No doubt if you’ve been down to the Marina Green or Chrissy Field this summer you’ve seen the giant 72-ft catamarans sailing along at 40+ mph in San Francisco Bay – they’re hard to miss. Excitement is growing now that the America’s Cup Finals are here. If you’re interested in watching the races, mark your calendars for September 7-23, 2013 (race days subject to change; see schedules below). This is a once-in-a-lifetime event – it’s speculated that the massive catamarans competing in this years AC race will not be competing in future races. So if you want to see them, this is the time to do it!
September and October are great times to visit San Francisco – the cool summer fog is gone. And in nearby Sonoma and Napa Valley Wine Country, harvest season is in full swing. As locals, we love playing tourist for the day – the “city by the bay” and surrounding areas offer so many fun things to do and see. Here are a few suggestions for visitors and locals alike:
1. Take a fun Alcatraz and San Francisco City Tour. Book early because it sells out almost every day. Once an infamous Federal Penitentiary, Alcatraz (“The Rock” ) was home to Al “Scarface” Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly and Robert “The Birdman” Stroud.The “Cell Block” audio walking tours are fascinating. See famous waterfront views of San Francisco Bay and the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge. Visit fun local attractions, including Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, Victorian homes, North Beach… and more!
WOW – what an amazing museum! The California Academy of Sciences is our favorite museum in San Francisco. It’s the only place in the world that houses one of the world’s largest Planetariums, an Aquarium and Coral Reef, a Natural History Museum, and a glass-domed Rainforest – all under the same roof.
Plan on spending the whole day here – there’s SO much to see. The Planetarium offers an incredible experience! See what it feels like to travel into space and explore the universe. We recommend that you get your Planetarium show tickets when you arrive at the museum before they sell out (they’re included in the price of admission) – the shows are extremely popular and the line gets longer throughout the day.
Our favorite area of the museum is the Rainforest (middle picture above). Judging from the crowds, we’re not the only ones! Head over to the Rainforest early before the line gets too long. Costa Rica (the top level) is truly magical. Peer over the railings and look down through the center of the Rainforest – you’ll see free-flying birds and butterflies, and fish swimming below. It’s truly stunning!
What’s even more amazing is the view of the Amazon-flooded Forest, located three levels below. Watch people under the 25-ft long acrylic tunnel as they gaze up at the fish swimming overhead. After visiting the Rainforest, take the elevator down to the museum’s spectacular 25-ft deep Aquarium (picture top left). It houses the world’s deepest (and the nation’s biggest) interior Coral Reef ecosystem – and over 3,000 exotic fish, including sharks, rays and sea turtles. Be sure to check out the Moon Jellies too. We could have stood there watching for hours – the sea life is incredible!
Don’t miss the Penguin feeding (10:30am and 3:30pm) at the far end of African Hall – that’s when they’re at their most playful. Arrive early if you want to get a good view as this is one of the museum’s most popular attractions and the room fills up quickly.
Take the elevator up to the 2.5-acre “green” Living Roof (picture top right) and open-air Observation Terrace – the views from the top are spectacular, especially on a fog-free day. Get a bird’s eye view of Golden Gate Park, the Music Concourse (and Bandshell) and the M.H. de Young Museum. The Living Roof features almost two million native California plant species, including perennial plants and colorful native wildflowers. Specialists are on hand to answer your questions, so don’t be shy.
When you get to the Swamp (another popular museum exhibit), say hi to Claude – he’s the first White Alligator we’ve ever seen – and he’s quite stunning. Bonnie‘s the other alligator – they make quite a couple!
All that walking around is bound to make you hungry. No worries – head over to the Academy’s spacious open Piazza, located just inside the main entrance. It’s a fun place to grab a cup of coffee and and a snack, relax and people-watch. There’s also the Academy Cafe offering food from the Mediterranean,Southeast Asia and Mexico -as well as a noodle station featuring Charles Phan’s Vietnamese classics. And then there’s the more fancy Moss Room – an intimate 65-seat restaurant showcasing Loretta Keller’s signature California-Mediterranean cuisine.
If you haven’t visited the museum yet, or want to go back again, take advantage of the Special Offer going on NOW and save 20% on your admission ticket – and skip all the huge ticket buying lines. (Normally $24.49); the discount price is only $19.60. FYI… offer expires September 30, 2009. It’s a great last-minute FUN thing to do over Labor Day Weekend.
Copyright 2011 lovetoeatandtravel.com All Rights Reserved
Nightlife at the Academy
Thursdays thru’ October 29, 2009
If you’re looking for something FUN and inexpensive to do on a Thursday night, check out “Nightlife” at the Academy. Every Thursday, after the California Academy of Sciences (in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park) closes, the museum features “Nightlife” — a
weekly evening event blending cutting-edge science, music, cocktails and food in
a unique museum setting.
What a FUN day out! The NEW California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park recently opened on September 27, 2008. It’s a “must-see” – especially if you have kids!
It’s the only place in the world that houses one of the world’s largest Planetariums, an Aquarium and Coral Reef, a Natural History Museum, and a glass-domed Rainforest — all under the same “Living Roof.”
Treat your family to a fun museum adventure over the Holiday Season – we can’t wait to go back again!
More Info and Pictures of the California Academy of Sciences
Aquarium / Amazon Forest / Coral Reef
African Hall / Penguins & Penguin Feedings
Living Roof / Observation Terrace
Rainforest / Birds & Butterflies
The Swamp / White Alligator
Copyright 2011 lovetoeatandtravel.com All Rights Reserved