Celebrate National Park Week: Fee FREE Days. April 22-26, 2013


Celebrate National Park Week: Fee FREE Days. April 22-26, 2013

For National Park Week 2013, get free admission to all National Parks. April 22-26, 2013


Hiking Mt. Tamalpais’ East Peak

Yesterday we hiked the East Peak of Mt. Tamalpais. Weather couldn’t be better, warm 70 degrees. It was a clear day perfect to enjoy the most stunning 360-degree views of the Bay Area. Just a beautiful spring day!

We drove up to the East Peak of Mt Tam. We took Highway 101 to the Stinson Beach exit and followed the signs to Mount Tamalpais–East Peak. As you drive up to the top you’ll see stunning views of San Francisco and the Bay Area and if you roll down the windows you’ll catch the eucalyptus and pine aromas.  It is a very curvy road, our dog got pretty dizzy and we had to stop for her to get some mountain fresh air.

Mount Tamalpais

There are two main trails. You can hike up to the Fire Lookout on the Plank Walk Trail or walk on the Verna Dunshee Trail. We did both of them since there are short.

First we took the Plank Walk Trail up to the to the 2,571-foot East Peak fire lookout station at the very top of the mountain. It is a .3 miles hike that starts with a wooden boardwalk and continue with a steep rocky path for more experienced hikers and older kids.

Mount Tamalpais

Stunning views!!! I felt at the top of the world!!! 🙂

Mount Tamalpais

Once we finished the Plank Walk Trail we then walked the Verna Dunshee Trail.
Mount Tamalpais

The Verna Dunshee starts in front of the restrooms. You can easily see the sign. This is an easy, 0.7 mile paved trail that loops around the East Peak of Mount Tamalpais. No bikes are permitted on the paved trail but you can bring a bike lock and leave your bike in the designed areas. This trail is accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.
Even though it is an easy path keep an eye on your small children at all times since some areas are not fenced and there is wildlife around.

Mount Tamalpais
There are benches available through the trail.  From the viewing platform on a clear day you can view the Farallons Islands out to sea, the Marin County hills, Mount Diablo, San Francisco, and the hills and cities of the bay.

Mount Tamalpais

Friends of Mt Tam: http://www.friendsofmttam.org/
California Parks Website: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=471

From Highway 101 take the Highway 1–Stinson Beach exit and follow the signs to Mount Tamalpais–East Peak..

Hours: The park is generally open 7am – Sunset.
Fees: There’s an $8 ($7 for seniors) per car parking fee at the summit parking lot. Bring some cash.

Magic at The Walt Disney Family Museum

The stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the 19th-century red brick building in the beautiful grounds of the historic Presidio makes The Walt Disney Family Museum a magical place to visit.

Visiting Walt Disney Museum in the Presidio - San Francisco

The Walt Disney Family Museum opened October 1st, 2009 and is becoming one of the must-see places in San Francisco. The museum was co-founded by Diane Disney Miller, eldest daughter of Walt Disney, and grandson, Walter E.D. Miller. The articles on display tell you the story about the man behind the name in an attempt to preserve his legacy.

The Walt Disney Family Museum is a different experience from Disneyland. The Museum is owned and operated by the Walt Disney Family Foundation, a non-profit foundation completely separate from the Disney Corporation.
Visiting Walt Disney Museum in the Presidio - San Francisco

This dynamic museum will tell you the story about the life of Walt Disney, the man. This is a great opportunity to know Walt Disney through 10 permanent detailed galleries arranged in chronological order with his personal family films, photographs, family artifacts and his original artwork.

Kids will enjoy several of the interactive exhibits, but there will be long lulls where most young children can get bored or tired. The tour takes a few hours with a lot of reading information. I think Gallery 9 is the most child-friendly spot since it has the Disney model train and 169-square-foot model of “the Disneyland of Walt’s imagination”.

Visiting Walt Disney Museum in the Presidio - San Francisco

If you have younger kids and don’t want to enter the galleries’ tour you can always check the lobby area of the museum for free.  It offers an amazing collection of Walt Disney’s inspiring awards and honors. Disney still holds the records for most Oscar wins by an individual (32, including special and technical awards) and for most Oscar nominations, 59. You can also eat at the charming museum café, and shop at the museum store which features a wide selection of Disney books, gifts, home decorations, collectibles, books and toys.

