San Francisco Zoo

I finally made it to the San Francisco Zoo.  Have you ever tried to go somewhere and wind up starting to go half a dozen times before it actually works out?  I have even driven here a few times and couldn’t park or it was closed etc.  Well, we finally made it, and the weather was fine.  It was a lovely day to visit the famous beachside zoo and botanical garden.  Many of the animals were doing what they do best and what I wish I was doing, napping.  Some of the enclosures were smaller, darker, and more older fashioned than I would have expected at a zoo this large and famous and frequently visited.  But, toddler temper tantrums aside it was a lovely visit with the highlights being the hippo, the giraffes, the penguins, the koalas (thinking of their friends down under), and the gardens.

*My son would like to note his favorite part was the bubbles and the garbage cans.  So, there you have it, a solid three year old review of the Zoo.

Lands End Labyrinth – San Francisco

Ever wonder what’s at the end of the world?  Well, at Land’s End in San Francisco Bay, it’s a labyrinth and an amazing view of the most iconic bridge in the world…the Golden Gate.  I’ve been visiting this city for a long time and only just heard about this labyrinth.  Where has it been all this time?  I had to go check it out.  And check it out I did in the same high heels I used to go shopping earlier int he day.  Readers, I risked my ankles for you!  You are welcome! 😉

The labyrinth can be accessed most easily by parking at the Legion of Honor and walking on the cart path north towards the Golden Gate Bridge through the golf course.  The path will lead to the labyrinth but it also navigates around the entire peninsula making for a splendid sea walk.  The path is not handicap accessible.  If you plan it right stop for a visit at the Legion of Honor which is worth a look any day of the week!  Eat there at their lovely café or top it off for some Clam Chowder by Ubering to the Cliff House overlooking Ocean Beach at sunset.

California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park

I have posted about Golden Gate Park in San Francisco before but there is even more to talk about.  The California Academy of Sciences is a world class science center which proves entertaining for adults and children.  I was visiting the sites nearby and had a few hours to kill and thought it would be a fun stop. It’s been a few years since I last visited and the dinosaurs were visiting this time around!

One of my favorite features is the living roof which is reminiscent of a hobbit house being bulbous with port hole windows. From the roof one can see 360 degree views of the spacious and green park and get a burst of sea air.

Next on the list of my favorites is the indoor rain forest.  No time to travel south of the equator? Come here and see some lovely tress, flowers, birds, frogs, and butterflies native to the world’s rain forests.  Science center guides are available to educate children on butterfly and bird species and their habitats.

Not enough for you?  Head downstairs to a spacious and impressive aquarium where the littles can touch sea creatures in a tide pool and walk under the fish tanks. Don’t forget a visit to the famous albino alligator on your way out of the natural history museum area.  And bring a picnic because there is no better place to sit and enjoy the sunshine in the City by the Bay!

Don’t miss this wonderful stop on your next trip to San Francisco!

Springtime in Napa

It’s springtime in Napa which means mustard flower and cleanup piles. I have always found Napa to be a spectacularly beautiful place. But, I’ve always found the views away from the large commercial wineries to be my favorites. The side roads and country in between the touristy places can take your breath away. Napa is truly the most beautiful big time small town in Nor Cal and I never ever get tired of it in any season.

San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

Golden Gate Park is full of surprises and pleasant escapes from the rest of the City. It is certainly up for “Best Park in America” if you ask me which no one ever does…

I digress. One of the many treats in Golden Gate Park is the Conservatory of Flowers.  It was like a trip back to Victorian times only more humid.

And where better to try out my new iPhone XS?  The portrait feature is a lot of fun providing some fake depth of field by blurring out the background of your subject. The phone is particularly better taking photos in high and low light compared to previous versions. (Thank you Apple for finally improving that.) Some of the filters are comically bad from a real photography perspective but they are fun from a, well, fun perspective.  Bottom line, the phone takes a much much clearer photo than before which I appreciate considering the obscene price.

It’s the City by the Bay.  The City that Rocks.  The City that Never Sleeps. We Built this City on Rock and Roll!  ~Jefferson Starship, We Built This City

Click here for other Golden Gate Park posts which will make you want to visit immediatly!

Check out my other posts on San Francisco here!

