Tech Museum of Innovation San Jose CA (Review)

Exploration Gallery

Planning a trip to the West Coast, USA or to be more specific to the Bay Area?  Do include a visit to The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.  It is definitely worth the trip.  The fun level plus the wealth of learning should earn a spot in the must visit areas for kids together with the likes of Legoland, SeaWorld, Universal Studios and of course Disneyland.

The kids and I were busy moving from one interactive display to another.  The museum is a huge 12,000 sqm, three level building and has partnerships with Stanford and NASA. It has 8 main galleries packed with hundreds of exhibits.

Tech Health and Biotech Gallery

My kids felt like real life genetic engineers culturing a jellyfish DNA.  They donned the goggles, gloves and pouring stuff in test tubes, transferring it to a test tube mixer then finally in a petri dish.  The scientist inside them was screaming with delight!

My future scientist at work.

The gallery also featured technologies that enabled people to train better in competitive sports.

My little girl tested the protective gear of a professional hockey goalie.

Tech Exploration Gallery

Experience various forms of exploration on Earth and beyond.   The kids had fun standing on a simulated living room and experience varying magnitudes of earthquake levels.

Lie down on your tummy and drive this sub under the sea.

ROV (remotely operated vehicle).  Kids can try their hand exploring the surface of MARS through this ROV.*

Kids had fun remotely operating this vehicle in planet Mars!


The image of the ROV in Mars is captured and controlled from the computer.

Jet Pack Chair. Take a ride in a chair resembling a NASA manned maneuvering unit (MMU), and feel like a real astronaut as you float on a cushion of air and navigate your way around an enclosed arena using jets of compressed air. A laser on the back of the chair projects a red dot on the cieling, and the challenge is to move this dot over several targets on the cieling within a time limit.* My son was exhilarated with the experience!

Experience navigating in the weightlessness of space.

Tech Innovation at Play Gallery

Design your Own Roller Coaster.  Kids designed their own drops, loops, and curves.  The computer won't accept a wild drop that is not safe so the kids got a kick designing a fun yet safe ride!  After which a ticket with a bar code will come out and you can ride your creation in a simulated roller coaster car with a huge screen. Awesome!

Kids got to ride the roller coaster they designed by scanning the ticket print out from the computer they worked on.

Shadow Garden.  Guests walk in front of the shadow garden screen. After seeing their shadow’s effects, they explore ways to control the effect. *

Tech Engergy Gallery

Power Tower. Experiment with harnessing sun, wind and water power, exploring some of the strategies that can be used to best used to harness these natural forces to produce green energy. Work collaboratively and make the power tower light up.*

Power Tower. Tilt the reflectors to create enough power to light the tower. My kids managed to light it up almost all the way!

Drive a bike as fast you could to see how much energy is needed to light an 80 watt bulb.

Tech Virtual Gallery

Showcases hands-on, interactive exhibits to help artists/programmers produce art, music and film.  Guests mix live and prerecorded audio and video to create a layered audio-visual experience.*  Kids did a full recording with drums, keyboards, synthesizer!

Kids composed songs using a multiple button control panel.

Tilty Table. Kids had fun solving this maze by tilting the table to roll the ball in this giant maze.

There is also the Tech Silicon Valley Innovation Gallery which features a unique hands-on exhibit that immerses everyone in digital art, virtual travel, computer animation, and nanotechnology.*  And the Tech Awards Gallery featuring interactive new technologies that use innovative solutions to address issues in education, environment and health among others.*

Extras we Love:

The kids entered their name in the computer and a mechanical robot got from random blocks and spelled out their name! Clap, clap, clap!

They did logical sentences by interconnecting a crisscross of wires to control simple car functions.

They did logical sentences and controlled the electronic functions of Mr. Potato Head's house.

They built a track using everyday things. It's not as simple as it looks:-)

In Summary:

The fun level of the place is equal to that of the great theme parks.  And my kids are not even that into science!  Adults will also enjoy tremendously.  I think the beauty of the Tech is that almost everything is interactive.  Everyone gets to try science themselves!

We spent half a day only in this amazing place and clearly a day is not enough.  The Tech Museum maybe thousands of miles away from the Philippines but we hope to go back there someday soon:-)


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