San Francisco’s Exploratorium is breaking ground on its new location today, marking the beginning of a $220 million project that is expected to transform a portion of the city’s waterfront.

“I think this stands as the official launch of the Exploratorium project at Piers 15 and 17,” said Leslie Patterson, spokeswoman for the popular interactive science museum.

The piers are located along the Embarcadero at Green Street.

Museum officials are hoping to raise a total of $300 million for construction of the new center, as well as the costs of the move from the Palace of Fine Arts, new programs and endowments, according to Patterson.

The current location in the Marina District will remain open as waterfront construction proceeds.

The new Exploratorium will be a larger facility, primarily on Pier 15 but its nine-acre campus will cover both piers, Patterson said. Two acres will consist of public space with interactive exhibits.

A new glass observatory building on the site will feature exhibits, a restaurant, and views of the city and the Bay, according to Patterson.

The Exploratorium will continue its partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which will use the museum to educate the public about its research related to the ocean floor.

A groundbreaking ceremony with Exploratorium and Port of San Francisco officials was scheduled for 10:20 a.m. at Pier 15.

Ari Burack, Bay City News

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