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 http://www.exploratorium.edu/ 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.