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.
Oakland Zoo was first established in 1922, but it didn’t find its permanent home until 1939, when it was thoughtfully constructed amid the rolling hills of Knowland Park. Today, Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 animals, who thrive in biomes designed to mimic their natural environments.
The sprawling African savannah is one of the zoo’s largest habitats, housing hyenas, zebras, elephants, and giraffes. The centerpiece is a 1.5-acre lion exhibit called Simba Pori, which translates to lion county in Swahili. Inside, a pride of lions freely roam an enclosure outfitted with kopje rock structures, a pond, and a booth where the king can sign autographs.
Over in the rainforest habitat, chimpanzees and white-handed gibbons swing through the treetops. Emus and wallaroos—a cousin of the wallaby and the kangaroo—roam freely in the Wild Australia exhibit, accessible via one of the zoo’s rides, Outback Express Adventure Train. Other rides include the Endangered Species Carousel and Sky Ride, a chairlift that soars above the habitats and offers Bay Area skyline views.
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.
Enhanced by 360-degree CGI projections surrounding a circular stage, J.M. Barrie's production of Peter Pan promises kid-thrilling action and an adult-pleasing retelling of the classic story. Stage-watchers view the more than two-hour production from tiered seats in the show's special Threesixty Theatre, allowing multifaceted actors to use extra faces to full effect. A talented cast enacts the parts of Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Tinker Bell with panache, and puppeteers manipulate a lifelike model of the original clock-hungry crocodile. This show is not recommended for children 5 or younger.
The Burlingame Museum of PEZ Memorabilia celebrates iconic candy packaging with its exhibit of PEZ dispensers, featuring the plastic disembodied heads of animals, cartoon characters, comic-book heroes, and more. With two tickets ($3 each), you and a friend can peruse recent additions to the exhibit, including wistfully philosophical Peanuts PEZ dispensers from 2000 and a Mary Poppins dispenser from the 1960s that has been appraised as practically perfect in every way. Other confection-spouting dispensers feature likenesses of Mickey Mouse, Batman, Santa Claus, and beloved comic-book super-heroine Betsy Ross. In addition to pint-sized PEZ packaging, the museum also houses the world’s largest PEZ-dispensing machine, standing nearly eight feet tall, weighing 85 pounds, and capable of storing numerous PEZ candies or UFO-related secrets.