Now Open: The Lawrence Hall of Science with Outdoor Nature Lab

It is no secret that we’re big fans of The Lawrence Hall of Science. The science museum recently opened its Outdoor Nature Lab, for even more hands-on exploration and discovery.  

kids in front of sign
The Lawrence Hall of Science is re-opening! Woohoo! | Photo: Julie Herson

What to Expect at the Lawrence Hall of Science

Your family will be able to enjoy a refreshed Lawrence Hall of Science with a bright new paint job and lots of fun hands-on science and design activities. There are new exhibits exploring the science of games as well as old favorites including rocket building and launching, stop motion movie making, marble run engineering, and much more. Stay tuned for an updated Planetarium.

The New Outdoor Nature Lab

Located just off the lower level, the Outdoor Nature Lab is all about sparking curiosity of the natural world. Kids have an opportunity to immerse themselves in a beautiful, natural environment where they can climb, crawl, and explore. During our family’s visit, there were scopes set up to observe lichen on trees and tools available for child-led discovery throughout the grounds. There was also a storytime under the covered patio. My oldest enjoyed climbing on the large fallen tree and stump stairs.

Outdoor Nature Lab
Borrow tools or bring your own for self-led discovery | Photo: Maureen Burke

There are a dozen large picnic tables for eating lunch, plus a grassy area that is perfect for naps or running around. A fence extends around the perimeter, though some upper levels are only accessible by stairs. The space is designed for self-guided activities, so it may not be the best fit for kids who prefer more structured play. It’s certainly a beautiful place to take a breather or enjoy a snack.

Outdoor nature lab stump stairs Outdoor Nature Lab Picnic tables Child climbing tree

Permanent and Rotating Exhibits

You’ll be able to reserve your tickets online before you visit or purchase them at the door upon arrival. Masks are required for everyone over age two regardless of vaccination status. Some exhibits have limited capacity such as Animal Discovery Room. But there are so many other terrific exhibits to check out.

child doing science experiment
Learning about what types of materials are best for face masks | Photo: Julie Herson

At the Design Quest Exhibit, you’ll learn about motion, energy, and mechanics while designing, building, and testing your own creations, including ramps, rockets, and wind turbines, all made by the hands of your kiddos. Younger scientists will enjoy the Fly High Exhibit, learning about gravity, balance, and forces while squealing with joy.

child at science museum
Watching his rocket fly super high at The Lawrence Hall of Science | Photo: Julie Herson

The outdoor science area at the back of the main level offers more hands-on opportunities for your kids to learn about Forces that Shape the Bay. Kids love getting their hands wet, controlling the water flow, messing around in the erosion tables, and gazing out at the Bay with the telescopes. The Sunstones are also a fun place to see science and art interact, or at the very least a cool place for kids to climb and play.

child outside on sun stone
The beautiful outdoor area at the Lawrence Hall of Science offers a stunning view as well as more fun learning experiences | Photo: Julie Herson

Plan your visit to The Lawrence

Location: 1 Centennial Drive, Berkeley, CA

Hours: Opening for the general public October 30th with normal hours Wednesday–Sunday 10 am – 5 pm.

Admission: Adults & children ages 3+: $20 Children 2 & under: FREE  Members: FREE

Reserve tickets in advance >

Parking: An ample parking lot but it costs extra. Remember your license number and pay at the kiosk.

Food: No eating inside. The Cafe is currently closed. You can bring your own food and eat outside.

Restrooms: Yes, nice and clean, but downstairs.

Ages: We love it for ages two and up, depending on the exhibits.