Warning: I’m sharing 49 of the 309 photos I snapped for the day. Make sure you click on a picture if you want to view it bigger.
California Academy of Sciences
We took the bus from our hotel to Golden Gate Park, home to among other things the California Academy of Sciences. As a large urban park, it is similar to NYC’s Central Park although at 1,017 acres, it is 20% larger than Central Park. The area between the California Academy of Sciences and the de Young Musuem is called the Music Concourse. One of the first things that caught our eyes were these weird looking trees. I’ve since found out these are normal trees pruned in a method called pollarding, which promotes a dense head of foliage and branches. This practice is performed to maintain trees at a predetermined height. It would be interesting to see the trees in the summer with foliage. They probably don’t look so alien then.
The first exhibit we experienced was “Rainforests of the World.” This is the exhibit we probably spent the most time perusing. It was really neat.
The base of the rain forest dome was “flooded.” Some of the fish were quite large, perhaps as big as a human adult. After ascending the walkway that circled the dome, you took the elevator to the lower level of the museum. After exiting the elevator, you could watch the fish swim over your head. Note the people seen in the left of the next photo. They weren’t swimming with the fish.
I really enjoyed taking photos of the butterflies, so you will see a number of the different types found in the dome. I’m not sure if there were more Isabella Longwings or if they were just camera hogs, but they were the subjects of probably half of my butterfly photos.
The aquarium filled the entire lower level of the museum.
James and I remember frequently seeing relatives of this little guy on our trip to Tahiti. Although our favorite on that trip was the Picasso Triggerfish.
We ate lunch in the museum cafeteria. The selection and quality was very good. Afterward, we went to the “Islands of Evolution” exhibit.
Then we wandered up to the observation deck of the living roof. They shaped the roof like San Francisco, with seven hills. I think a living roof is such a fabulous concept. Just think, if you have ancestors who lived in dugouts, they were early pioneers of living roofs.
Back inside, you can look up through the glass ceiling of the Piazza to see the living roof.
The museum also has a planetarium (passes are distributed on a first come first served basis), but we picked the one day it happened to be closed for maintenance. So we headed back downstairs to the aquarium for a chat with a diver in the Philippine Coral Reef.
After leaving the California Academy of Sciences, we strolled through a small portion of Golden Gate Park enjoying the scenery.
Golden Gate Bridge
From Fulton St., we hopped on a bus to drive up Park Presidio Blvd. to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Palace of Fine Arts
From the bridge, we took a short bus ride to the Palace of Fine Arts. This was even more amazing during the daytime.
You can really see how massive a structure it is, by this next picture of James relaxing on a bench in front of the domed part of the structure.
From the Palace of Fine Arts, we took another bus to Ghirardelli Square. We checked out the beach of Aquatic Park, a small lagoon located just north of Ghirardelli Square nearly encircled by two piers with a small opening out to the bay. Apparently, people swim here year-round since it is free from sea craft, but we didn’t see any swimmers while we were there and I don’t think I would want to swim there in February.
We then walked over to Scoma’s on Pier 47 for a delectable dinner. We didn’t order an appetizer, but the sourdough bread served prior to receiving our entrees was extremely tasty. James ate Seafood Canneloni and thought of it like Italian enchiladas. I ate Grilled Pacific Red Snapper with garlic lemon butter that James even said was good (and he’s not the biggest fish person). Afterward, we wandered the shops for a bit to work up an appetite for dessert. We headed back to Ghirardelli Square to share an ice cream sundae at the lower of the two Ghirardelli shops in the square. Did you know that Ghirardelli first opened shop in 1852?
If you missed Day 1 of our trip, go here and here for an Alcatraz cell door video. Stay tuned for days 3 and 4.