Monday, September 29, 2008

Nature Lovers

We are fortunate enough to live less than a block from Golden Gate Park, our own oasis in the middle of the City. We take Maggie and Brisco over there all the time. Maggie holds the leash and Brisco pulls the wheelchair. It’s fun for all. The destination can be the conservatory of Flowers, The Rose Garden or just a walk along one of the many paths that wander through the park. Often we head for the concourse area of the Park, which is about five or six blocks away. It is the heart and soul of the Park. There are museums, the bandshell and the Japanese Tea Garden. The aboratorium is also right near there. It has alwasy been a source of enjoyment for the entire family.

For the past seven or eight years, the main concourse area in the Park has been a construction site. The City built a parking garage beneath the concourse and re-built the deYoung Museum and then the California Academy of Sciences, two excellent museums that face each other across the concourse. Steve often took Maggie over there to inspect the progress of the construction and the two would report back to me on those occasions I did not join them. They took that “inspector “role very seriously. Steve would wheel Maggie right up to the fence and they could see the guys and equipment working. The fenced off area shifted constantly as work in one area was complete. Now it looks like the two inspectors will have to find another way to amuse themselves. The work is finally completed!

On Saturday, the California Academy of Sciences re-opened. It has been closed for five years. A smaller version was opened downtown during construction of the new Academy but it wasn’t the same. The aquarium, the planeterium, African hall, the Pendulum and everything else in the The Academy belong in Golden Gate Park. Finally, it’s back.

The deYoung Museum reopened in a spectacular building a couple of years ago. Now both are complete, the parking garage is done and we can get back to enjoying the Park and particularly the Concourse in its entire splendor.

We walked over to the opening on Saturday morning. I expected it would be crowded and crazy and did not really expect to get into the Academy. When we walked out the garage door and saw cars lined up on our street looking for parking, we knew it was going to be bad. When we entered the park and saw the line extending farther than we could see, we knew it was not going to happen. One of the staff told us the line was two miles long and was already closed at 10:00AM. It did not really affect us that much; we live so close, we can go anytime we want. I felt bad for people who drove a long way to see it and be a part of the first day.

There were other booths set up in the concourse to celebrate opening day, so we spent our time at those. Maggie was able to try some solar powered toys and we looked at a new electric car that actor Ed Begley Jr. was promoting. But the highlight was an exhibit from a Nature center that was using a stuffed RACCOON to educate the kids about the wonders of nature.

The three of us were hoping it was the same critter that attacked the dog on Friday morning. Maggie thought that was hilarious. Stuffed raccoons are the BEST raccoons.
We are not very good nature lovers.

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