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San Francisco with a 4-Year-Old

Taking our 4-year-old grandson to San Francisco.

72 °F
View Grandkids 2019 Trip 1 on Miss Chris's travel map.

Bekki bought our youngest grandson, 4-year-old Jasper to Sun River and the plan was that we’d take him on a very short Grandkid trip. He gets quite wild with other kids so we thought it was best to just take him by himself. He’d decided that we would go to every ice cream shop in the world. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for that.

We left Saturday morning and drove, in one very long day, to San Francisco. Unfortunately, RV parks in San Francisco are not plentiful. We have stayed at the RV park at Candlestick Park when it was actually the baseball park. Now the ballpark is mostly dismantled but the RV park is still there. The RV park was jam-packed with RV’s and getting into our space, in the dark, was most difficult. Fortunately, a permanent resident who pulls a trailer every day was able to back our RV into a site for us.

We planned to spend the 1st day at the zoo. We had great memories of taking our boys there when they were young. We found that while some things have changed, many things remain the same 35 years later.

We were most disappointed with the Lion House, a large room with cages around 3 walls. When the boys were young feeding time was at 2 pm. The zookeepers would let the cats into the cages then give them fresh meat. The roars would reverberate around the room and it was both exciting and eerie. Now, probably 80% of the house is walled off. There are cages for 2 cats at the most at the front entry.

We timed our visit around the feeding time in the Lion House, visiting animals along the way. Jasper loved looking at the animals but the fun part of the Lion House was the tiger up close. A thick glass wall separated us but the tiger was very close. It was enough for a 4-year-old.


The zoo has a sculpture park that is just sculptures of animals of every sort. He climbed on the giant ant and petted the others. He had to pet and talk with each one.
We were walking along and another family asked us if we could use tickets for the carousel ride. They had more tickets than they could use. We took 3 tickets and just before we left we rode on that. Jasper chose a tiger!

Day 2 we went to the Academy of Sciences. We caught the planetarium show and Jasper tried to grasp the concept of the star nursery. He really preferred the zoo with “real animals”, but loved the aquarium and the rain forest.

We started for home tired but full of good memories but not ice cream from every shop in the world.

Posted by Miss Chris 09:56 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip travel camping living san_francisco rv family_travel rv_travel grandkids_trip rv_adventures 2007_gmc_sierra 2007_gmc_2500 san_francisco_zoo Comments (0)

A Little Work, Lots Of Play

Work then play in San Francisco

semi-overcast 70 °F

We made San Francisco, the weather was cold next to what we’d come from; 100+ in Bakersfield to high 60’s in S.F.

I made my claim meeting and laid out what would be paid for.

From the claim, we went straight to Golden Gate Park. Our goal was to have a good fast walk, getting the heart rate up, preparing for the upcoming backpacking trip, and just a good workout.IMG_201508..0656807_HDR.jpgIMG_201508..4153909_HDR.jpg

Well, Twinkle likes to smell everything along the path, so that took some time. Then I like to take photos and had the big Canon along, so that took some time. Poor Dale, always waiting!

We’d forgotten how great the park is. We found some trails up hills; we walked fast so we could get the heart rate up. Trails between ferns and flowers, trails between trees. What a wonderful park this is and we only explored a small portion.

We brought Twinkle back to the RV then went to dinner at the Russian Family Restaurant down in Redwood City. I’d found it on-line with good reviews. We drove down and found it in the center of the older section, an area revamped, full of restaurants, life and music. We found a table outdoors and ordered a bunch of Russian food: Borsch, beet salad, pickled herring. OMG, now we are ready to go off to Russia to eat. IMG_201508..0044969_HDR.jpg

So now there are hurricanes in both the Pacific and the Atlantic and I’m on vacation. How, pray tell, do I go on any kind of vacation when I could be called out at any time? So here is what I do: Packed; the work box, clipboard, flashlights, business casual pants, Crawford logo shirts, business shirts and shoes suitable for storm. If, in fact, a hurricane hits, I will buy a suitcase, pack, and buy an airplane ticket and leave. Dale will drive home, pack up the rest of the stuff and then either drive to where I’m at or fly (think Hawaii).

We are always ready to point the truck somewhere else, always have a contingency plan, or can make one up on the spot. The sign of a catastrophe adjuster who loves to travel!!!

Posted by Miss Chris 09:12 Archived in USA Tagged food nature walking travel san_francisco rv outdoors golden_gate_park Comments (0)

Exploring the Exploratorium

A visit to the Exploratorium in San Francisco

After getting adults off to the Fancy Foods we piled the kids in the truck and were off to Lucas Films then the Exploratorium.

We had planned to eat lunch with Clayton at Lucas Films but he got busy with work so we just did a little walking and visiting. Fortunately we’d brought plenty of food so we were able to have a picnic.

We got to the Exploratorium and for those of you who are thinking of visiting, across the street to the north is a parking lot, maybe a 5 minute walk. When we were there it was free. We found a picnic table close by and set out our food, fed kids then off to the Exploratorium.

The Exploratorium is in what was the Palace of Fine Arts; it is an old building from a World’s Fair many years ago. The Exploratorium will be moving so you will want to check the location to make sure.

