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.
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.
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.
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.
The Blackhawk Museum shines the spotlight on historically significant classic automobiles, showcasing more than 90 one-of-a-kind cars from every era of driving history. Automotive archivists display jewels of internal combustion with their expansive 70,000-square-foot facility, which sprawls over two floors and four dramatically lit exhibition galleries filled with iron horses polished to a high gloss. Knowledgeable docents mill about the gleaming, custom Jaguars, Mercedes-Benzes, and Rolls Royces, ready to answer questions about engine sizes, production specs, and whether ejector seats come equipped with parachutes. The Blackhawk Museum also houses a host of rotating exhibits, including nonvehicular attractions such as Jukebox Saturday Night's nostalgia-packed collection of classic music makers. A museum store and automotive reference library complete the learning experience, filling visitors' hearts with glee, brains with knowledge, and gas-powered cats with premium conventional oil.