Jackie Link's Blog

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Trip to the Academy

I got up really early and took two buses to the California Academy of Science for my first visit. I was meeting Kinji and Diego for Free Day. Because I didn't want to work up a sweat, nor wear cleated shoes all day, I didn't ride a bike, sort of a first. And it was really cold with frost in the grass in Golden Gate Park. I got there 20 minutes early and there was already a long, long line, and it was really hard to stand around in the cold. Once it opened at 9:30, the line moved inside very quickly. My first task was to get the tickets for the planetarium - that took nearly an hour, and then, using our cell phones to locate each other, I met my friends.

We dutifully went to most exhibits, though most were difficult to see beyond the many visitors. We didn't even try for the rain forests or the insects upstairs. We had a nice lunch in the cafe. The planetarium show was O.K., but I miss the old city silhouetted skyline and the cranky old machine; it was so warm and cozy, and this one is very cold (wear a coat).

Diego had me snap this photo of him alongside Homo neanderthalensis.

Claude, the albino alligator, appears to have been in a fight, either with his lady friend or the alligator snapping turtle sharing their swamp.

We were glad we went on free day, though, because we all felt the much ballyhooed new building to be unfortunate and I probably won't pay to go back. Just the usual new hyper-annotations with none of the old, richly textured ambience. Yeah, I know the old Academy was funky, sometimes even smelly, and had to be replaced for a lot of reasons. It seemed ten times bigger, no, a hundred times bigger, with so much more to see - and you didn't have to read signs, it was just cool visually, anywhere you looked. But this new one. I've seen better Safeway's.

It's like the de Young: I really, really wanted to like both these new buildings but neither one works for me. I know this makes me sound set in my old ways. So be it.

The living roof was nice.

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