on exhibits.
Tinkering studio is a primarily an R&D laboratory, complemented by workshops online following an “open source” model.
It has been inspiring museums, maker spaces and fablabs all over the world with its recognised projects: cardboard automata, chain reaction, circuit boards, digital bling, light painting, light play, marble machine, musical bench, paper circuits, plastic fusing, scribbling machines, sewn circuits, squishy circuits, toy take part, wind tubes – see details here:


Children’s Creativity Museum

Children’s Creativity Museum is an innovative art and technology experience for children ages 2-12 and their families, based on creative expression, innovation, and critical thinking. Among 7 exhibits, we spent most of the time in discovering:

  • Sketch Town!,where to draw buildings and vehicles, scan them, and interact with the creations as they populate a virtual city spanning;
  • Animation Studio, where kids and adults learn the basic skills of stop-motion animation, first by creating their own clay characters and then bringing them to life on screen;
  • Robot Codingthat introduces children to computer coding in a fun and hands-on way;
  • Innovation Lab, where to create and get inspired though a Mystery Box Challenge, with an age appropriate prompt inviting invention, where you can only use materials inside the box provided.

Photo gallery 

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