Free Family Fun in San Francisco

Secrets of Angel Island

Angel Island For thousands of years Miwok Indians came to the island to catch salmon, the Spanish named the island Isla de los Angeles, the Russians hunted otters, the Mexicans brought cattle, and etween 1910 an 1940 Chinese immigrants were detained here.

This is a great place to hike, bike, picnic, camp, play volley ball, baseball, fish or take a tour to soak in the rich but storied history. There are 13 miles of hiking trails and 8 miles of bike trails.

Angel Island is the largest Island in San Francisco Bay, located one mile south of the Tiburon Peninsula. Park Headquarters and the main visitor’s center are in Ayala Cove on the North side of the Island, accessible by commercial ferries and private boats. See www.angelisland.org for more

Muir Woods – Enchanting Forest

Muir Woods You don’t always need to trek into the wild to lose yourself in nature. Just 12 miles north of San Francisco you’ll find one of the most extraordinary natural spots on the planet: Muir Woods, which becase a national monument 100 years ago. Amid its 560 acres of ancient coast redwoods you might see coho salmon running up Redwood Creek, some 200 varieties of mushrooms emerging after the first rains, or ladybugs clustered on the fronds of a horsetail fern. You can thank philanthropist William Kent for buying and donating the land, and President Teddy Roosevelt for knowing what to do with the gift.

Explore the New California Academy of Science Museum

California Academy of Science The Academy’s recent rebuilding project provided a rare opportunity to rethink the entire museum-going experience. Rather than recreate the 12 separate structures that previously existed, the Academy chose to build a single entity that is physically and thematically intertwined.

The animals of the Steinhart Aquarium, for example, once confined to their own hall, are now found throughout the building. And the building, itself, now functions as an exhibit – inviting discussion about sustainable architecture and green practices.

One of the most notable changes to the Academy is simply the growth in its animal and plant population. The new Academy is now home to nearly 40,000 animals, more than six times the number at the old Academy.

Leafy Sea Dragons, Anaconda, Giant Octopuses, Amazonian Piranhas, Borneo fruit bats, Leaf-tailed Geckos, Tortoises, Stick Insects, Doves, Tanagers, Butterflies, and more!

Take a Chocolate Tour of San Francisco or Your Own Home Town

Take a walking tour of San Francisco’s best and famous chocolate eateries. Either do your own self-tour or take one by www.gourmetwalks.com. These tours are at 10:30am Wednesdays and Fridays and 2pm Saturdays. For your own walking tour:

  • Scharffenberger Chocolate Maker – Ferry Building Marketplace, One Ferry Building, Shop #14. 415-981-9150. Better yet, drive to Berkeley to visit their headquarters. www.scharfenberger.com
  • Recchiuti Confections – Ferry Building Marketplace, One Ferry Building, Shop #30. www.recchiuti.com
  • Fog City News – 455 Market Street. www.fogcitynews.com
  • Leonidas Fresh Belgium Chocolates – Crocker Galleria, 50 Post St. www.leonidas.com
  • Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland – 307 Sutter St. www.teuschersf.com
  • Ghirardelli Chocolate Union Squaire – 44 Stockton St. www.ghirardelli.com

Fly to the home of flight

wright brothers At the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Manteo, Norh Carolina, you and the kids can stand in the exact spot where Orville and Wilbur first flew, see full-scale reproductions of their 1902 glider and 1903 flier, and learn about the brothers through exhibitions, films, and other programs. Want more? See the original 1903 flier—and thousands of other historic artifacts—at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Or head to the other state that claims rights to the Wrights: Ohio, where the brothers cooked up their flying plans. At Carillon Historical Park in Dayton, you’ll find their original 1905 Flyer III, the only airplane designated a National Historic Landmark. Pretty soon, you’ll be quoting hydrogen balloon inventor Jacques Alexandre Cesar Charles: “I care not what may be the condition of the earth: it is the sky that is for me now.”

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