You know when you come across these hills at Shorebird Park in Foster City you are in a fun place. Finding them is quite simple, just take any dirt path off the main biking trail that heads towards the Bay. One Yelp reviewer warned to watch for snakes.
On a Google map image the path is marked as BMX trail and Bike BMX Jumps. If you look up dirt jumping on Wikipedia you find an image of the Foster City Shells Dirt Jumps.
So, it might not be such an unexpected destination after all. I enjoyed being there without any bikers around. But if you are a BMX biker or love to dirt jump you found heaven. I definitely want to go back and hopefully take some pictures of jumping bikers. The path is dirt mixed with oyster shells. It crushes under your shoes like tightly packed snow.
Do you have any good pictures of dirt jump bikers?
To find a windy day in South San Francisco might not be too tough. The real obstacle, if you want to see the Wind Harp, is finding parking. Surrounded by Genentech buildings during the weekdays this area is busy. For Wind Harp visitors Sunday might be the day to go.
Erected in 1967 by Lucia and Aristides Demetrios the 92 foot metal sculpture stands on top of a hill. If it weren’t for the office buildings surrounding it, one would have a great view of the Bay. Three metal benches invite you to sit and listen to the fog horn like arie.
If you interact with it by let’s say hitting a metal column in a fast pace with a small object, maybe a stone, the sound coming back might remind you of laser guns in Star Wars. This is, of course, information only, not encouragement for you to do this!
My love for large sculptures brings me to the most interesting places.
Have you ever driven by Tripp Road in Woodside and wondered what the general store was all about?
The old general store, post office, and community center constructed in 1854 by Robert Orville Tripp and Mathias Parkhurst is now a California Historical Landmark.
Tripp also was a dentist and winemaker. The store flourished; it was the only general store and stagecoach stop between San Francisco and Santa Clara.
Today, school groups can explore what it was like in a general store. The Woodside store is also open for the general public, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 4 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm. I really enjoyed the fact that you can go behind the counters and take a closer look at the packages on display.
The little gift shop in the corner is appropriate – with books from that period and arrowheads. But the best offering are the candy sticks. I have been told that bubble gum is one of the favorite flavors. At 25 cents each they are a true bargain and a welcome souvenir to take away.
The back rooms are a tribute to the lumber industry with large saws on the wall, but also skunk and racoon fur to touch.
Ever since Whip it! I knew about roller derbys and I remember how excited I was to see that the Bay Area has multiple teams. Saturday, I got invited by the Silicon Valley Roller Girls to see a game. Don’t let the name fool you – roller derby is a contact sport and these girls are tough!
I have to admit even after my preparations looking up the rules and watching a YouTube video I’m still not sure how the scoring works. It is worth buying the $1 program which starts off explaining the basics. Look for the roller with the star on her helmet, that’s the jammer. The jammer scores by passing the opposing blockers. Both teams are in the ring at the same time and can score at the same time. Oh, and if you noticed the striped helmet, she is the pivot and can become the jammer.
The City Beach volleyball center was transformed into the flat track with chair seating areas in a half circle around the track. They do serve drinks and some food options, but you have to consume it in the bar area. After the Star Spangled Banner and the introduction of the teams each roller girl gets one round on the track greeting fans. I love the inventive names. Bully Elliot, Chewblocker, and Belle Wringer, to only name a few, give you the idea that this sport can get rough sometimes. The chiropractor that promoted its praxis in the back should have been a clue as well. The crowd was surprisingly calm. Some dressed up and onebrought her puppy. I also enjoyed the high-five round at the end where each player came around and gave the audience a high five.
The announcer was mostly blocking our view of the scoreboard, but it was clear that V Town had a great run this evening. The fans were happy. A great family friendly event.
If you’d like to experience the Silicon Valley Roller Girls, there are three dates left for the2018 season:
As a monument to the engineering of the Hetch Hetchy Project, that brought water 160 miles from the Sierra Nevada to the Bay Area, the Pulgas water temple is a tribute to the ancient architecture of Greece and Romans. The 20 year project finished in October of 1934.
The inscription “I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people.” underlines the importance of drinking water after the 1906 earthquake and the raging wildfires that followed the quake.
I was surprised at how many people were exploring the monument. Some relaxing on the lawn, some horsing around the pool. The reflecting pool, a great backdrop for wedding photography and other photo opportunities was widely used as such.
The water temple is open seven days a week, from 9 am – 4 pm, but on the weekends the parking lot is only available for permitted events.
I know it sounds contradictory to try to get my teenager away from electronics by going to a digital game museum. But it’s all about being able to experience and not just consume. That was my motivation.
The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) in Oakland has an impressive collection of over 5,300 playable games. Your $10 entrance fee buys you a whole day of playing every game imaginable.
