San Francisco Vacation – Day 4 – 5.1.12
May 11, 2012 | Travel Photography
Day 4 of our San Francisco vacation was mainly museums and lots of walking around. We grabbed some breakfast at Cafe Mason, which seemed like the only decent place that served breakfast early in the morning. Then we took a bus to Golden Gate Park area to go to the California Academy of Sciences.
Kristen and I were looking forward to this one, because it seemed like a great museum/aquarium/planetarium and it didn’t disappoint! We headed downstairs to the Aquarium and it was a decent sized place. There was some old tortoises and alligators in the first part but couldn’t take pictures of them. Something about light sensitivity or something. This aquarium was far better than the Aquarium on the Bay just because of variety of animals they had. Plus there were penguins! Can’t beat Penguins at zoos and aquariums. Steinhart Aquarium also had tunnels that you can walk under the animals. I always love that type of stuff because it’s somewhat scary seeing giant fishes, sharks, etc. swimming over your head.
After the aquarium, Kristen and I went to the Rainforest section. It was really hot inside and neat to see all these butterflies flying around you. I guess the butterflies and insects like to escape since they make you do a pat-down before you leave. I was just imagining a big beetle on my back and I didn’t even know it haha. From the rainforest, we watched the adorable penguins being fed and then watched an interesting movie at the planetarium. It was narrated by Jodie Foster and was about life elsewhere in the galaxy.
California Academy of Sciences was great and I recommend going to that. It’s just a pain having to ride the Muni bus to get there. I guess you could drive if you have a car. We went to the Japanese tea garden after that and it was nice. It’s the oldest Japanese garden in the United States. It’s 7 dollars for admission (non-residents), and you can also pay for tea and some food. We wanted some Mochi ice cream, which was yummy of course. I got hook on that ice cream ever since I moved to Jersey City. I always need that when I order Thai food. The gardens had koi ponds, flowers, arched drum bridge (sadly this was closed because of wet paint), stepping stone paths and some other stuff.
We wanted to go to Haight Ashbury area after the gardens, so we ended up walking along the outside of Golden Gate Park to go to Haight. Kristen wanted to check out Amoeba Music, because believe it or not, she’s never been to a vinyl store before. That sentence alone makes me feel very old haha. I went into the store and remember the days I used to drive down to Vintage Vinyl in New Jersey to get some rare ska/punk CDs, 7”, etc. Now I just think the record store premise is outdated and not really relevant anymore. Not to mention overpriced. It’s nice being able to look at the large album artwork on the vinyl but I can’t stand listening to it.
Kristen and I had lunch at Magnolia Pub and Brewery; that place makes an awesome cheeseburger! After lunch, we continued down Haight and made our way to the “Painted Ladies” in Alamo Square. Honestly, I don’t know why these particular houses are special compared to ones that are right off Haight. Those were more colorful and interesting to me. Once we made it to Alamo Square, we just hung out there for a little bit and relaxed. It’s important to sit back and relax on vacation every once and awhile.
After dinner, we took a bus over to Smuggler’s Cove, which is somewhat in the Civic Center district. It’s not the best neighborhood so definitely take public transportation. The bar is hardly noticeable on the outside, and only has black windows and small white text saying the name of the place. Like in Swingers, it’s always hardest to find the really good bars.
I don’t drink but if I did and lived in SF, I would be going to Smuggler’s Cove all the time. The inside feels like Pirates of the Caribbean ride, but with awesome music. The music ranged from Caribbean to old ska/reggae to some soul/motown. The place only allows 49 people in at a time, so you’re always guaranteed a small crowd. I wish there was more places like this in New York City or Jersey City.
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Tags: 24-70mm f, alamo square, California, california academy of sciences, full house, haight ashbury, japanese tea garden, nikon d300, painted ladies, San Fran, San Francisco, SF, smuggler's cove, steinhart aquarium, travel, travel photography, vacation