Saturday, February 12, 2005

Took My Son To San Francisco Today

It was time to go somewhere, and for some reason the boy likes that city. Perhaps it has something to do with all the touristy things along Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf. I dislike the drive to the City, despise driving in the City, hate trying to find parking there. But I did all three without major mishap.

I thought we'd do some new things this time, so our first stop was the Exploratorium. I first went there in 5th grade and the place hasn't lost any of its allure. It's so much better than its web site makes it look. Skip the Museum of Modern Art--you can see that stuff in any big city. If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair--and go check out the Exploratorium.

The next place I'll recommend, which we didn't visit this trip but did on our last trip, is Fort Point. Fort Point is a Civil War-era brick fort that guarded the Golden Gate, the entrance to San Francisco Bay. For those who won't make it to Fort Sumter any time soon, Fort Point provides a left coast opportunity to see such a fortification. During the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in the 1930's, Fort Point was supposed to be demolished. However, the designer saw the fort and redesigned the south anchorage of the bridge in order to save the historical site. Interesting history, amazing views, relatively off the beaten path. A great combination.

Anyway, after leaving the Exploratorium we took a trip down Lombard Street, which may still be listed in the Guiness Book as the crookedest street in the world. Tourists love it, the people who live on it must certainly be used to the traffic by now. Make sure you're driving a compact car! From there we went down Columbus in order to get a good look at the Transamerica Pyramid, and then on to Fisherman's Wharf.

My son is not the most academically minded youngster and found the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum to be more engaging than the Exploratorium. It cost over $20 for the two of us, and we went through the whole thing in 45 minutes or less. Who could fail to be fascinated by the Ripley stuff? We skipped the Wax Museum a few storefronts down, though, despite the fact that Brad Pitt was at the entrance.

And then to Pier 39. Shops, bright and colorful lights, and the smells of sweets make that place a magnet. No trip to The City is complete without going there, though, no matter how old you are. We could have stopped at any of the several clam-chowder-in-a-sourdough-bread-bowl places all along Pier 39 and the Wharf but settled on In-N-Out Burger in order to get the parking garage ticket validated (it still cost me $20 to park for 4 hrs).

And now we're home. He's long since been tucked in. I'm on my way now.


BigT said...

what a cute and delightful story.

Darren said...

Thanks! I appreciate your coming here to read my blog, and I *really* appreciate the comment.

My son's mother and I give him very different "experiences." She takes him to places like the zoo, Disneyland, Six Flags Marine World, camping at Dillon's Beach, places like that. I took him camping on the beach in Baja one summer, took him to Las Vegas (lots of kid stuff to do there, especially the Stratosphere tower) once, took him back east this past summer (see the post on computer games), took him to the gold discovery site at Coloma last weekend, and am planning on taking him to Vancouver, BC this summer. I have a friend who's an airline pilot, and last summer for my son's birthday I rented a Cessna and my friend took us up to see our house, his mother's house, his school, nanny and grandpa's house, etc.

His mother does more of the fun stuff, I do more of the educational stuff. There's a good mix between the two.

I think it's a good mix!

Walter E. Wallis said...

Next time, do the newly remodeled Cliff House. Nice, but the seals are gone to pier 41.

Polski3 said...

Sounds like a fun day for you and your son (I'd pick In-N-Out over chowder bread bowls any day!). If you ever get down towards, I think its in San Mateo, on El Camino, there was a 50's style drive in called Caruzzis (?). They had car hops on rollerskates and on weekend nights, oldie car fans often brought their old cars there. Used to go there with some cousins when I visited the Bay Area. Some cool scenery along US 1 between the city and Santa Cruz too....the lighthouse, and some cool redwood parks too.

Quincy said...

If you're looking for good food in the city, Mel's on Lombard is a fun place to go.

Also, if you want a unique (and edcational) time, check out the Western Railway Museum on Hwy. 12 in Rio Vista. It's a far sight closer for you than SF and has a lot of really fun stuff.