Italian Street Painting Marin returns to downtown San Rafael June 29 & 30, 2013!

If you enjoy outdoor family festivals, music, cuisine and wonderful art, the Italian Street Painting Marin is the perfect combination of all of it. This colorful festival turns the streets in front of the Mission San Rafael Arcángel (Fifth & A streets) into a 30,000-foot huge concrete canvas. It is one of the largest chalk drawing festival in the country and have brought millions of visitors since 1994 to downtown San Rafael. (located just 25 minutes north of San Francisco)

This wonderful event is returning with a new name: “Italian Street Painting Marin”, formerly known as “The Youth in Arts Italian Street Painting Festival”. which was cancelled in 2011 due to insufficiency of funding. Luckily it is back thanks to the efforts of Sue and Joe Carlomagno residents of Mill Valley and now we can appreciated the roads of San Rafael transformed into breathtaking masterpieces again!!!

Italian Street Painting Festival

Below is one of my favorite work of art at the festival back in 2008. “JULIET” (Olivia Hussey/1958) by Artist Cuong Nguyen. I remember coming back about 10 times to see how this talented artist progressed during the day 🙂 Since I have a little one I usually go to the festival on Sunday to appreciate the finished pieces of art but Saturday is the official “Family Day” and it is less crowded.

Italian Street Painting Festival

This cow piece by Allison Snopek was my daughter’s favorite in 2010.

Italian Street Painting Festival

My daughter always enjoys becoming a street painter (known as Madonnari in Italian).  For $10 children up to 12-year old are welcome to design their own street paintings at “Children’s Avenue”. A 2’x2’ square and a box of chalk are provided. Lots of fun!!! By far, they are the most valuable pieces of art! 😉

Italian Street Painting Festival

Fifth & A streets are renamed Via Leonardo & Via Michelangelo for the weekend!

Italian Street Painting Festival

Website: https://italianstreetpaintingmarin.org/

Location: Italian Street Painting Marin is held in downtown San Rafael – Fifth & A streets near Mission St. Raphael.

Dates: June 29 & 30, 2013, Saturday 10-7pm – Sunday 10-6pm

Tickets: Adults and children 13 and older: $5 – Children 12 and under: Free.

A great way to spend an afternoon of art, music and Italian food!!!  I’ll be there, come find me and say hello.

Have a Smiley Day!!!

Victoria 😉

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The new home of the Exploratorium at the Embarcadero

The Exploratorium science museum, reopened its doors last month at Pier 15 at the Embarcadero. Built of a cost of $300 million, this waterfront facility is three times larger than the original museum located at the Palace of Fine Arts. The 330,000-square foot has more than 600 interactive exhibits offering a great opportunity to interact and learn through playing, touching, exploring and thinking.

The Exploratorium new home at the Embarcadero

This is the perfect place for everybody….from families with children of all ages, teens, parents, grandparents and even your dog! Yes, it is a pet friendly museum!!! They don’t mention it on the website but we saw a few dogs there and we confirmed it with the staff.

The Exploratorium is divided into six different main galleries and each gallery explores a different area. 1) The West Gallery focuses on “human phenomena” and experiment with thoughts, feelings, and social behavior. The popular Tactile Dome, an interactive excursion through total darkness will be open this summer.  2) The Central Gallery focuses on “Seeing & Listening” and experiment with light and vision, sound and hearing, and motion and spatial perception. 3) The East Gallery focuses on “Living Systems,” and investigate the living world.

One of my favorite exhibit in the East Gallery is a large supercomputer placed in a “social” table which shows you microscopy life in the world oceans by placing a lens disc on top of an interactive map “magnifying” the view.
The Exploratorium new home at the Embarcadero

4) The South Gallery “Tinkering” is the gallery that gives you the chance to slow down and make something! Kids were fascinating doing scribbling machines using everyday objects, motors, batteries and wires. 5) The Outdoor Gallery highlights a combination of large and small exhibits, art installations, and public programs. 6) The one new building on the pier is the Bay Observatory Gallery. This all-glass gallery focuses on landscape observation and offers a 360-degree beautiful views of the city and the bay.

The Exploratorium new home at the Embarcadero

It is difficult to see everything in just one day, we actually ended up buying the museum membership and will come back to continue the fun!

There are two dining areas at the museum. The Seismic Joint Café and the SeaGlass Restaurant in the Bay Observatory. You can also bring your own lunch and there are some local vendor food carts on the outdoor plaza.

We really had fun at the Fog Bridge created by Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya. It is a 150-foot-long pedestrian bridge with high-pressure nozzles that cover the bridge with fog and mist. The fog operates every half hour and you can walk through the fog. We heard the night time lights add a surreal atmosphere to this exhibition.

The Exploratorium new home at the Embarcadero

Location: Pier 15, San Francisco, CA 94111 See in Google Maps >

Hours: Tuesday – Friday – Saturday – Sunday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Wednesday 10:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m. Thursday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; open 6:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m. for ages 18+. Closed Monday except for certain holidays

Admission is $25: Adults (18–64), $19: Youth (6–17), college students, teachers, seniors (65+), people with disabilities. FREE: Children ages 5 and younger and members.
If you live in one of the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties, you qualify for special rates.

Website: http://www.exploratorium.edu/

Have you been in the Exploratorium? I would like to hear what is your favorite exhibition 🙂

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

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

Directions:
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.
Cost:
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.

Location:
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.

pet_cementery_presidio01

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.

pet_cementery_presidio02

pet_cementery_presidio03

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?

Location:
McDowell Ave & Crissy Field Ave
San Francisco, California 94129
Websitehttp://www.nps.gov/prsf/historyculture/pet-cemetery.htm

See in Google Maps >