Lawrence Hall of Science

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The Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley's public science center, offers engaging interactive camps, classes, and research programs for kids entering Kindergarten all the way through high school

Parent Q&A

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  •  Anyone have positive or negative experiences they can share? Curious about how large the groups are and adult/child ratio. Thanks! 

    No responses received.

  • i have 4 children age 3-10.5 and wondering if I would get a lot of mileage out of the LHS family membership? The kids are all in school full days as I work full time also so I’d be limited to weekends and the occasional day off.   

    We do have membership at the Oakland zoo which has been wonderful entertaining all the kids.  I’m hoping for something similar at another venue in order to give more options.  

    Not exactly what you are asking, but we have found our LHS membership very valuable even though we don't actually get there as often as we'd like because it gives up reciprocal memberships to many science and children's museums through the ASTC and ACM programs. We have more than gotten our membership's worth of value with just a few visits to other museums each year. LHS members also receive priority enrollment and discounts on summer camps and I think also on birthday parties, if that's something your family would use. We would honestly keep our membership even if we never made it to the museum (although it's nice when we do!) As far as target ages, I think it is best for elementary-aged kids. My preschooler enjoys visits but there's a limited set of things he wants to see. My early elementary school child will spend far longer there.

    If you enjoy the Hall, even a $95 standard family membership will more than pay for itself with two family visits in 12 months (assuming all four kids and at least one adult). You can also bring one free guest each time you visit, get a few planetarium tickets, discounts at their shop and on classes and camps, and priority registration for camps.  If you travel, you also get free or reduced admission at hundreds of other science museums outside the bay area.

    For $40 more, for the "premium" level, you also get half off at lots of additional museums, including several in the Bay Area; two additional adult memberships (for caretakers, for example), and more guests.

    I recommend you look at the web site for details and decide if it seems worthwhile for your family.

    And if you happen to itemize on your taxes, note that membership payments, unlike admission fees, are generally tax deductible as a charitable contribution.

    I have given my grown kids membership to East Bay Parks and they LOVE it. It lets you know all the coming activities and so far they have all been great. My kids also got a zoo membership which they enjoy, but they end up doing more stuff with the Regional Parks system

    We’ve been very happy with ours for our 2.5 and 6.75 yr olds. We also work FT and only go on weekends or holidays. Also we found that membership gets you 1/2 off at Chabot Space Science Ctr.  I think it pays itself off after 2-3 visits. With some many kids prob faster for you!

Parent Reviews

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Lawrence Hall of Science used to have a "Math For Girls" class -- my daughter attended and liked it. I also taught the class (a few years before that) -- it was one of my favorite classes to teach. In a "girls-only" program, girls get to take on all the roles. One alternative, if you can't find a class, is ordering the math for girls teaching guide, and get together a few of your daughter's friends for "math playdates." Another mother (an engineer) and I used to organize a math night at our daughters' school -- where we had a lot of girl-friendly construction activities, as well as puzzles and number activities. (Gummy bear polyhedra, and bubble geometry were very popular.) So, if you feel confident of your mathematics, one thought would be to find another mother or two to organize with. If you organize something, you can email me for activity ideas.

Yes, like the other poster said, the Lawrence Hall of Science has a whole floor area dedicated to marble runs and ball runs. A yearly membership is pretty cheap, and they have animals, storytimes, and outdoor activities (mostly on the weekends). My 5y has been going since he was your kid's age and he hasn't gotten bored there yet.

RE: Classes for homeschoolers ()

Lawrence Hall of Science used to offer classes specifically for homeschoolers during the morning/early afternoon.  There was another program on Shattuck at the time, that did the same -- it was a science program, chemistry etc.   We did this, but around 10 years ago.

RE: ISO: Science show performers ()

Contact Lawrence Hall of Science.  Not sure what they are doing with COVID, but they have lots of science oriented birthday parties.

