Hands-on Biotech

Wednesday - Sunday
10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Forces That Shape the Bay Lobby


Our Hands-on Biotech program has gone surfing for the summer to make room in our classroom space for our summer camp program. Come visit our biotech facilitators at Biotech Beach on the first floor. At Biotech Beach you can explore different sand samples to find the small plastic particles that can accumulate on beaches and in the ocean. You can also learn more about the atomic structure of plastics and hear how UC Berkeley scientists are trying to be part of the solution by designing a new kind of plastic that is infinitely recyclable. Our friends at the Ecology Center also have some information you can take home with strategies for reducing our reliance on disposable plastics.

Hands-On Biotech will reopen in August. Visit BIOTECH BEACH on the A-level all summer!


  • Rainbow Pipetting
    Mix colors and make precise rainbows using pipettes, real tools of biotechnology. Every day scientists use these tools to precisely mix very tiny amounts of liquids. Come learn how to do it yourself!
  • The Ribosome
    Discover the tiny factories inside all our cells, called ribosomes. Learn how these tiny molecular machines manufacture important parts of our cells. This activity is brought to us through a partnership with the Bradbury Science Museum of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
  • Digital Cell Puzzles
    Can you figure out the best way to help a microbe turn sugar into useful chemicals? This digital simulation was designed and created through a partnership between Lawrence staff and UC Berkeley computer scientists.
  • Cell Factory
    Design new pathways for balls to travel through a pinball-esque maze. This will introduce you to the ways that scientists are reprogramming cells to make products like biofuels and anti-cancer medicines.
  • Magnifying Shapes
    Use powerful and easy-to-use microscopes to investigate things up close, like plant parts, animal fur, feathers, and even your own skin. Do different things look the same up close? Do you think any of the small shapes you see might have a function?
  • Discovering Biomaterials 
    Interact first-hand with a slimy biomaterial created by yeast and bacteria which becomes a naturally vegan leather when dried. Discover objects that have been created using this biomaterial and learn how scientists are designing new microbes to produce even better vegan leather materials.
  • Smell the Biology
    Compare the different smell chemicals produced by natural and engineered yeast. What causes the smells? How different can they be? This will spark discussions about how scientists use this ability of microbes to produce various substances to solve real-world problems. 
  • Biotech Ballot Box
    From glow-in-the dark cats, to disease-resistant crops to vegan leather, biotechnology has unleashed a plethora of interesting innovations. Which one is your favorite? Come cast your vote!
  • Algae Bioreactors
    See a working set of DIY bioreactors using different species and colors of algae. Bioreactors are containers that scientists and engineers use to provide just the right conditions for microbes to live and to produce substances like fuels and medicines.


Inspire and prepare the next generation of citizens and scientists for the world of possibilities that biotechnology offers. Gifts to this fund support the design of a wide range of learning and discovery tools for visitors of all ages, including materials found in typical biotech research labs, such as microbial culture, genetic engineering, and DNA analysis equipment and supplies. Curriculum developers and educators are able to use the space to research effective and scalable biotech learning experiences.

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Age 3+: $20

Kids under 2: FREE

Members: FREE

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