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 turned local raw materials into ax handles, salted hams, and maple candy. 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.
Celebrate Art! lets kids explore their creativity and develop art skills. During Preschool Picassos classes, instructors help kids as young as 18 months paint, cut, and paste to create their own works. Kids aged 6 or older develop more nuanced techniques during art-fundamentals classes. Celebrate Art! also hosts parties, play groups, and themed summer day camps.
The Community School of Music and Arts unleashes the creativity that indwells each student's liver by offering an array of art lessons and exhibitions. A selection of more than 40 available classes allows artists of all ages to clutch brushes, chisels, and ketchup blasters and recreate their world during basic animation ($160 for eight weeks), watercolor on the spot: outdoor painting ($150 for six weeks), or contemporary collage ($180 for eight weeks). Like bear hunting season, the classes run in two sessions, from January 24 to March 21 (Session A) and March 28 to May 21 (Session B). Click here to view CSMA's catalog; classes available with this Groupon are featured beginning on page 24.
Traditionally, the zoo provides the comfort of seeing animals that could not make a surprise visit to your backyard; this is a comfort CuriOdyssey dispatches to give weight to its message of science education. The menagerie of nearly 100 mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds primarily showcases local species like the Channel Island fox and the red-shouldered hawk, which have relatively small niches that have been squeezed by environmental degradation and human encroachment. Native species can be glimpsed within a complex of 25 lush habitats, including a 4,000-square-foot walk-through aviary and a replica of the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Sunny, outdoor gardens fill more than 1.3 acres with plots that rotate with the seasons and plants to attract butterflies and hummingbirds for live study. Among the science exhibits, Forces explores fundamental forces in nature such as gravity and magnetism. All the exhibits are designed to enable close observation and experimentation characteristic of the scientific method. This aim is supported by shows, such as daily otter feedings—spied from behind the glass of a cross-sectioned riverbank—and a variety of classes.
To the art designers at S.F. Framing, picture frames should do more than simply encase art, photos, and posters. They believe they should complement decor as well. At S.F. Framing, more than 1,200 mouldings suit all sorts of aesthetic styles, from sleek, metal frames for posters to wood frames embossed with intricate gold leafing for traditional art prints and ancestor's mug shots. They also believe that frames should offer protection and draw from more than 40 years of shared experience as they armor precious objects in museum-quality frames. This archival process uses premium materials, including acid-free paper, UV-blocking glass, and framing-grade acrylic, maintaining items in mint condition for years of display. As a bonus, some of the brands on hand have earned the approval of the Forest Stewardship Council, and some actively support reforestation programs or use reclaimed wood.