Here’s is all I know about the giant sundial:
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Big, isn’t it?
IMO, writer Tony Hicks has got things spot-on right here in the San Jose Mercury News:
I just took the media cruise for the new-ish “Sunset Duck Tour” from Ride the Ducks San Francisco - it starts at 7:30 PM.
Here’s Captain John:
Quacking away with people in another duck boat while passing by:
So that’s how things start in Fisherman’s Wharf. Then you begin a circuitous trip to the launch ramps down south of AT&T Park. I’ve never been up so high in an open vehicle, so this was a new experience, kind of like what I imagine the “hop-on hop-off” city bus tours are like.
So off you go, past the working part of Fisherman’s Wharf…
…past the Gary Danko (perennial No. 1 in the Bay Area for “Food, Service and Popularity” per Zagat)…
…through North Beach and on to Chinatown, where you look down upon the #30 Stocktons as you pass them by…
…and then through the tunnel to Union Square and then through SoMA to the launch area.
I gotta say that that was the touristy part of the tour, so check out Beth Spotswood’s take on that in the Tourist Trapped Culture Blog of the San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGate.com if you want more on that.
So finally you get to launch – it looks like this:
And then you’re slowly cruising the bay, albeit near to shore for the most part.
You might catch a little spray from the bay but most likely you won’t.
This riding-on-the-water part in a military-style vehicle with not all that much freeboard is an experience – I recommend it.
Then after puttering around on the water, you drive out of the water to take the Embarcadero back to the Wharf.
Interacting with happy passersby on the way home…
…while zipping past the historic F-Market streetcars:
These ducks look somewhat menacing at night, huh?
And there’s your trip:
So, you need to show up at least 15 minutes early to keep your reservation, I think.
And this tour can get quite cold and windy, needless to say.
If you want to see some more photos, there are some good ones on Yelp.
This was a great experience – I think it’d be good for tourists and locals alike.
Now here’s how the purple slides looked back in happier times, before The Attack of May 2014:
But then, sometime at the end of May, I’m guessing May 30th or May 31st, you know, the weekend, some vandal(s) (I’m guessing “young punks” or “hippies”) put a giant hole in the leftmost slide. Ouch!
So, first it was all like this…
…and then it was all like this – an even bigger hole:
But then on the following Monday (June 2nd), somebody from SFGov (DPW? RPD? SFPD?) came along and added some red DANGER tape:
And then soon after that, up went the plywood and then somebody came along and did a more permanent fix and so that’s how things look today, near the end of June.
Now I’m just assuming that the hole was the result of vandalism, but I don’t figure how else it could have happened.
(Can I blame SFGov for the hole? Nope. Not at all.)
(Can I find fault with how SFGov was/is handling the issue? Nope. Not at all.)
IMO, fixing these slides proper would be a big job, so simply getting another big old piece of plastic might be the best course of action. And that might take a while. I’m figuring a resolution by the end of July is reasonable – sorry kids.
In mitigation, the playground still has one working slide.
In the meantime, WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?
Mike Billings has the deets:
“Toddlers climbed all over the smaller River Play Area, which is designed for kids 6 months to 2 years old, while gaggles of older children scaled the nearby Polar Zone’s white structures, built for kids ages 2 through 5, and climbed through the Banyan Tree structure, constructed for kids ages 5 through 12.”
I defy you to visit and photograph this place well – sure is hard to show what it looks like. But Mark Simmons gets the job done here, with drawings.
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So what you do is check the place out on Free Day (free for San Francisco residents, that is – the next one is January 8th, 2014) and then decide if it’s worth it for you and the fam to get an annual Family Membership for $115.
If you all live close enough, it very well could be worth getting a membership just for the new playground.
See you there!
“After several years of fundraising, planning, and design, and over one year of construction, the Elinor Friend Playground at the San Francisco Zoo is ready for its grand re-opening. As part of The Americas Campaign capital campaign chaired by Dianne Taube, this $3.2 million project has been made possible in large part by the Friend Family and other generous donors. Additional naming rights within the Playground are still available at this time, totaling approximately $1 million (see the form below to help with this important project). This 36,000-square-foot, state-of-the art project is sure to ignite the imaginations of the 300,000 children of all ages and abilities who visit the Zoo each year.
