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“Underwhelming”

Fleet Science Center
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US$ 39.95*
and up
San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley
Ranked #98 of 442 things to do in San Diego
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The Fleet is San Diego's science center, bringing together the community, empowering educators and offering meaningful experiences that embrace the power of science and impact the world around us.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Stairs / lift, Baby buggy parking, Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed 23 August 2015 via mobile

The science center is fairly small and old compared to the other offerings in Balboa Park. There are perhaps 15 exhibits most of which can be done and experienced in less than 20 minutes. We went back to several exhibits multiple times and still got out in under an hour and a half. Your money is better spent at the natural history museum across the plaza

Thank Shamara101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wendy G, Marketing Coordinator at Fleet Science Center, responded to this reviewResponded 31 August 2015

Hello, Shamara101! Thank you for your comment. We’re very sorry you felt that the exhibits were disappointing. We bring in multiple traveling exhibitions each year, and we constantly repair and refurbish our permanent exhibits. We pride ourselves on consistently providing our guests the best experience possible, and we’re very sorry our service did not live up to these standards. We appreciate your understanding about this situation, and we hope you’ll come back and visit us again.

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Reviews (269)
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92 - 96 of 269 reviews

Reviewed 13 August 2015

A great, if not a bit small, hands-on science museum! My 3 year old had a great time exploring and the Circus exhibit was particularly fun and interesting to explore. She really loved the Fun Zone made especially for kids infant to 5 years old. We spent quite a bit of time there. We almost passed up the free IMAX movie but so glad we didn't as the space movie was so amazing! The screen was so huge! A delight for the eyes to watch! It was the highlight of the visit. One tip, don't go hungry. The cafe is one of the saddest I've ever seen. They have a snack bar too with popcorn and candy which was a bit more livelier than the cafe but not by much.

Thank MommaKB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wendy G, Marketing Coordinator at Fleet Science Center, responded to this reviewResponded 31 August 2015

Hello, MommaKB! We're so glad you had a great and learning experience at the Fleet. Thank you for your comment, we’re always looking for feedback from our community. We're very sorry you felt that the food was not up to par with everything else in your visit. We have been working diligently to ensure the quality of our food is top notch, and we are working with new vendors and new recipes to improve our offerings. Thank you for stopping by, and we hope to see you again soon!

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Reviewed 11 August 2015

This science center is really a children's museum, though there are a few exhibits that will interest adults. Since I did not go with children, I wasn't too interested in the "Messy Science" demonstrations with mentos and club soda. However, the sensory touch exhibit, demonstrating how the brain scrambles up messages from the hot and cold receptors, was the most interesting one for me (a bit mind-blowing at first).

"The journey through the cell" required shifting one's weight to progress through the journey, and frankly was a clunky design in terms of interactivity. Some of the stem cell exhibits were interesting, but not terribly exciting in their presentation. The energy exhibits were not earth-shaking, and I found myself offended at the donation jars for the different energy futures. If someone wealthy stuffs the jar for nuclear, does that mean we all should go rah-rah nuclear? (Also, I noticed a few other money-grabbing exhibits that I think should have been free, such as the hurricane simulator).

While the museum was relatively ho-hum for an educated adult, I could see most children having a great time. I will say I was impressed by the offerings in the gift store, though the DVDs were too expensive, in my opinion.

But what really made my visit a great joy was one of the most magnificent IMAX movie presentations I could ever hope to see. The large dome theater gave an immediacy that is remarkable. The film I viewed was "Humpback Whales" (one of three different IMAX films offered during the day). I highly recommend this film for anyone interested in these majestic animals.

Thank Rose_Mist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wendy G, Marketing Coordinator at Fleet Science Center, responded to this reviewResponded 31 August 2015

Hello, Rose_Mist! We’re always looking for feedback from our community. We’re sorry you felt that the exhibits were only geared towards children. We bring in multiple traveling exhibitions each year, and we constantly repair and refurbish our permanent exhibits to cater to most age groups. We appreciate your comment about this situation, and we hope you’ll come back and visit us again.

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Reviewed 7 August 2015

Our 12 year old son did like this museum, but otherwise it felt too geared to young kids. We were on the multi day park explorer so we didn't mind that it was small, but would not pay full price $20 admission for this museum! Overall, the presentation felt unfocused, especially the 1st level, where a good chunk of floor space is dedicated to visiting circus exhibit and revenue add on sales/cafe.

1  Thank GoodToGo71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wendy G, Marketing Coordinator at Fleet Science Center, responded to this reviewResponded 13 August 2015

Hello, GoodToGo71,
We pride ourselves on consistently providing our guests the best experience possible, and we’re very sorry we did not live up to these standards. We bring in multiple traveling exhibitions each year, and we constantly have new IMAX films in our Giant Dome Theater. If you are back in San Diego, we hope you give the Fleet another chance.

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Reviewed 7 August 2015

We had the day pass to go to five of the museums and this was one that we chose. They had tons of interactive things and exhibits. The big exhibit while we were there was the Circus exhibit. I thought it was really a lot of fun. After that exhibit, it starts to get a little unorganized and starts to look a little dated. But all in all it was a good time.

Thank Robert A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wendy G, Marketing Coordinator at Fleet Science Center, responded to this reviewResponded 13 August 2015

Hello, Robert,
Thank you for your comment. We try to cater to all age groups with our films and exhibits, and we love to hear that the Fleet is engaging to all. We have also multiple programs that cater specifically for adults, such as Suds and Science and Fleet Night of Science. Thank you for stopping by, we hope to see you again at the Fleet!

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