Monday, April 20, 2009

How I Spent My last Friday Off - Jeff and Kim

“I’d like to thank the Academy…”

Kim and I decided to take advantage of our last extended weekend by spending some quality time in City by the Bay, San Francisco. We had heard great things about the new Academy of Science building in Golden Gate Park by Renzo Piano so we said to ourselves, “hey, it would be easier to visit the museum on a weekday with small crowds rather than on a Saturday,” not realizing some schools are on spring break. The place was a mad house; the building was filled to capacity, you literally had to park miles and miles away since you couldn’t drive anywhere near the museum, and to top it off you could only enter as people left which meant you may or may not get in before closing due to a quarter mile long line that was wrapping around the plaza. Deciding to come back first thing the next morning, we did finally get into the museum.

I had visited the original museum as a youngling but couldn’t remember much more than the fact I was starving most of that day because I had forgotten my lunch box on the bus. I thought the museum was well conceived with an undulating green roof carrying into the major space with two large contrasting spheres flanking an open courtyard. The major theme throughout the museum was the environment and how humans have negatively impacted certain ecosystems and climates and what we can do to help. There was a great rain forest exhibit which was a 3-story glass panel sphere which contained a mini rain forest ecosystem inside which you can walk around in with birds, butterflies, ants, frogs, fish and rain forest vegetation. Many of the exhibits and displays throughout are interactive which really got the kids involved. One of the most interesting sites, for me at least, was the large rolling green roof covered with indigenous plants which you can go to the roof and see.

In the end it was a lot of fun, even with the crowds. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun way to educate themselves or their children about natural sciences and environmental issues facing society… and get there early!

- Jeff and Kim


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