Neil had Friday off from school, so we drove up to the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, from which we’d tried twice to visit earlier, only to find out, upon arrival, that the museum was closed. Despite the long drive, the Bay Area Discovery Museum is a cute little museum in a particularly scenic setting, in the Marin Headlands, just at the foot of the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, and in revived buildings from the decommissioned Fort Baker military base.
Understandably, and quite appropriately, half the buildings have an ocean theme, such as identifying the different sands and why they differ at Marin and San Francisco beaches, and making waves. Here Neil is “swimming” underneath some waves while Kelly looks on:
One of the bigger buildings has artsy projects, and Kelly happily painted and squeeged the windows while Neil engaged another boy into turning a pile of blocks into a fort. But my favorite part of the museum is its largest outdoor playground, which manages to combine beach discovery, bridge construction and exploring the Marin headlands into one child-friendly experience. Neil tried (unsuccessfully) to complete construction the play Golden Gate Bridge with the provided “struts” and “rivets.” Another boy joined him, and Kelly put on a hard hat and supervised (that is, yelled at) them. However, when the boys ignored her, Kelly resorted to other construction work and digging for treasure in the sunken Spanish galleon:
When discovered how impossible it was to complete his Golden Gate Bridge, we all went over to explore the wicker maze and nests on the far end of the playground. Eventually, we climbed up the small hill to a mysterious hidden playground, where Neil and Kelly swung on hammock-like nets:
As the museum was about to close, I took Kelly to the “Tot Spot” which Neil is too tall to go into. Neil went off to revisit some of the other places, but Kelly barely went into the Tot Spot. She ended up playing a xylophone in front of it, while two indulgent staffers turned her banging into a kiddie concert by singing “The Wheels on the Bus,” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb” along it.
On the way home, I was so startled that the bridge toll collector just waved me through (apparently we qualified as a carpool during rush hours, and thus didn’t have to pay the $5 toll) that I took the wrong freeway and ended up driving through half of San Francisco on 101 (i.e. Van Ness). It added at least 1/2 hour to our drive home, but we did spot signs for a new exhibit at the Exploratorium, so we’ll probably be headed up there on Monday.