Friday, August 31, 2012

San Francisco - The City Pass

I had two days of just my little girly and I walking around the city and then another day and a half exploring with both Benson and Abby.

I took my time, made no plans and just did what I could and it was SO much fun. I got to see so much of the city. San Francisco is definitely a city you need to visit more than once because there is just so much to see and do, but I was very happy with what I got accomplished and loved going at my own pace and watch Abby enjoy her first trip to a big city.

Abby and I rode the Bart subway line from downtown Berkeley into the city every morning and the first stop I got off on the first day put me right in front of the UN building which is a gorgeous building but a rather shady part of town. We caught a bus and took it down to the Exploratorium and Palace of Fine arts. The settings getting on the bus at the Civic Center and off in the Presidio couldn't have been more different. For all the shadiness of the Civic Center area, the Presidio is well kept and full of gorgeous homes. When I turned the corner and saw the fine arts palace I was amazed at the beautiful architecture.



Abby loves ducks so we of course had to sit at a bench near the pond and watch them swim around. We even saw a seagull eating a jellyfish from the bay which is only a couple blocks away. After our little rest, we headed over to the Exploratorium where I bought a city pass and we looked around the museum. The Exploratorium is everything I'd ever want from a science center. The building it is in currently is essentially a large warehouse that is chock full of "experiments" you can participate in. Everything is hands on, and there is so much to explore. The workshops where the displays are developed is set up in the middle with windows all around so you can watch them developing future exhibits. Of course, it was just Abby and I so I didn't get to participate in all they had going on, but we had a lot of fun doing what we could and watching others do what we couldn't. 


Next we headed down to Pier 39 to go on a Bay Cruise and see the Bay Aquarium since those were included in the city pass. Both were enjoyable, but personally, I would have been fine skipping either one and probably won't do either again on another trip. The aquarium is fairly small and I've been to others I liked better (Omaha Zoo and Birch Aquarium in SoCal as well as the Science Academy in SF) but Abby liked watching the fish swim around the tanks so it was definitely enjoyable. It was fun to ride around the bay on the bay cruise but I would have preferred getting a similar ride as well as a tour of Alcatraz - but the Alcatraz  tours were sold out the week I was there so the bay cruise was my alternate option.



All of that excitement was enough for one day for Abby - and my body was tired of carrying around her and a backpack so we headed back to Berkeley to have dinner and relax at the hotel.


The next morning we headed out again to finish up the sites from the city pass which were the Academy of Sciences and the Museum of Modern Art. The fact that I didn't take one picture this whole day is a testament to how tired I was carrying an extra 25lbs and walking around several miles two days in a row, but it was a really fun day. We rode the Bart into SF again getting off in the Mission District this time because it is an area I knew I wanted to see, then we caught a city bus that took us right down Haight Street so we could see Haight Ashbury and all the sites near there from the comfort of a bus. We got off at the bus at Golden Gate park which is where the California Academy of Sciences is located. This museum was awesome and included an aquarium, a 'swamp' complete with an alligator, and four story indoor rainforest and a "living roof". Golden Gate Park is a gorgeous place to walk around as well and there is a botanical garden, rose garden and Japanese Tea Garden all very near the Science Academy.

We then caught a bus over to SFMOMA which took us into the financial district. I really enjoyed this whole area, as it felt like a real big city (very much like the financial district in NY). The museum itself again wasn't my favorite, but I don't love art museums that much anyway unless there is a particular exhibit I am interested in. I did love seeing original works from Picasso and Matisse as well as the Cindy Sherman  collection of portraits.

Since I had finished all of the activities on my City Pass and would have another day and a half to explore the city with Benson, I headed back to Berkeley after the MOMA and concluded a fun two days in the city by the bay.

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