Our family has LHS membership and can say it's easily paid for itself super fast!  I like that it has a spacious indoor and outdoor space, plus a place to eat lunch though we have never purchased food there.  

+1 for LHS and Children's Discovery museum.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Activities at Lawrence Hall of Science

Birthday Parties at LHS

Birthday party at LHS for 8 year old

Dec 2010

I'm looking for an indoor birthday party location for my soon to be 8 year old son. Lawrence Hall of Science has several workshops. Does anyone have experience with the Slime (Chemistry)or the Marble Machines (Physics) workshops? The animal workshops seem too young for him and the Planetarium parties aren't of interest to him. Have you been to one of these workshops lately? Did the kids have fun? Was the staff organized and attentive? thanks!

Hi- I just had my 6 yr old's b-day party at LHS and we did the slime making. She is a girly girl, so I was a bit apprehensive that it wouldn't be the ''perfect'' party for her, but it was really great. The kids all had a good time, were pretty enraptured by the lesson and then the actual slime making. They especially liked the part where they made the gel thats in diapers. It was also great as younger siblings could go play upstairs with a parent and then meet us after for cake. All in all, I thought it was great way to go. The bonus was that their party favor was the slime, so no goody bag neccessary (I bought pencils from the store as well). Thumbs up! Mama of 3

Pizza place by lawrence hall of science?

May 2007

can anyone recommend a good pizza place close to the lawrence hall of science, that delivers?

To the person looking for a pizza place near Lawrence Hall of Science - two good ones: La Vals on Euclid and Northbeach Pizza on University. But note: if you are hosting a party at Lawrence Hall of Science, they do not allow delivery. You will need to pick up the pizzas yourself and take them. recent party mom

LaVal's on Euclid Avenue would probably deliver up there.

Feb 1998

When one of my kids was 6 or 7 (he's now 15), we held his birthday party at LHS. With a January birthdate, we always needed a format that could work in spite of bad weather. It was a real success. We hosted the maximum number of kids (I think something like 12) for the biology workshop - the one where the kids get to pet, hold and observe a variety of animals. It was well managed by a high schooler or undergrad (can't remember which), who supervised and explained about feeding and handling, etc.. The kids all really enjoyed it. Afterward they got to run around LHS for a couple of hours, and everyone found something to do that interested them. I had two other adults to help me - definitely necessary! We brought everyone back to the house for goodies and opening of presents, but I believe you can reserve a party room right there if you like.

It was one of those rare birthday parties where my husband and I actually had a good time, too!

Lawrence Hall Birthday Party for 5 year old

Oct 2009

So we're considering Lawrence Hall for a November birthday for my five year old. There are a few different themes(electricity, animals, chemistry) and we're looking for recommendations of which to choose. Anyone attend or have such a party and have an opinion? Looking for a hit with the kids. thanks! deborah

We did animals for a 5th birthday party and potions for a 6th birthday. Both were great. Animals is probably fine for either age. Science part is fairly short so works for most groups, I think. Except maybe not super rowdy boys. anon

We went to a party at Lawrence Hall of science last year that was really fun. The theme was ''dinosaur'' was for a 4 year old boy birthday...but there were several girls there too and they had fun too. Nikki

We celebrated our daughter's 5 birthday in LHS this summer. She had taken classes with her preschool there once a week for a year before that. She chose the Marble machines workshop since it was an activity she did not try before. She loves to build and was generally happy, but some of her friends got a bit frustrated since 5 is the youngest age for this particular workshop. We thought that kids who were closer to six enjoyed it more. The class was lead by one LHS worker. We were very glad that several fun loving dads and moms showed up and helped the group. Actually it all went exactly like the description on the LHS web page, so read it carefully. They do write that adults are needed. After the class we had cake in the party room. Since hers was the only b-day that day we had all the place to ourselves. We stayed and played in the exhibits after. Since all of her friends loved going to LHS while in preschool the party was a big hit and a happy reunion. Good luck and happy B-day to your child! ygladk

LHS birthday party for 5 year olds

Jan 2009

I would like to ask if anyone has any recent experience in holding a birthday party workshop there? Which workshop would you recommend for a group of 5 year old kids? Has anyone experienced a planetarium or biology workshop there? How was the group leader and were the kids engaged? Many thanks!

