Ever think your kids would be more interested in a museum if they weren’t confined to its walls and rules?So does San Francisco’s Exploratorium. Now open along the Fort Mason waterfront (between the Marina District and Aquatic Park) is series of free outdoor interactive exhibits that put existing structures like pier pilings and parking lots to scientific use.

Each one will “explore the natural phenomena of the immediate environment. Water, wind, sound, and light, in all their complex behaviors, will be foci of investigation.” Translation: the Golden Gate Bridge is now a thermometer, and flags placed at different heights along the city skyline serve as a wind observatory. Kids can also measure the salinity of bay’s water and track tides. How cool is that?