De Young Museum- Cult of the Machine

San Francisco’s premier art museum De Young , located in the glorious Golden Gate Park, is showing a “Cult of the Machine” exhibit which is simple, small, and enjoyable. The exhibit focuses on what appears to be period Industrial Art Deco style meets San Francisco Tech Industry.  A few pieces even focused on the Golden Gate Bridge, our beloved swaying icon of the area.  I found the exhibit to be very modern despite much of it being 100 years old.  The museum is a perfect respite from the heat and only feat away from my favorite San Francisco attractions; the Japanese Tea Gardens and the Botanical Gardens.  One could easily spend the entire day at the De Young even while the nature just steps outside beckon.

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Clarence Holbrook Carter – War Bride, 1940

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Joseph Stella – Bridge, 1936

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Charles Sheeler – Golden Gate, 1955

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Joseph Stella Factories, 1918

San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Chocolate

You must go here. It’s crowded but the hot fudge, my friends, is worth the wait. Not many touristy places will get my endorsement, especially in San Francisco, but you must trust me here. If any part of your tooth is sweet bring them here. 

Interestingly enough you can get a hot fudge Sunday just like this at AT&T park while watching the Giants play. Who needs beer and hot dogs when they can have this?

Just takin’ a little walk…over the Golden Gate Bridge!

Don’t look down!

My cousins and their Egyptian foreign exchange student came to visit San Francisco for business/pleasure from Phoenix.  Deciding not to plan ahead my cousins and I , both San Francisco tourist veterans in our own right, set to decide what important sites their new “daughter” must see.  The conversation went like this, “What do you think she should see?”  “I don’t know, what do you think she should see?  All I know is I am hungry.”  “Anything you want to do that you have never done before?”  “Ah, no. I feel like I have done everything.”  Then my cousin asked me if I had ever walked over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge?  Well, heck.  I never had.  I guess I just never wanted to deal with the wind and the crowds.  So we set out…

The parking Gods were with us.  Someone pulled out right in front of us.  Parking was only $5!  Parking is NEVER only $5 in San Francisco.

It turns out there is a lovely gift shop at the bridge.  I don’t know why this comes as a surprise to me but it does.  Near the gift shop there is a cool representation of what it takes to build this magnificent bridge.  Did you know that those gigantic orange cables holding up that thing is made of thousands of of smaller cables?  There are a few interactive toys/models to show folks the engineering behind the bridge too.

And then there is the bridge!  Just walk on out there.  Put earthquakes out of your mind.  Put tsunamis from the Rock’s new movie out of your mind.  Pay no attention to the police officer yelling at someone doing something they aren’t supposed to over the intercom.  Take some fun little selfies. And then behold the beauty that is the Marin Headlands in one direction and the most beautiful city in the United States in the other.  (Reference some of my favorite lesser known spots in SF: Botanical gardens, ChinaTown, Japanese Tea Garden, Coit Tower…)  You have a birdseye view of Alcatraz and Angel islands.  You can see the new span of the Bay Bridge and all its glory connected by Treasure island.  You can see Berkeley and Oakland.  You can see seals frolicking in the water below.  Wait, don’t look down!  You can see sailboats at 90 degree angles.  You can feel the vibration of the bridge moving by both natural forces and the hundreds of cars zooming by.  It is loud, very loud and the wind is whipping up in your ears making it seem even louder.  You dodge runners and bicyclists as well as other tourists walking with their cameras up not paying attention to anyone or anything around them.  We turn around 3/4 of the way over the bridge because it is a long darn bridge and the loudness and the wind is getting to us all.

It never fails to surprise me that every time I go to the City I have a good time and can experience something new.  I know it will be this way for the rest of my life.

Photo doesn’t do this view justice


It’s hard not to stare at this view


Do you think there is anyone out there that doesn’t recognize this bridge?


Such a beautiful city and the Golden Gate only makes her that much prettier

Used to have toll takers now what do you do if you don’t have a fastpass?

Cousins everywhere!  I never thought I would have an Egyptian cousin or a cousin from Pacific Grove and look at these two lovely ladies!

Try your hand at how much tension is required to raise a bridge

 

To read about my other San Francisco exploits click here!