re: Marine Mammal Center- I don't think it's worth a special trip, especially since you'll be going to the Aquarium. It's a great organization, but in terms of an actual visit, there are a couple of small hands-on areas and then an observation deck where you can view the sea lions from a distance. It's not really super exciting. As Bloomwood said, the Discovery Museum is amazing, and if you're looking for something to do with the kids after Muir Woods, DM is pretty much a slam dunk. Lovely views of the bridge from there, as well.
An hour from San Francisco is extremely optimistic. I would say at least 1.5 hours for Monterey.
Yeah, I think 1.5 hours is still too optimistic. I think it's more like 2 hours without traffic. It takes me well over an hour and I'm about 45 minutes from SF. Just a general search on google maps says its around 115 miles each way.
"It's a great day for hockey!" - Badger Bob Johnson (1931 - 1991)
Maybe it's my Chicagoland lead foot I sorta figured it would be like a trip to Chicago - about 2-2.5 maybe 3 hours depending on traffic - so we're hoping to leave early and get back late. I was thinking of changing that trip to Friday, but I think i'll keep it on Thursday. We leave for home on Saturday and we'll do the Golden Gate Park then and let the girls run around.
I'm from the Chicagoland area, and traffic here just isn't like traffic there. It's weird. Also the 101 changes from an interstate style road to a 2 lane highway with cross traffic for part of the way and that makes it so.freaking.slow.
Ha, I was going to say 2 hours, but I thought I was overstating.
Chimi - I just went to Muir Woods this morning. We got there at 9:30 and there were a few spots left in the 2nd lot. By the time we left at 11, the park was packed. There are 3 easy loops you can do. We did the 1 hour ~ 1 mile loop. lots of hollowed trees to explore and pure beauty. The guy selling tix was pretty rude, he told me "just so you know, you can't take things out of the park. this is not a place for collecting" No sh!t jerk. Just because I have kids...truth be told, they had picked up a leaf off the ground but they know not to pick or take things! pissed me off.
love 04.16.02 * marriage 10.02.04
baby carriages 05.09.06 & 07.09.08
Chiming in late--but I've been to both the Marine Mammal Center and the Discovery Museum in the last few months with my kids. The MMC is great but you have to remember that it is a hospital, not an aquarium. The animals are all wild and kept away from humans. the workers there use big board/shield things to limit human interaction. There is only one viewing deck for seeing the animals, and the enclosures are not all near the deck. Also, most of the animals are very ill. They are not swimming around being cute! And you have to whisper because they are so ill. One good thing about the MMC is there is a lagoon and a beach right below, which is really fun for the kids to run around on. It's not a white sandy beach though, more like small black pebbles. Guess that trip depends on what you & the kids would be up to.
If you're there for just a day, and do Muir Woods in the morning, I'd go to the Disc. Museum instead for the afternoon. My kids had an absolute blast there.
I hope to post pictures later tonight... We got into SF on Monday and the girls and I walked around the Wharf while DH returned our rental car. Had fun just chilling for a bit and stretching our legs.
Tuesday we took the Alcatraz tour. I was worried about the girls getting bored, but they were okay. ODD (6) liked the audio tour and liked "leading" us through the jail. YDD (3) was bored, but I was able to keep her relatively occupied. After the tour they got a bit antsy, but they were okay. We got back around 1 (took the 10:30 ferry over to the rock), had a late lunch and then just chilled at our place.
Wednesday we booked a tour to Monterey. DH compared prices and it was only $10 more to go on a tour rather than rent a car for the day. We opted for $10 more and less stress. Had a blast! The girls loved the aquarium and we also did a quick stop in Carmel. That was ho hum but we did do the 17 mile drive and DH saw the lone cyprus on pebble beach so he was good. Only "bad" thing was that we didn't get back until about 10 p.m. (and left at 8:30)! YDD slept on the bus at the end. Both girls were good on the bus - we brought the iPads for them to keep occupied.
Thursday we did Muir Woods. Before we made our drive, though, we drove down Lombard Street - there was no one there so it was perfect. Headed over the bridge and got to Muir Woods before it opened! Because we were early and the visitor center wasn't opened yet, we didn't have to pay. Double bonus!! The girls were good. We did the quick 1 mile/1 hour loop. We kept them as quiet as possible. They were still talking but definitely NOT shrieking like some other kids (so at least mine weren't the worst ones there! Ha!) We put my friend's convertible top down and drove over the GG on the way back to SF with the top down. The girls loved that! We opted to go to Golden Gate park for the afternoon.
The girls were thinking park like playground and didn't understand why there was nothing to play on (even though we saw an area). DH suggested the Academy of Science, so we did that. Girls loved the aquarium and animal parts. It was okay, but I felt like we had *just* done that the day before at Monterey. But, they were happy so it worked.
Friday we were total tourists! We had breakfast at Boudin's at the Wharf. We got on the cable car at the "start" and rode it all the way to Union Square. There we jumped on a trolley back down to the wharf. We just walked Pier 39 and did some shopping. Had lunch at one of the seafood places there (clam chowder in a bread bowl - yum!) and went back to our place for a nap. Got up, went back to Pier 39 so we could finish shopping and the girls could ride the carousel. Stopped at In-n-Out for dinner and then Ghiradelli for dessert. totally low key day, and totally a great way for us to end our vacation.
We didn't do too much walking but I felt like we saw the "big" highlights that you're "supposed" to see while in San Francisco. DH had done
hey laura or anyone else,
will be in SF this weekend. it's 101 degrees today where I live, and I haven't worn anything other than flip flops or sandals since probably June. I'm planning on taking only ballet flats (other than my wedding shoes). it's not worth it to pack sandals, right? my friends up there are excited that it'll be "warm" at 72! ha! that's fall weather to me and calls for fall clothes/shoes. but i don't want to stand out as the one person in the city who is dressed for fall.
PS: Yes, I'm obsessing over packing for this trip as a whole.
You definitely won't stand out with ballet flats. I would probably still wear flip flops myself at 72 but if you would be too cold for that, then I wouldn't bother bringing sandals. Even if the high is 72, the majority of the time it will be cooler than that. I think it's going to get to the low 80s down here today and I was still freezing this morning when I walked in to work (I think it was in the upper 50s). I'm wearing jeans, ballet flats, a tank top, s/s Tshirt and 3/4 cardigan. My husband works in the city and he has worn jeans and a hoodie every day this month.
Also, I find that you see everything in the city b/c it is such a mix of tourists and non-tourists. So I wouldn't worry about being overdressed at all.