The blog for inspired travel with children

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The San Francisco Bay Model

After spending an afternoon in San Francisco, we drove north across the Golden Gate Bridge and spent an hour at the amazing Bay Model Vistor Center - a working model of the entire bay water system and much of the Sacramento River Delta. The model was built by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1956-57 to demonstrate what would happen if the South Bay were dammed and infilled (as had been proposed).  Using simulated tidal action the Corps were able to prove that the results would be disastrous - the plan was, thankfully, shelved.  

The model (which is still owned and maintained by the Corps) is still in good shape and is admission is free.  It is well worth a visit with your kids.  The model is enormous (over 1.5 acres), and you can wander around the whole thing. "Tides" go in and out every 14 minutes, and water flows through the delta, into the bay, and out through the miniature Golden Gate. 

In addition to the model, there are displays on the history of Bay Area watercraft, the Marin Shipyard, World War II generally, and the modern workings of the bay.  Lots of models and artifacts and maps and other interesting stuff!

A model of the Marin Shipyard as it looked during World War II; the square building just left of center is where the Bay Model is housed today.

The view from outside the Model, looking towards Tiburon

If your children are reasonably calm and patient, try to squeeze in a visit to the Heath Ceramics store, which is also in Sausalito.  They make the most beautiful ceramics, and sell lots of other beautiful housewares too.  In the back, they sell seconds at a good discount (often it's hard to tell what the "problem" is).  When we visited, there was a little wooden playhouse in the courtyard outside the shop, making it easy to tag team (it's not the most child-friendly shop, unless your child is very good at keeping their hands to themselves).

If you still have time, there is another beautiful little store in Mill Valley (a few minutes north on Highway 101) called Mint.  It's tiny but carefully stocked with the most beautiful things for children and grown-ups…  When we visited, the proprietor seemed delighted with my son trying out various display toys.  Right down the street you'll find The Depot Bookstore and Cafe, which is not in itself stellar, but is a good spot for taking a break - the kids can play in the square out back while you sip your cappuccino on the back patio.

No comments:

Post a Comment