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Friday, December 30, 2011

A day in San Francisco...

We spent a day in San Francisco by Pier 39 to take the kids to some place local and have some fun..

Turned out to be a great idea. So far our SFO trips have covered the usual Golden Gate bridge, Crooked street and end with Ice cream at Ghirardelli's..

There have been some deviations in the past to the tour guide routine but for once we decided to explore things we have walked or driven past. In other words get to smell the roses a bit, which was kind of a theme in the family over the last few days.

So off we went to visit the COIT tower..

The base of the tower has some amazing murals. Not posting the pictures of the murals here because they make some money selling prints. Guess that is why they have a sign that says "no flash or tripods"..

We had a nice home cooked packed lunch in our Van and went on towards Ghiardelli's, except this time we parked and went to the Maritime museum lobby and walked along the beach to see the different vessels docked at Hyde Street Pier.

The kids had fun getting on the various vessels. It was a world they had never been exposed to. It was so much fun watching their eyes widen as they read the displays and watched informational videos two levels below the deck of a cargo vessel..

There were great views of Alcatraz and Embarcadero from the ships.

The masts were majestic and we were simply awe struck by the fact that these ships with triple masts have survived the test of time and have been preserved for such a long time.

It was also fun watching the little one trying to steer the ship one handle at a time. The ship was just swaying a few feet and she wanted to control it!

It was also interesting to see how prices have changed over time!

Then we went on our walk to enjoy those things on the sidewalk and displays we usually rush past because we are on a deadline to head back to San Jose..

First we stopped at a window where a couple of bakers were doing a display..

What a display ! Truly magnificent piece of bread! They also had starfish, turtles and crab shaped bread pieces which were very impressive.

The little one had fun interacting with the guys painted in silver and dressed as robots.

We walked by the Hard Rock Cafe and past the Christmas tree at the end of the pier and went to see the Aquarium. The entry tickets were a bit steep but thanks to a AAA discount we decided to go for it. After all it was our "smell the roses" day!

The aquarium was actually worth it. Three levels of well maintained displays with more than 20,000 fishes and marine animals. It was like a compact version of the Monterey bay aquarium which also had two glass tunnels, one for shallow water fish and one for fish at deeper waters in the bay.

The last room was kind of weird. It wasn't exactly related to fishes but was about conservation and sponsored by Pacific Gas and Electric.

They had hedgehogs and

turtles and

Chinchillas which apparently poop 200 times a day. They don't look much but their display cage had more poop than food which amused the kids..

Then it was time to return to Ghirardelli's to have some ice cream and hot chocolate before returning to San Jose...

We started and ended the routine the same way but the detour was wonderful.

Next time we go there are a whole bunch of Art galleries, a Wax museum, a Ripley's Believe it or Not show , etc. etc. and we might just do another one of these wander around trips about a place that we have grown to love over the years!


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