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.
Art Works Downtown's story begins about seven years before its founding. Back in the early '90s?when local businesses started closing down en masse?Phyllis Thelen got an idea. Rather than let Fourth Street go to shambles, the cultural-affairs advocate filled empty store windows with artwork to make them more attractive to passersby and bored security-camera monitors. That's when she discovered the building that would become Art Works Downtown, located on Fourth Street. Built in 1878, it was once known as Gordon's Opera House. Phyllis just knew this rundown yet beautiful building would make the perfect art center. So she and four peers founded the Art Works Downtown nonprofit organization and set to work remaking the 40,000-square-foot space into a community jewel.
They started by remodeling 13 rooms, turning them into studios for local artists to rent, and eventually opening a storefront gallery to showcase their work. Nowadays, Art Works Downtown strives to keep the heart of the area's art scene beating. The center houses 35 art studios for rent, three galleries, a caf?, a jewelers guild, a frame shop, a ceramic center, other arts organization, and 17 affordable apartments that help professional artists keep working. Aspiring artists of all ages, meanwhile, can attend classes, and art lovers can find inspiration by visiting constantly changing exhibits in four galleries.
A work of art relies on many components to maintain its integrity. Aside from the canvas and the struggle the artist went through to get Billy to stop hogging all the blue paint, the piece will require a frame to be respected as a finished product. At Ringseis Designs, the framing crew works with custom mouldings and archival techniques to protect and enhance artwork, analyzing each piece before selecting matting and frame combinations that draw attention to intended focal points. They also protect 3-D objects, protecting keepsakes in shadowboxes and preserving sports jerseys in textile cases.
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.