They start historically with pong and the old astroid games, but they have all consoles and a ton of games. To preserve the game cartridges you have to ask the staff to switch the games for you. You lounge in comfortable sofas or for the PC games on office chairs.
I liked the old pong-clone consoles, the colorful boxes, and was amazed at the different controllers they used to have. Some games were hard to figure out, but I can imagine the older child coming here and recreating their childhood from the 80s.
I wish I were more adventurous, I would have tried the drums for guitar hero. Yes, they have the whole band setup!
This place attracts mostly boys, but there were also some girls holding their ground. The mothers enjoyed the free WiFi to check their phones. Seating was plenty and comfortable.
A great place to teach kids about digital games and play some old favorites.
If you missed the Silicon Valley Open Studios this year, but you are still on the hunt to purchase local art, one place to consider is the Community Art show at PJCC. The Peninsula Jewish Community Center in Foster City currently shows art to purchase by 83 local artists until August 26th, 2018.
On a variety of mediums from metal to paper, jewelry, and sculptures you get a great overview of the local art scene.
Of course you are encouraged to find your own winner of the show.
I enjoyed a light lunch at the cafe and ate outside at the Mark Hamlin Garden. The Grow Justice Mural at the garden facilitated by Jay Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen, has an eerie current relevance, one of the five panels is showing a mother with a child andthe words ‘Human’, ‘Rights’, ‘Stop Profiling’, ‘Immigration Rights’ and ‘Freedom’ on tiles below. Grow Justice is a Jewish commandment to make the world a better place; a goal we should all strive for – no matter what we believe.
If you are Inspired to paint yourself, the PJCC offers classes for young and old.
Just touch with your eyes – as our new favorite saying goes. The creatures living in the tide pools of the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach, one of the most diverse marine lives areas, are not to be touched. In fact, you should make sure you are not stepping on anything either.
Before you go, check the tides schedule, low tides, one foot or less, are best for viewing.
You can pick up a brochure at the park center guiding you in what you might find. At the same place, they also show a video with examples, have information on Abalone, the geology at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, and talk about whale migration.
I was hoping to see an octopus, but these masters of disguise require more patience and a bit of luck I suppose. We did see a hermit crab (no snail can walk that fast!), and a few tiny fish. A group ahead of us spotted a CRAB! I felt happy to watch their sea critter treasure hunt.
For the not so stable walkers, there is a bench overlooking the Cove.
A tip for people coming from the inland – bring a sweater! Temperatures dropped 20 degrees Fahrenheit. We enjoyed a clam chowder at Sam’s Chowder House afterward to warm up again.
Touch a shark and get a sticker to proudly proof it. The Seymour Marine Discovery Center in Santa Cruz is one of my favorite places in the Bay Area. Besides petting a shark – a real swell shark that is! – you are also invited by the great volunteers to get your finger wrapped up by sea creatures like anemones, spot a hermit crab or hold a sea star. The aquarium tanks hold shark babies and jellyfish. Did you know that jellyfish needed a round tank to generate the circular flow keeping them suspended in the tank?
If you talk about the wildlife of the Bay you also need to see the exhibit on the sea otter. There is otter fur to touch, which is the softest fur ever.
Shark Science Week is July 22 – 28. 2018 – to get a deeper understanding of sharks.
Sea Otter Awareness Week is September 22 – 30. 2018 – this is an annual event all around the Bay recognizing the importance of the sea otter for the nearshore ecosystem.
The tour that is included in the entrance fee takes you outside the center. It starts off with the history of the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. An important stop is Ms. Blue, the 87 feet long blue whale skeleton that greets every visitor. You are invited to go into her belly, touch some baleen plate, that is used to filter out food and a glass jar of krill to understand how much food is needed for these giants. The tour might end behind the scene of the Joseph M. Long Laboratory. Here our group got to see two dolphins and a seal that are being studied.
In July and August the Seymour Marine Discovery Center is open every day 10 am – 5 pm. Adults admission is $9, senior, children and students are $7. For the free days you need to check the web site. They also participate in the Discover and Go program.
I remember the times my toddler would stare at everything moving. We enjoyed the trash trucks and the planes in the sky. Trains also fall in this category, big and small.
If you happen to be at the Santa Clara train station either on a Tuesday afternoon, from 5 pm to 8 pm, or on a Saturday, 10 am to 3 pm, go check out the South Bay Historical Railroad Society. Admission is free, with a few opportunities to donate inside.
In the oldest passenger depot still in use volunteers established a museum for all things railroad related. But the real attraction are the model railways that fill most of the depot’s back room.
Young and old volunteers work together on the trains that ride across impressions of Northern California landscapes. I smiled at a mother telling her toddler to slow down. There are step stools for the smaller population to see the trains. I loved the whimsical displays that tell a story of its own.
All the way in the back are aerial photographs of Santa Clara train station were you can imagine the transition this area went through.