At 10am this morning officials from the Exploratorium held a groundbreaking ceremony for the $300 million project which will transform Piers 15 and 17 on the northern waterfront into a state-of-the-art, 9-acre science playground for the City's favorite hands-on, educational museum.

Technically speaking, the "groundbreaking" began underwater between the two piers where a fleet of tugboats has been dredging the bottom to make way for structural reinforcements to the nearly 100-year old piers. Scheduled to be completed in 2013, the section on Pier 15 will capitalize on it's new location by providing docking space for oceanographic research vessels (We're already getting excited for a visit from the F.L.I.P. Ship). Naturally, the new Exploratorium's environmental impact will mostly be visual, as the museum will meet it's own electricity needs with a solar collector on the roof and heat or cool itself using water from the Bay. Although the project received $90 million in anonymous donations back in March, the project is still seeking $91 million to put towards their current goal of $300 million.

[NBC Bay Area]