Quick: talk about river otters. Here are a few to get you started: they're members of the weasel family, they can swim at speeds reaching 7 miles per hour, and a group of them is known, tellingly, as a romp. The keepers at Aquarium of the Bay have spent months studying these sorts of facts and figures, studiously preparing for the arrival of their brand-new residents. In Otters: Watershed Ambassadors, these river kings and queens get some well-earned attention, with exhibits tracing everything from their daily habits to their conservation status.
The otters aren't alone, of course. The 50,000 square foot facility houses three main exhibit areas devoted entirely to marine life native to San Francisco Bay. These include Under the Bay, where Moon Jellies float amidst ambient lighting inside a 725-gallon cylinder tank. They share the exhibit with two tunnel tanks, which provide a undersea view of giant Pacific octopuses, spiny dogfish, swirling schools of anchovies, and the sevengill shark, the largest shark native to the bay. Visitors eager to put their other senses to work can head over to the aquarium's touch pools, where their fingertips can graze juvenile bay rats, leopard sharks, and sea stars.
Though not included in this Groupon and membership, guided tours escort guests through all of the aquarium's highlights, while daily programs enrich visits with interactive presentations in the Bay Lab—the aquarium's land animal area—including feeding shows. Over in the Bay Theater, 3D films and award-winning documentaries examine subjects such as shark species and marine conservation, while magician Timothy Noonan's 75-minute interactive show blends family-friendly comedy with illusions such as pulling a whale out of a hat.
Richard Bothwell has hiked Mount Kilimanjaro, scaled Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, and surfed the waves of four continents. But perhaps his greatest feat was establishing the Outdoor Adventure Club in 1996, where he leads others in conquering nature's challenges. He and a staff of seasoned outdoors enthusiasts escort visitors of all fitness and experience levels in local excursions and international vacations, all centered on exploring the great outdoors. On the local level, the guides lead rock-climbing classes at Castle Rock State Park in addition to hiking, backpacking, whitewater-rafting, kayaking, and skydiving excursions. International adventure vacations expose folks to surfing in Costa Rica, rafting in Patagonia, and mountaineering in Peru. The expeditions marry the camaraderie of a social club with the expertise of professional guides, who are each trained in emergency wilderness care in case of squirrel attacks.
The next time you're on the roof of a five-story building, look down at the ground, and you'll get a rough idea of just how high people climb at Touchstone Climbing. The gym's seven locations feature lead walls that rise as high as 50 feet off the ground, though height isn't the only dimension that makes the space feel immense. Each spot has at least 11,000 square feet of climbing terrain, not to mention as much as 3,000 square feet of bouldering.
To prevent newcomers from feeling intimidated by the magnitude of the environment, the gym holds introductory classes. During these sessions, participants learn the basic techniques they'll need if they want to conquer the gym's crack systems and boulder problems. The classes are also an opportunity for students to scope out the terrain features at each location, such as Diablo Rock Gym's steep prow, which juts out crookedly like a thumbs up from a dizzy ballerina. While they're at it, the visitors might notice something else: the social nature of the gym. As the San Francisco Chronicle recounts, the fact that lead climbs require two people means that climbers are constantly asking around for new partners and chatting back and forth as they ascend.
Each location also boasts a weight room, cardio machines, and a studio space for everything from yoga to spinning to core classes.
Running on a treadmill may be a good way to stay in shape, but it doesn't grant sweeping views of the San Francisco skyline or rejuvenating whiffs of sea air. That's where Tiburon by the Bay Half Marathon comes in. The inaugural race cuts through approximately 13.1 miles of picturesque landscape, rewarding runners with breathtaking glimpses of the Bay Area as they breeze past verdant hills, rocky shores, and row-boating dolphins toward the finish line. The race also benefits several charities, including the ALS Therapy Development Institute, an organization that develops pharmaceuticals to combat the neurodegenerative disease.
Anheuser-Busch's Beermaster Tour regales guests with an edifying excursion behind the scenes of the brewery's charming, picturesque facilities. View secretive master sudsmiths as they frolic in their natural brewhouse habitat, and savor the hearty bouquet of the hop room, which brims with the scents of the powerful flowers. The fermentation cellar and packaging facility reveal the early stages of a magical life cycle, similar to watching a nest of panda eggs hatch. At tour’s end, guests can soothe their flabbergasted faces with a sample directly from the finishing tank before receiving souvenirs and keepsakes. Brimming with an immense array of seasonal and newfangled brews, the hospitality room showcases Anheuser-Busch's frothy masterpieces, poured out by the brewery's famously intelligent clydesdales. Summer tours take place Monday through Saturday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (with an additional 12 p.m. tour on Saturday). Winter tours take place Tuesday through Saturday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The three-day event brings together chiropractors, Pilates practitioners, nutritionists, health-food retailers, Klingon linguists, and other experts of well-being for a no-holds-barred royal rumble of health and fitness. Free samples and massages abound, as do cooking demonstrations, interactive fitness classes, informative lectures, and more. There are 80–100 booths and vendors in all, many of which are listed here. The air flowing throughout the exposition is so rich with vigor that merely attending the event is rumored to extend a human lifespan by an hour or more.