Monday, August 24, 2009

Field Trip

Chris and I had a wonderful visit to San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences yesterday. Here we are cleaning the pacific reef exhibit:
Ha!! Just kidding. I wish it were true, I have always fascinated about diving at an aquarium as a volunteer to do maintenance and help teach. I think you probably have to be a SERIOUS volunteer to get to do that! But, we did have a great time at the Academy.

We got up early and managed to get there right as it opened for early entry for members (I signed up for membership when I visited with my Mom and her husband Bob in January). Chris had never been before, so it was exciting for me to waltz right in with him (and over 100 other members, popular place) and get right in line for planetarium passes. We got passes easily and went right over to the first show of the day which was un-real. It is an I-Max dome theater and at the beginning of the show it feels like you literally fly out of your seat, go through the roof, and are floating and looking down at the living roof of the academy. Then you feel like you float higher and higher seeing all of the neighborhood, then the city, then the bay, then California. You fly around the globe to destinations like the Galapagos Islands, the Philippines, and Madagascar, then zoom out to space to look down on earth as 'an island in space'. Then fly around the solar system, to other star systems, out of the galaxy, and back again. It was a completely addictive experience and that I am sure I will be going back again many more times.

Afterwards, we walked through the four story rain forest exhibit with all the plants, birds, frogs, fish, and butterflies. A quick 'butterfly check' and we were allowed to get onto the elevator to take us down to the aquarium where we wandered around in awe looking at the jelly fish, sea-horses, fish, and reef exhibits (divers and all). Then we made our way up to the 2nd floor for the 3-D 'Bugs' movie with MUCH larger than life 3-D bugs such as centipedes, praying mantis, and butterflies crawled and flitted before our eyes. Then up to the roof to gaze across the living roof landscaped with self-sufficient native plants like poppies, yarrow, and strawberry bushes.

Chris and I decided to call it quits before we got completely overwhelmed, so we left prior to becoming burnt out by the crowds and found a shady patch in the grass of Golden Gate Park to lay down and relax/people watch. Then it was off to Park Chow, a fantastic restaurant within easy walking distance to the Academy for a late lunch. I was completely wowed by their special which was a fried whole soft shell crab sandwich (yum) and though I was tempted, resisted ordering another one because yes, it really was that good.
We did not however resist pie, and shared half slices of pecan and chocolate cream pie for dessert. Then it was back home to crash. We were completely tuckered. Chris was so whipped that he actually napped for 3 hours. It was an incredible day, one of the best I can remember in San Francisco, and I would highly recommend it to anyone that gets the chance.

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