The new playground is modeled after three distinct bio-regions, which take their themes from specific ecosystems and appeal to distinct age groups: a River Play Area for toddlers (6 months-2 years), a Polar Zone exploration space for pre-schoolers (2-5 years), and a Banyan Tree climbing structure for pre-teens (5-12 years). Along with striking natural forms, the architecture integrates a wide range of materials and textures in glorious detail that mimic those found in nature and encourage curiosity among young explorers. As an example, a charming frog sculpture in the River Play Area acts as a symbol of the Zoo’s mission to connect people with wildlife, inspire caring for nature, and advance conservation action. In support of this mission, a portion of the funds raised for the playground will go toward the Zoo’s Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged Frog Conservation Program. Click here for more information about this program.
Crawling through a beaver dam, sliding down an iceberg, or swinging through a tree, all children share opportunities for unique wildlife adventures, take age-appropriate risks, and immerse themselves in naturalistic environments. Each of the play structures is built with fully compliant ADA accessibility features to accommodate children with physical and mental disabilities, with a strong emphasis on exploration and adventure encouraged for all.
In partnership with the Mayor’s Office on Disability, the unique design of the Playground is the work of Scientific Art Studio, a multi-faceted design and fabrication facility located in Richmond, California. Led by Founder and Creative Director Ron Holthuysen, the Zoo’s Playground team includes artists and skilled craftspeople with experience in every material and technique imaginable, in particular reclaimed redwood tree trunks, sculptural cement composite on steel frames, woven rope, and even living vegetation. The contracting work on the project was done by Rudolph Commercial Interiors, Inc. (RCI), located in Emeryville, California.
Near the entrance to the Fisher Family Children’s Zoo and adjacent to the expansive Playfield Lawn, the Playground is located at the historic heart of the San Francisco Zoo. A natural extension of the Zoo’s Wellness Initiative, which focuses on the quality of life for all Zoo animals and visitors, the Playground will encourage movement and creativity for its guests and provide an excellent value to Zoo Members, who receive free admission each day of the year. Join today!
The Truffula Trees offered at IHOP’s brand new Lorax’s Breakfast special are actually broccoli, so consider yourself warned.
But the creamed spinach to make the eggs green, well that’s a genius move:
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See you there!
I don’t know, I’m all for safety and whatnot, but something about this Bye-Bye Buggy convoy struck me.
What is it, the orange and yellow safety vests, the orange pennant, the back-up orange pennant, the hand-held stop sign (held by a person with no authority to use a hand-held stop sign on Van Ness), and/or the flashing white LED light on said hand-held stop sign?
Crossing U. S. Route 101, aka Van Ness Avenue:
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I don’t know.
Oh wait, that’s right, it’s missing its BABY ON BOARD! sign hanging off the back. I just knew something was wrong with this scene. I’ll obtain one (or a half-dozen) and make a gift to this crew the next time I see them on McAllister or in front of City Hall.
All right, play us out of here, Helen Lovejoy.
October 16th, 2011 will be on a Sunday so I’ll prolly be breakin’ in the malls, breakin’ on the streets, natch, but you, you’ve got kids, so you should head down to SoMA for Yerba Buena Family Day 2011.
“…San Francisco’s biggest daylong family block party with free admission, special art activities and free performances for children and families at the following venues within 1 or 2 blocks of each other in the Yerba Buena arts district at 3rd Street and Mission Street in downtown San Francisco.”
That means that Target will pick up the tab when you visit the SFMOMA, the Jew Mu, the MoAD and the Children’s Creativity Museum.
Hurray! (Hey Target, why are you taking so long to open down there in Metreon? Or for that matter, Geary and Masonic. C’mon, wiki wiki.)
All right, see you and your fam there!
All the deets: