Its name may contain the word "museum," but The Tech Museum of Innovation prefers not to wallow in the past. Since its earliest days in 1978, it has exhibited the timeless principles of science while also celebrating the latest in technological achievement. In doing so, the institution inspires visitors to apply that same spirit of creative problem-solving to all aspects of life.
In 2005, Roger Castillo's dog found a bone beside the Guadalupe River. But it wasn't just any bone?it was the skull of a young Columbian mammoth. Paleontologists from UC Berkeley's Museum of Paleontology joined Roger on the scene, where they excavated a thigh bone and the pelvis of the ancient creature. The fossils were assembled into a full-scale replica of the baby mammoth, affectionately named "Lupe," and moved into the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose. This happy accident became a permanent exhibit?and created a fitting unofficial mascot for an institution celebrating curiosity and wonder.
Today, visitors can stop by the museum's Mammoth Discovery! hall to see Lupe's towering frame, housed alongside 20 other hands-on activities that spark the scientific minds of little visitors. This sense of exploration is at the core of the museum's 150 exhibits. And while it may be a while before kids discover their own extinct animals, the museum's 52,000 square feet help build foundations in math, science, and art. The colorful WaterWays room, for example, uses pulleys and tunnels to teach youngsters about the properties of rivers or flooded bathrooms, while the Kids' Garden invites them to help grow fruits and veggies. Most exhibits stay on permanent display, but the museum also hosts special exhibits and events throughout the year, such as interactive storytelling performances.
Silicon Valley. Analog computers. Artificial intelligence. The Computer History Museum chronicles the 2,000-plus year history of computing. The exhibits include a range of displays that introduce guests to ancient devices, the first computers from the 1940s and 50s, and examples of contemporary mobile computing.
During visits, interactive exhibits invite players to compete in a game of pong or relay the stories of the first computer pioneers. The online exhibits detail the history of computer chess, marketing the computer revolution, and reflect back on this day in computer history. The museum also displays a fully-functioning Charles Babbage?s first automatic computing machine?the Babbage Engine, which he designed in 1834, though it wasn?t built until more than a century later?giving visitors a rare glimpse into the evolution computing.
Underneath the stately stained-glass dome of the 1910 Old County Courthouse, tourists, locals, and history buffs stuff their brains with knowledge from interactive kiosks and thousands of books and primary sources about San Mateo County. Hands-on school programs and a wealth of exhibits educate visitors on particular aspects of the region's heritage, including the natural resources that enrich the shores and forests, and the waves of pioneers who used local raw materials to support the growth of not only San Mateo County, but San Francisco as well. The museum?s curators and archivists pride themselves on their professionalism, nabbing a coveted accreditation by the American Association of Museums, an honor claimed by only a small percentage of the nation?s museums and none of the nation?s dry cleaners.
On Sunday, February 24, runners get up at the crack of dawn to embark on a journey through downtown Niles, which begins at 7:30 a.m. The flat courses send participants snaking in and out of the bustling streets and along the lakes of the Bay Area burg. During both the half marathon and the 5K, supporters line the courses, cheering on the runners with shouts of encouragement and signs reminding them to never run from their problems. In the 12 weeks leading up to the races, a running coach from Stanford University leads free training sessions for runners of all levels. This helps athletes perfect their times so they can have something to celebrate at the finish-line party.
Helicopter pioneer Stanley Hiller Jr. founded the Hiller Aviation Museum with the future in mind, using history to inspire future generations to explore and create. He had firsthand proof of the innovative abilities of youth—his design for the first successful coaxial helicopter landed at age 19.
In the museum he established in 1998, 53,000 square feet of exhibits let visitors of all ages discover more than 40 aircraft without the dangers of encountering them in the wild. A narrated walking tour leads the way through them, tracing the history of flight from its humble beginnings in village jumping contests to today's supersonic jets. Fixed-wing and rotary aircraft designed by Hiller and others rest throughout the huge, bright space, while weekends beckon would-be pilots into a flight simulator equipped with huge monitors of bay views and realistic yokes, throttles, and pedals.