Welcome the long-distance travelers

Welcome the long-distance travelers

The migration path of the monarch butterflies is quite amazing. They are the only insects that migrate to places that are 3,000 miles away. From October to January the monarchs visit the Bay Area. Last week I named Ardenwood, the historic farm in Fremont, as one of the places you can see monarchs.

 

Boardwalk at the Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa CruzAnother special place to see them is the Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz. They created a boardwalk for people to observe and learn about the butterflies. For some reason the clusters are at Lighthouse Field State Beach, two miles away from the Natural Bridge State Beach.

 

In an eucalyptus tree hundreds of them bundle together and warm each other. Cluster of monarch butterflies at the Lighthouse Field State BeachThey look like brown leaves, but when it gets warmer they start flying off. The monarchs need a temperature of over 55F to be able to fly.

 

Graphic illustrating the flight path of four generations of monarch butterfliesSome monarchs live for only four to six weeks, while others live six to eight months and have to fly really far to escape the cold weather. What is amazing is that the fourth generation returns to the places the first generation came from.

 

 

Have you seen a cluster of monarchs before?

See a historic farm

See a historic farm

Sometimes I feel it’s worth to remember that we have an easy life. We can go to the store and buy whatever we feel like – even fruit and vegetables that are not in season.

If we just step back in time about 150 years, we can see that it was actually hard work to get food on the table.

The Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont is a great exhibit of early farm life, livestock and local history.

"Mary had a little _ and her _ was white as snow" sign in front of a stall at Ardenwood Historic Farm, FremontThey have cute signs in front of the coops and stalls to teach and engage the little "What came first the chicken or the egg" sign in front of a stall in Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremontones about the animals inhabiting them. There are a few varieties of chicken, little piggies and some unusual birds. This is a great place to bird watch, over 99 different species have been recorded.  A Guide to the Birds of Ardenwood Historic Farm

 

Monarch butterfly at Ardenwood Historic Farm, FremontDuring the winter month, from December to mid-February monarch butterflies overwinter here. In the summer they offer tractor rides and the train operates between the Ardenwood station and the Deer Park station. You can also see an original Victorian garden and visit the Patterson Victorian house.

There is a lot to see and to do, especially for little kids.

 

Entry fee is between $3 and $6, for special events $8.

 

What is your favorite time period?

 

You decide: Rodin vs. Papua New Guinea

You decide: Rodin vs. Papua New Guinea

Stanford is famous for their large Rodin collection. In fact the bronze collection with over 200 pieces is amongst the largest in the world. Two of the best known sculptures are  ‘The Gates of Hell’ and ‘The Thinker’. You can admire them inside and outside the Cantor Arts Center. They also offer docent lead tours Wednesdays at 2 pm, Saturdays at 11:30 am, and Sundays at 3 pm, rain or shine. Meet in the main lobby. Learn more

https://museum.stanford.edu/view/rodin.html

The two gates of hell at Stanford University

A different display of art is the New Guinea Sculpture Garden. As a modern / tribal collaboration project they mixed traditional stories with modern ideas. When they learned about the famous Rodin sculptures one of the artist proclaimed: ‘”I can do this – even better!’ Their versions of ‘The Gates of Hell” and ‘The Thinker’ can be found among a multitude of other sculptures.

Which is the better version will be in the eye of the beholder.  If you are willing to judge or explore you can find the garden on the corner of Lomita and Santa Teresa.  They also do a tour every third Sunday at 2 pm.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papua_New_Guinea_Sculpture_Garden
Which artist do you prefer?

Wander around the weaved Whiplash

Wander around the weaved Whiplash

The latest public art installation in Palo Alto is a willow weaved whiplash from artist Patrick Dougherty.

Patrick Dougherty's whiplash at the Palo Alto Art CenterThis is his second work, the first one, also made from natural materials was dismantled in June. This new one, called Whiplash, stands in front of the Palo Alto Art Center facing Embarcadero Rd. and is an impressive construction, with multiple rooms and windows, that lead you into a courtyard.

It is made out of only natural materials and a very enchanting place. The smell of the willow was very strong on my visit, maybe because it rained? This definitely added to the experience.

I can see little kids run through the crafted arches, or play hide and seek. (I’m sure kids will be even more inventive!)

If you still need to satisfy your art hunger you can check out the sculpture garden and the current exhibits in the Art CenterAt the sculpture garden at the Palo Alto Art Center

Have you seen Patrick Dougherty and over 60 volunteers work on this for three weeks in November?

Learn that physics is fun

Learn that physics is fun

It’s the time of the year again when most of us like to give gifts, not only for friends and family but also for a good cause.

One of these gift ideas that meet both criteria is The Physics Show at Foothill College.

We saw this show in September. Though my 7th grader said it was something he learned in 6th grade, we all enjoyed this spectacular display of physic experiments. Behind us was a family that had been to a previous show. They agreed that even though some of this had been in the earlier showing, it was still a lot of fun.

So, no matter if you are a returning visitor or a new spectator, this will be entertaining.

But let’s talk about the giving side of this event. The Physics Show also does weekday programs for title one schools. Not only do the children get to see the show, they provide transportation, a tour of the campus, and get a T-Shirt! Last year 3200 kids saw the show.

See the Mercury New article for further reading:

http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/09/15/physics-show-a-smashing-success-with-students/

Weekend shows are only $5 per person and this includes parking in lot 1. Tickets for the January events go on sale December 6th and you have to preorder them (only a few seats left at the door) at The Physics Show web site.

Saturday Jan 7, 2017

Sunday   Jan 8, 2017             

Saturday Jan 21, 2017

Sunday   Jan 22, 2017

Have you enjoyed physics before?

*official logo for The Physics Show courtesy of The Physics Show