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Gift shopping at science museums in the Bay Area.

Gift shopping at science museums in the Bay Area Combining science, art, and technology, the games, toys, and books at the Bay Area's three major science museum stores promise hours of educational entertainment. Shop for some as seasonal gifts, then take your family on a side trip to a fascinating museum exhibit.

At these stores, you'll find items thoughtfully selected to reflect museum shows. Shelves and tables display anything from bubble makers and hand puppets to challenging adult puzzles or costly microscopes and jewelry. Prices can be lower than retail (members receive discounts of up to 15 percent), and sales proceeds support the nonprofit institutions.

Both the Exploratorium and California Academy of Sciences shops have been remodeled. At the Lawrence Hall of Science, you can see new toy- and game-demonstrations at 1 from December 19 through 22. Entrance to shops is free; there is admission to museum displays. All shops are closed on Christmas Day. (As we went to press, all were open for business after the October earthquake.)

The Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco; (415) 563-7337, or 561-0393 for telephone orders (no catalog). Open 10:30 to 7:30 Wednesdays, until 5 Thursdays through Sundays. Admission: $5, $1.50 ages 17 and under.

Redesigned last year, this store divides items into five categories: art, language, light, math, and music and sound. Aside from the popular potato clock and giant bubble hoops (an exclusive here), you'll find RoboDuck ($32), a yellow-billed computer that helps youngster's programming skills, and Polyopticon ($45), which doubles as microscope and binoculars.

November 29 through March 26, visit the Capturing Light exhibit, which celebrates 150 years of photography.

California Academy of Sciences, Music Concourse, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco; 221-5100 or 750-7052 for telephone orders (no catalog). Open 10 to 5 daily. Admission: $4, $2 ages 12 through 17 and seniors, $1 ages 6 through 11.

Look for children's magnetic puzzles, origami kits, cassette tapes on penguins. For adults, you'll find whale mug sets, Henry Evans botanical prints, and Native American crafts and jewelry.

December 1 through January 1, The Christmas Star shows two times daily weekdays, four times daily weekends in the planetarium ($2.50, $1.25 ages 6 through 11). A second exhibit, When the Rainbow Touches Down, includes 95 watercolors by Native Americans.

Lawrence Hall of Science, Centennial Drive, Berkeley; 642-1929, or 642-1016 for telephone orders from 8:30 to 5 week-days (free catalog). Open 10 to 4:30 daily except 11 to 5 Sundays. Admission: $4, $3 ages 7 through 18 and seniors, $1.50 ages 2 through 6. Friday, December 1, holiday shopping night runs from 7 to 10; admission is $4 all ages.

Store features a wide selection of challenging puzzle games (some we couldn't begin to master), star charts and telescopes, a good choice of birding guides, and stuffed animals. Since the museum is known for its dinosaur exhibits, it has a wide array of related toys and books.

If time allows, you can take in the museum's discovery labs, films, and dinosaur exhibit. This month through April 15, the Wolves and Humans show includes an actual wolf den. The planetarium offers three continuous daily shows ($1.50) at 1, 2:15, and 3:30.
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Title Annotation:San Francisco Bay Area
Article Type:Directory
Date:Dec 1, 1989
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