While the eclipse was a great way to get your children interested in space, planets, and safety goggles, you should use this excitement to your advantage to teach them more about the universe. The Chabot Space Center in Oakland is one of the places you can go to learn about space, see movies in a planetarium, tour the telescopes, crawl into a black hole, and much more. They even had volunteers explaining a pinhole to see the storms on the sun (we saw three storms the size of earth!) and another volunteer was tracking the sun’s movement.
The exhibit that convinced my family to go is their current Art and Science of Pinball exhibit, through September 27th, 2017. Of course they let you play a variety of pinball machines. But they also explain the mechanics and help you understand it by singling out the technique and making you press a button to see it.
I loved the two pinball machines that were all see through! One digital, one mechanical, they both allowed you to see the moving parts while someone else played. It made us go back and find the examples in the exhibit.
Also two thumbs up for the Bean Sprouts Cafe with a lot of healthy and fun food options.
Santa Cruz, aka Surf City, was the first city in the United States to learn about surfing. In 1885 three Hawaiian princes took a break from boarding school in San Mateo and taught the locals how to surf.
The Surfing Museum in the old lighthouse in Santa Cruz lets you in on over 100 years of surfing history. The museum is free, but kindly asks for donations. Listed in decades, it takes you through the advancements of surfboards and the history of local surfers. You can see the board that was attacked by a white shark, including two of the teeth left in the board!
From here, if you start walking towards the boardwalk, you come across the memorial for surfers that have left the earth for good. Behind the memorials are some surfing rules by Sam Reid.
If you continue your walk there is another tribute in form of the surfing sculpture (“This monument is dedicated to all surfers – past, present, and future…”).
I had a fun time watching the young surfers (I assume this was a summer camp) trying out the waves.
The first thing I learned about PEZ at the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia was that it is short for the German word for peppermint: PfeffErminZ and the company that creates these famous dispensers and treats is Austrian.
This tiny museum was a great visit. For $3 you get a tour with the owner who has a copiousness knowledge of PEZ.
The vending machines that give out PEZ took me down memory lane.The cutest dispensers, I think, are the mini Japanese editions – dispensers for four PEZ with all the famous characters, like Pikachu and Nintendo’s Mario.
The museum expanded to show classic toys, like Lincoln Logs and Mr. Potato Head and a section on Banned Toys, which was my favorite: The Atomic Energy Laboratory (with 4 samples of radioactive material!).
If you like Guinness Book World records you can view the World’s Largest PEZ Dispensing Machine.
Andy Goldsworthy’s sculptures in San Francisco’s Presidio are well known and worth seeking out. But did you know that Silicon Valley has one of his nature sculptures?
Across from the Anderson Collection at the Stanford University you can sit in the park and enjoy a picnic, while you marvel at the snake like sculpture. Goldsworthy’s Stone River. It took about 128 tons of material to build in one month. During his work on Stone River, Goldsworthy has also created a “heap of pieces with grasses and leaves” just a few yards away from the sculpture.
Every third Sunday, at 11:30 a.m. there is a free 1 ½ hour docent led tour for the outdoor sculptures. Tours start at the front of the Cantor Arts Center.