Those seeking inspiration for their next bestselling historical conspiracy potboiler starring Marisa Tomei will appreciate today's Groupon: one adult admission to The Da Vinci Experience at the San Diego Air & Space Museum for $12 (normally $24.75). Admission is good for both the exhibit and the museum. This might be your family's last opportunity to experience the Experience before it closes permanently on January 3, 2010 or you relocate to Atlanta for the 2010-11 Hawks season.
The Da Vinci Experience is the result of 50 years of Florentine artisans poring over Leonardo da Vinci's notes and drawings in an attempt to faithfully recreate his many inventions using only materials available in 15th-century Italy such as idle peasants, fresco scaffolding, and codpieces. They've managed to create 11 full-sized models and more than 60 functional models that da Vinci designed for transportation, military, and mechanical usage. You and your budding da Vincis get to figure out how they work by playing with the many interactive models.
Also on display are 12 reproductions of the archetypal Renaissance man's artwork. A short film offers an unblinding glimpse into da Vinci's blinding brilliance, his perfectionism, and the endearingly human motives for his inventions (money, status, smiles from enigmatic women with mannish ear lobes, etc.).
Along with the Da Vinci Experience, you're free to explore the museum's permanent collection of antique aircraft, motion simulators, and flight simulators. Check out the Apollo 9, the space shuttle that launched in 1969 to test the Lunar Module that would later take a crew to the moon's surface.
The Da Vinci Experience is a perfect outing to escape the treachery of shopping for holiday gifts or bridal showers taking place during the holidays. Expect to leave the museum humbled that da Vinci's equivalent of brain-gaffe (a functional design for a helicopter) still tops the most creative thought most people will have in a lifetime of thought.
Yelpers give the San Diego Air & Space Museum four stars:
- Best thing to see in San Diego... A great experience! – Lana G.
What You Didn't Know: da Vinci
The brilliant artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci has been subject to numerous biographies, but there's still much we don't know about the quintessential Renaissance man:
- He didn't paint the Mona Lisa. He took her picture.
- He grew his famous beard in a charity beard-growing event, "Beard-vember," to raise awareness of horse-trampling.
- If you stare it at long enough, the terrifying, eight-limbed figure in da Vinci's Vitruvian Man will become real and marry your sister.
- The statue of da Vinci at the Uffizi comes alive at night, though with the personality of actor Barry Bostwick.
- His so-called "code" is actually just a complicated brownie recipe.
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2001 Pan American Plaza
San Diego, California 92101Get Directions