It is filled with everything hands-on for kids of every age. The 2-3 year olds loved running around with the light strips on the floor, running their hands thru the sand experiments and making lights go off and on.

I really enjoyed being with the 4 year old. He realized that there was a cause and effect so that cranking a wheel caused an umbrella to go up, air out of a pump caused balls to stay in the air at different levels depending on the amount of air. So much of the time he has to stop this or that, or he turns knobs just to turn knobs. He got so excited and would call “Grandma come see”. I loved the excitement in seeing the effects of what he did.

Our 11 year old, on the other hand, was not so enthusiastic. Her comment to mom was “machines were mostly broken”. She did little and had little interest other than guiding the 2 and 3 year olds around. It was quite disappointing but then you can’t make a person like something.

The 13 year old enjoyed the older kids’ experiments. I didn’t find out his favorites or impressions, but then he is 13 and at that age you just hope that things work out.

We were lucky at the RV park, guys had decided that they really didn’t need to stay for Wed, but the RV park said that we could leave the RV there until 6pm and they’d refund the difference. Most parks won’t refund anything so we were quite happy with that.

Posted by Miss Chris 18:01 Archived in USA Tagged travel family san_francisco family_travel grandkids exploratorium Comments (0)

San Francisco with Grandkids

Visiting the Aquarium/Natural History and Planetarium

overcast 50 °F

We got to the RV park by about 10:30 last night, Justin and boys asleep on the dinette and Camillo asleep on the couch. The night security met us at the gate and gave us a site but said it would cost $96 to camp, cash. The RV manager had not mentioned that we needed cash but fortunately we had nearly enough and our son had $20 so we paid up.

This morning the office found that the night security had charged too much so refunded some money. Fortunately we’d had enough otherwise we would have had to go find a bank for cash only to have overpaid. So it is the perils of travel.

We got out a bottle of Pipestone wine, some cheeses, set our picnic out on our bed and had a little midnight snack.

Today we took the 5 kids to the “California Academy of Science” which is comprised of the aquarium, natural history and planetarium. It is a little costly but worth it for a day of interesting play. We got into the building by about 11:00 and with only ½ our lunch we walked all day until about 3pm.

We started with the aquarium then stopped for a quick lunch. After lunch Dale took the 2 older kids to the planetarium program. There are no kids 3 and under allowed in the program and under 6 are discouraged. I took the little kids back to the aquarium to see the rest of the fish. The tide pool fish thrilled the grandkids just like our own kids so many years ago.

The natural history area is not large, much smaller than I remember, but maybe we missed an area too, we were getting tired by then. Kids loved the Lions and the Zebras. The natural history area consists of both stuffed animals and live in different exhibits of course. Kids loved the stuffed lions and Zebra’s, but also loved the live penguin exhibits, penguins swam right at their eye level.

We had to make one stop at the museum store. I forgot our 4 year old grandsons clothes and our 13 year old forgot his clothes. I bought them some clean t-shirts. Also we started buying some birthday presents for the 2 year old whose birthday is Tues. We planned to have a party at the Zoo but we will just get the presents instead.

When we got done kids were tired. They slept on the way back to the RV but didn’t sleep long; they will go down soon.

Posted by Miss Chris 22:02 Archived in USA Tagged family san_francisco aquarium family_travel grandkids Comments (0)

Ready for San Francisco

Taking the Grandkids to San Francisco for a 3 day weekend

We have 3 days in San Francisco, well mostly 3 days. So Monday we will eat lunch with our middle son at Lucas Films cafeteria in Marin, then we will want to leave as early as we can on Tues so another short day there.

There are 3 things that top the list of to do’s with grandkids: 1. Zoo, 2. Exploratorium, 3. Aquarium/Natural History/Planetarium. 3 things in 3 days.

I looked up the 3 different things; hours opened and cost. Aquarium/combo is the most expensive by far and probably has more available for all 5 kids. This would be smart to do for the day we have the most time. So for a heads up, there is a $5. Per ticket charge for those tickets purchased at the door during prime times, MLK being one of them. You can purchase the tickets on-line for no extra charge and they are good for any one-time visit, which is what we did. We will pick up our tickets at the kiosk on Sunday. We will split up for a little while when Dale takes the older kids to the Planetarium, kids younger than 6 are discouraged and younger than 3 are not allowed so they will stay with me while we visit the things they like.

We will go to the Exploratorium on Monday afternoon after lunch. This will likely have most fun stuff for the older kids but not so much for younger. I think that we will split up a little here, although we can sit and have coffee while kids go on their own. We’ve been here before and the place isn’t so large that bigger kids can’t go on their own.

On Tues the plan is to go to the zoo. We will want to start for home before it is too late but we will stay for the Lion House feeding. If you haven’t experienced it before it is really an amazing experience. At least I hope it is still going. I’ll blog about it if it is still going.

So we leave tomorrow afternoon. RV is nearly packed. We will pick the adults up tomorrow afternoon and head on up the road.

Posted by Miss Chris 22:04 Archived in USA Tagged travel family san_francisco rv family_travel grandkids Comments (0)

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