Forces That Shape the Bay


Forces That Shape The Bay: Continue to the back of the building from the Main Entrance. Exhibit is outdoors.

Explore erosion, plate tectonics, and other geological forces that created our Bay Area landscape!

Outdoor Science Park

Have you ever wondered how the San Francisco Bay was formed? Discover the geologic forces and other factors that created the landscape we call home in our outdoor science park! Control and shape water flow in our simulated Sierra Nevada watershed pond, learn how water affects rock and sand on our erosion tables, and more, all with a beautiful panoramic view of San Francisco and the Bay as a backdrop.

About the Exhibit

Visitors control the flow of water in the Forces That Shape the Bay exhibit

Sierra Nevada Watershed Pond

Did you know that runoff from the Sierra Nevada mountains supplies drinking water for two-thirds of California’s population? The pond in Forces That Shape the Bay is an interactive representation of this watershed that allows visitors to control the flow of water and discover the effects downstream.

A vyoung visitor looking through a telescope at the view of the San Francisco Bay

Telescope Station

Forces That Shape the Bay features a stunning view of the city by the Bay. Step up to our telescopes and get a closer look at the San Francisco Bay, the city skyline, and more!

A group of visitors experiment with sand on an erosion table

Sand and Erosion

Express your creativity by building sand sculptures in our sandbox. Then, step over to our erosion tables to set erosion in motion and discover the power of water to transform a landscape.

Visitors running and playing around the Sunstones sculpture at The Lawrence

Sunstones II

This 18-foot granite sculpture is a centerpiece for Forces That Shape the Bay. It links science and art and offers special viewings of astronomical events like the summer and winter solstices.

Plan Your Visit



Age 3+: $20

Kids under 2: FREE

Members: FREE

Learn More >

3D Theater

$5 + Admission


$5 + Admission

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