Visiting Walt Disney Museum in the Presidio - San Francisco

Address: 104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA
Website: http://www.waltdisney.org/
Hours: The museum is open from 10-6 daily except for Tuesdays when it’s closed.
The museum is also closed on select major holidays.
Prices are $20 for adults.
Seniors (over 65) and Student (with valid ID) $15
Child (ages 6-17) $12 – Under age 6 (complimentary with adult admission)

See in Google Maps >

After visiting the museum, you can explore the Presidio, check the Lucasfilm “Yoda Fountain” at the Presidio just three minutes from the museum or even take the short walk over to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Just for the fun on it….Can you find my “Rat Terrier” in the picture? 😉

Visiting Walt Disney Museum in the Presidio - San Francisco

Visiting Walt Disney Museum in the Presidio - San Francisco

Visiting the Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito!

Looking what to do on a rainy day? Yesterday, we visited the Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito. We have been there before but this was our first time after last year’s re-opening. The renovation project took 2-years and $15.5 million dollars in improvements.

Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito

The Bay Model (1.5 acre model ) was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1950’s. Until about ten years ago this 3-dimensional hydraulic model allowed scientists and researchers to test water quality issues, to study how water flows through San Francisco Bay and Delta and also to simulate the effects of everything from oil spills to upstream dams and from water diversions to floods caused by global warming. Now these calculations are done by one computer and the model is used for educational purposes.

Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito

Inside the main building you will find stunningly beautiful hand-painted murals, a short introductory video, interactive reading rails and displays, phone banks with information in English and multiple other languages. We did a self-guided tour but ranger guided tours are available for groups with advanced reservations and can be tailored to the technical level of the group. Tours  are approximately 1-½ hours in length and it is preferably to call three weeks in advance.  You can also do a pre-recorded audio tour if you pay three dollars each.

Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito

Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito

The Bay Model offers a great opportunity to learn about the geography, topography, ecology, and the human and natural history of the San Francisco Bay and Delta.

Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito

Lots of hands-on activities. Science is Fun!!!

Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito

There’s a small gift shop in the visitor center that sells books, maps and toys.There’s no food available but you can bring your own lunch/snack and eat on the picnic tables in front of the building.

2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965
Website: http://www.spn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/BayModelVisitorCenter.aspx
Winter Hours: Tuesdays – Saturdays 9am – 4pm. Closed Sundays & Mondays
Admission to the Bay Model is FREE  (Donations Welcome). FREE Parking.

See in Google Maps >

Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito

After our visit to the Bay Model Visitor Center we explored the beautiful Sausalito waterfront and had lunch and coffee at the Taste of Roma Café. Delicious coffee, tasty lunch, friendly service, and you can bring your dog to the outside seating. 😉

Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito

The Bay Model Visitor Center in Sausalito is the only one of its kind in the world. This is definitely one hidden gem in Marin!!!!

Enjoy the April showers!!!

The Pet Cemetery, a treasured spot in the Presidio

Walking in the Presidio we found a small hidden treasure underneath the reconstructed Doyle Drive/Presidio Parkway: The Pet Cemetery.


This half-acre cemetery is currently closed to the public.  It is surrounded by construction fencing to protect it during the reconstruction of Doyle Drive.

I took a peek through the fence and tried to take a few snapshots. You can see white wooden grave markers with handwritten lines commemorating Mr. Iguana, Trouble, Bun Bun the bunny, Happy the Water Spaniel and Willie the hamster. Some markers also include international birthplaces like China, England, Australia, and Germany, others include family names and military owners’ ranks.



The pet cemetery has 420 headstones and dates back to the 1950′s and is the final resting place for hundreds of loyal and precious animals who shared years of devotion and unconditional love to some of the 2,000 military families that were stationed at the Presidio.

Mostly all the animals buried were dogs and cats but also parakeets, canaries, pigeons, macaws, rabbits, hamsters, rats, lizards, goldfish, and mice.

Pet Cementery - Presidio, San Francisco

The pet cemetery, has been designated by the State of California as an environmentally sensitive area as well as an important cultural landmark. I hope the cemetery reopens soon.
Pet Cementery - Presidio, San Francisco

Pet Cementery - Presidio - San Francisco
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. – Mahatma Gandhi
Pet Cementery - Presidio - San Francisco
…so true…Do you agree?

McDowell Ave & Crissy Field Ave
San Francisco, California 94129

See in Google Maps >