01/03/2013 02:24 pm ET

San Francisco Exploratorium Closes Its Doors, Prepares For Reopening

It's comforting to know that when one door closes, another one opens. Especially if that door leads to a $300 million new space.

Nevertheless, thousands crowded the San Francisco Exploratorium on Wednesday as the famous science museum celebrated its final day at the Palace of Fine Arts, its home for the last 43 years. The museum will close for a three-month hiatus as it prepares to open at its new location on Pier 15.

"I grew up here, and now I'm just a little nostalgic," said Associate Executive Director Rob Semper to the San Francisco Chronicle about the Palace of Fine Arts location.

The museum has indeed become synonymous with the Palace's graceful dome. According to the Chronicle, 500 staff members rang tiny hand bells and thanked visitors for coming.

Founded by Frank Oppenheimer in 1969, the museum has become one of the world's most respected science activity centers, and has finally outgrown its Marina britches.

The upcoming indoor/outdoor space at Pier 15 is set to open on April 17, and will feature 300,000-square feet and 600 exhibits.

"The scale of our new home on Pier 15 will not only allow us to welcome a magnitude of new visitors, but also broaden our impact around the world by developing new experiences that make science accessible to all," said Executive Director Dennis M. Bartels in a release.

According to the Examiner, the museum will host pop-up exhibitions around the city until the doors open on its new home.

Check out renderings of the Exploratorium's new space in our slideshow below: