Nestled in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Area Discovery Museum entices 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.
The San Francisco Maritime National Park Association welcomes boating enthusiasts and history buffs alike to board antique ships—including a 1930s sloop yacht, an 1890 steamboat, and a nineteenth-century wooden-hulled scow schooner—docked at piers in and around the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. The association even lays claim to a pristine World War II submarine, the USS Pampanito, which sees more than 110,000 visitors every year and boasts National Historic Landmark status for its world-class example of maritime preservation. They've even restored and repaired the equipment inside to full operation for an immersive and realistic experience. Another huge draw is the Balclutha, a moored 1886 square-rigged tall ship with three massive masts.
The land-locked Maritime Museum, housed inside a WPA-built structure designed to look like an ocean liner, keeps the seafaring fun going with hands-on activities and exhibits that explore the city's nautical past. In addition to answering questions and helming educational programs, staff members also recruit volunteers to pitch in aboard and around the old ships, where they can learn firsthand how to care for museum pieces, practice public speaking skills, and memorize nautical terms that will help make their stories of pirate heritage way more believable.
Ripley’s 10,000-square-foot Odditorium entices families to Fisherman’s Wharf with rarity-racked galleries and interactive exhibits based on the work of Robert Ripley. Self-guide a tour through their collections of curiosities, playing tailor to a shrunken torso, arm wrestling the world’s largest sea lion, and ineffectively icing your arm with a Mona Lisa made of Rubik’s cubes. Historical artifacts such as Buck Helm’s car from the 1989 San Francisco earthquake shed peculiar light on local history, and statues of Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga constructed from candy pay tribute to Americana at large.
One of San Francisco's oldest cultural institutions, the de Young Museum has steadily expanded since it was built for the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. It now stands among the country’s most-visited public art museums. The museum's painstakingly curated permanent collections chiefly fall into three categories: more than 1,000 American paintings from the 17th through 21st centuries; international textiles and costumes; and art from the Americas, Pacific, and Africa. The staff also curates a dynamic selection of visiting exhibitions that have featured photography, sculpture, and cultural artifacts. The museum’s architecture and grounds evolve right along with the collections, as natural materials such as copper, stone, wood, and old baseball cards age against the surroundings of Golden Gate Park.
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.
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.
By day, Jerry Cimino worked in the computer industry. By night, he quietly collected memorabilia from the Beat Generation, building up little piles of photographs, letters, and first editions of literature by Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, and Jack Kerouac. Inspired by the beat poets themselves, who often traded what they had to pursue their passions, Cimino abandoned his 9-to-5 job and opened The Beat Museum. Located on the same ground that was once the epicenter for Beat activity during the 1950s, the museum hosts an ever-increasing collection of cultural ephemera and has been profiled in the Washington Post. The shelves and glass cases brim with signed editions of Allen Ginsberg's Howl, a sweat-dappled jacket worn by Jack Kerouac on his travels, and William Burroughs’s guide to perfect table manners.