Nestled in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Area Discovery Museum draws children's inquiring minds with a host of exhibits modeled after the surrounding sea and city. The Wave Workshop lets kids explore the San Francisco Bay's ecology and test their own boat designs against simulated wind and waves. In the 2.5-acre Lookout Cove which overlooks the bay itself, a 23-foot-tall Golden Gate Bridge entices children to put on hardhats and help construct a giant model.
A nonprofit organization dedicated to the celebration of the art, history, and science of pinball, the Pacific Pinball Museum welcomes hardcore enthusiasts and casual fans alike to learn about and play the popular game. Over 85 operational machines—all set to free play—line the walls of the museum, including electro-mechanical, wood-rail, and wedgehead models, as well as the newest digital machines. Along with historic games on display, such as an 1879 Montague Redgrave Parlor Bagatelle and a Gottlieb 1931 Baffle Ball, three playable clear cabinets reveal the inner workings of the engineering marvel, from the wires feeding the lights to the tiny steelsmiths forging new balls between every play. Enthusiastic guides conduct regular tours of the facilities, whose walls feature hand-painted murals celebrating the game’s diverse colors and symbols.
The Golden State Model Railroad Museum brings the nation?s bygone steam-powered days back to life in miniature form, recreating the trails run by the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe Railroads. Trains snake through three huge model layouts, which depict the varied terrain of Northern and Central California lovingly recreated and operated by the East Bay Model Engineers Society. Sundays in April?December from noon to 5 p.m., some of the 70 behind-the-scenes conductors imbue the tracks with energy, transforming the 10,000-square-foot facility into a locomotive wonderland alight with the sounds of bells and whistles not heard since the days when phone numbers only had three digits. The museum is also open on Wednesdays and Saturdays for viewings or on select days for themed events such as Amtrak Day or Steam/Transition Era Day.
Planted between mighty palms in Golden Gate Park is the oldest wood-and-glass conservatory in North America. The gleaming white Victorian structure has survived several boiler explosions, closure during World War II, and more than two decades of renovations. In 1998, it was deemed an endangered building—but it was quickly adopted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and completely rehabilitated by 2003. This century-old structure is home to the Conservatory of Flowers, a National Historic Landmark that connects visitors year-round with the exotic flora of the world's tropical regions.
The Conservatory houses four main galleries. In the aquatic plants gallery, cascading water gurgles into pools beneath a glass-and-metal sculpture of a six-foot Victoria amazonica water lily. The mist-filled highland gallery mimics the high-altitude forests of tropical mountaintops with clusters of orchids and ferns. Showcasing another side of the tropics, the rainy lowland gallery replicates lush jungles, housing a 100-year-old imperial philodendron and several cycads, which date to the days when most dinosaurs were just tiny salamanders. The potted plants gallery incorporates man-made works such as copper planters from India, ceramic pots from Burkina Faso, and an urn from the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Around the fragrant stillness of these halls, the Conservatory hosts special events such as gardening workshops.
Groupon Celebrates Pride Month
Over the last 50 years, the gay-rights movement in America has overcome tremendous obstacles to become a powerful voice for inclusion and diversity. Even as it has grown, the movement—like Groupon—is local at heart, and we applaud the commitment to real change that improves everyday lives.
At Groupon, we are happy to add our voices to those celebrating PRIDE, their achievements as a social movement and a continued march to equality for the LGBT community. Plus, we love a chance to dig that rainbow wig out of storage.
This month—and throughout the year—we salute our merchants and customers who support PRIDE and all efforts that promote dignity, respect, and equal opportunity. We're highlighting these merchants' deals with a special badge to show Groupon's pride in working with people who share our values.
Since 1963, the Chinese Historical Society of America has collected the documents and artifacts that chronicle the history of Chinese American citizens. The society's permanent collections are typified by pieces such as One Hundred Years’ History of the Chinese in America, a vivid mural by Chinatown native James Leong that charts the progress of Chinese Americans over the course of 100 years. On a smaller scale, the Chinatown Miniatures Collection depicts three-dimensional scenes of San Francisco's Chinatown as it looked before artist Frank Wong built his shrink ray. Other exhibits change frequently, often in conjunction with special events hosted for members and their guests.
The museum can't contain every bit of Chinese American history, however. With that in mind, the society’s guides lead school groups on walking tours through the bustling streets and alleyways of San Francisco's Chinatown. Free from the confines of the museum, they point out the neighborhood’s distinct architectural landmarks and underlying social significance. Throughout the year, the museum also puts out publications such as the CHSA Bulletin, which chronicles different stories within the Chinese American community.
For the past three decades, the Contemporary Jewish Museum has celebrated Jewish culture, history, art, and ideas while remaining constantly relevant. A non-collecting organization, the CJM sparks dialogue and unites people from all walks of life through lectures, classes, films, and constantly rotating exhibitions commonly centered around art. In the past, the CJM has displayed photographs of Allen Ginsberg, trained its lens on the magic of Harry Houdini and the art he inspired, and responded to Hitler's Mein Kampf with artist Linda Ellia's exhibition of 600 pages altered by artists, writers, victims, students, and other Jewish people. More recently, the CJM featured an exhibit on the contribution of Jewish architects, designers, and merchants to creative communities around the US, post-World War II.
Holding all these different facets of culture and design is a building that is itself a work of art. Designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, the 63,000-square-foot CJM combines the legacy of the historic Jessie Street Power Substation with the dynamic angles and arresting shapes of contemporary architecture. Accompanying its overall shape is a blue metallic exterior and symbolic references to Jewish concepts, such as the Hebrew phrase "L'Chaim," meaning "to life."