We just had our daughter's 5th birthday party at LHS today. It was great! We had the ''party animals'' workshop, which belongs to the biology category. I myself missed much of it, because I had to set up for the following lunch and cake, but my husband and the other parents raved how interesting and fun it was for the kids. During the 15 minutes or so that I watched I was amazed how focused and engaged the kids were. It was a group of 13 kids who are not all animal enthusiast (unlike my daughter who is almost obsessed with animals these days), but they all were totally into it. They got to touch a variety of animals (different types of geckos, a guinea pig, hamster, turtles, chinchilla, boa constrictor, that's all I remember right now) under the supervision of the instructor. They also observed the animals behavior and learned a lot about their behavior. For example, the instructor pointed out that the gecko did not only use its legs for swimming, but also its tail, while the kids were watching it swim.

After the workshop we had about 45 min for lunch and cake. We chose to self-cater in a conference room (as opposed to have the cafe provide the food there). It was fine. While we were in there, another group was setting up, but by the time they started their party, we were done. I don't know if it sometimes is busier there. When I made the reservation it sounded like there might be several groups in the conference room simultaneously. For us anyway it worked great.

To sum it up, we had a great experience at LHS and would do it again. Heike

I think we have had a total of three LHS birthday parties and have been thoroughly pleased with all of them. The instructors have all been good. The biology - animal lab - was probably the favorite but other areas are good as well. I think you'll get your money's worth and find that it is hassle free. science mom

Jan 1997

With a little advance planning, one can have a birthday party at the Lawrence Hall of Science . Adults are definitely needed to keep track of all the small party-goers as they check out the displays, the animals for petting, etc. In good weather, one can picnic on the lawn. There is an indoor cafeteria ... check and see, I think they will allow you to bring your own food ... or maybe at least some of your own food if you buy some from them.
Mary Carol

Jan 1997

More information on Birthday Parties at the Lawrence Hall of Science :

LHS Weekend Workshops and Parties are a great way to celebrate birthdays and other occasions. Workshop topics include Astronomy/Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and vary month to month.

Party workshops are $95 ($85 for LHS members) and include:

Admission to the workshop and current exibits for a maximum of 15 children (children 2 years and older are counted towards the max) Admission for one adult per child participating in the workshop (guests over the max pay regular admission upon arrival)

Two tables for your refreshments are provided. It's okay to bring your own food. For more information on the Galaxy Cafeteria call 644-3171.

Adult participation is required in all party workshops and reservations must be made at least 4 weeks in advance by calling (510) 642-5134.

The Discover Corner Store now offers special LHS invitations, favor bags, party tableware, and more. Order forms will be included with your party reservation.

Laura Beard
Directors Office
Lawrence Hall of Science

Summer Camps

Aug 2013

Re: Science & Math Camps that Girls Actually Attend
Hi, my entering 6th grade son attended summer camps at Lawrence Hall of Science last two summers. According to him, about half of attendees were girls(not confirmed). So far he took Animation, Build it up, take a part, Electric Gadgetry and he loves the camp because instructors are nice and open to new ideas. Also camp attendees were engaged in the programs therefore less distractions. Molly

Feb 2010

Re: Camp that will accept special-needs 8 year old
Hi, I have a son with Asperger Syndrome who has attended Lawrence Hall of Science camps with an aide. The Lawrence Hall of Science has been very understanding and worked well with the aide and my son. Now that he has attended a few camps there he has even done some without the aide. laura

June 2008

Re: Lawrence Hall vs. Oakland Galileo
I work at Lawrence Hall so am obviously biased (I don't work in summer camps however), but our camps are great for youngsters. We offer half day camps which is a good amount of time if you have a sensitive child. Because they are 3 hours a day, they pretty much jump right into the science and there isn't a lot of time for the whooping and hollering. They do get a snack and play break, but those are usually a structured game or going up to the musuem floor and playing with the exhibits. Our summer camps are designed to be age appropriate and super hands on and engaging. Your child will get enough moving around, but without all the downtime and chaos that can accompany it. My daughter also tends to be sensitive to rowdy environments and she loves LHS camps. To be fair, I have no experience with Galileo camps. Sue G.

Feb 2007

Re: Afternoon-only summer camps?
Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science has excellent afternoon only camps during the summer. They offer a variety of options, too. We've loved every class/camp we've participated in there and have been impressed by the instructors and the quality of the material presented. These camps fill up quick though, so you may want to become a member to take advantage of eary sign-up dates. Berkeley mom

Lawrence Hall of Scienceoffers half-day summer camp sessions, some of them in the afternoons. My son attended a couple weeks last summer, when he was an entering kindergartener, and we thought it was a great program. Oh, gosh, is it time to think about this again already?!

Family Math at Lawrence Hall of Science

Sept 2001

Has anyone attended the trainings on Family Math at Lawrence Hall of Science? Or used the book for home enrichment? My 6 year old son really enjoys math and I am thinking of trying to do a bit more with him at home in this subject. The book I've seen describes setting up a group for doing the projects...has anyone done this or used it just individually? Jennifer

I'm an elementary school teacher and I've attended the Family Math & Science workshop at LHS. In my opinion, it's geared more towards educators and community members who want to set up Family Math and Science workshops in their schools/communities. It was a great workshop, but I don't think it would work for what you want. However, the Family Math book put out by LHS is great for at-home enrichment! I've used activities from the book both with students in my class and with my 7 year old niece (my 6 month old son isn't quite ready for any of the activities yet). I'd suggest trying the games/activities in the book on your own. Once you are familiar with some of them, I suppose you could get ambitious and host a Family Math party at your house. LHS also offers math and science classes for children and families. You might want to look into those. Good luck! The Shannons

I've taken the Family Math class and used it in my teaching and tutoring. Most of the games are fun while helping kids develop math concepts, and even more important, math intuition. The materials are also easily available (a number of commercial games have packaged-up games that are in the Family Math book). When I took the class it was well done and enjoyable -- a good part of the time was spent in rotating through a variety of the games. My daughter is just getting to the age where she's ready for them, but I look forward to playing more of them together. CDorf

LHS for Toddlers

May 1996

I would highly recommend the current Lego exhibit at LHS for children of all ages. My almost-2-year-old had a ball. They have lots of Duplo blocks that kids can play with including 3 stations where kids build buildings then push a button to cause an earthquake simulation and see if their building will crumble or not. Older children had fun with it, too. There's also a Lego racing car contest for children ages 3 and up and much more. It's really fun! - Sharon

More reviews of LHS

Nov 2003

Re: Building class or camp for 7-year-old
Lawrence Hall of Science has classes during the school year and in the summer that focus on science and building. In the summer, gadget camp would be great for your son, as well as rocket camp when he gets a little older. Visit the website for a whole list Megan

April 2000

Re: Math enrichment classes for 6-year-old
Lawrence Hall of Science has some great summer/after school classes. They present mathematics from a broader point of view than your child is likely to see in most classrooms. This year some of them are connected with afternoon sports camps, so your child could have a full day. Carol

Feb 2000

Lawrence Hall programs are truly wonderful. In order to get the class of your choice, you should join LHS (which also gives you free admission for a year and free planetarium shows and discounts on the classes, along with priority in class registration.). We've also really loved the programs on Friday and Sat. evenings at the Chabot Observatory in Oakland. These have been temporarily suspended while a super new facility is being completed. When the new space opens, there will be all sorts of fabulous programs, one of the best space/astronomy sites in the US.