On this very cold, foggy and windy day D. and I went to the Randall Museum, perched on the hillside of Corona Heights in San Francisco.
The museum is geared toward kids but there was a lot of really cool stuff, including a do-it-yourself earthquake set-up. You stomped or jumped on the floor and a seismometer registered the shock wave produced. What a great way for kids hopped up on sugar to blow off some steam before going to see the rest of the museum!
On the grounds outside were lots of Benny Bufano sculptures. There was a pair of seals, a huge cat, a giant rabbit looking like it was about to pounce, a mama bear and cubs, some mystery creatures (fish? ), a giant mouse, and a kitty with a piggy-back mouse, among others.
The best part was seeing the wildlife that live there due to injuries that prevent them from surviving on their own in the wild. They had all kinds of native invertebrates (insects, a working beehive, millepedes, giant water bugs, termites, mantids, etc.), reptiles and amphibians, and birds. They had crows, ravens, magpies, quail, a starling, a cedar waxwing, a bluebird, and several raptors. There was a barn owl that I thought was a stuffed specimen until I saw it blink its eye and move its head. There was a Harris's hawk tethered on a perch up near the ceiling that began screeching all of a sudden. There was an enclosure with 2 red-tailed hawks. Both were there because of severe wing injuries. They were either preening themselves or staring out their enormous window down the hillside, instinctively scanning for prey. It was really special to be so close to these magnificent creatures and know that they are being cared for so well in spite of the circumstances that put them there in the first place.
We also took a look at their greenhouse where they were raising bromeliads, ferns and carnivorous plants (pitcher plants, Venus flytraps, sundews, etc.). Somehow we got locked in, but D. found another door that led outside. As much as I like greenhouses in general, I didn't relish having to spend the night there.
As we wandered down to the museum's basement we found the Golden Gate Model Railroad Club holding a meeting. They had an impressive set-up that took up the whole room, and there was a miniature CalTrain commuter train and a freight train running while we were there.
Then we climbed up to the top of Corona Heights hill. The hill is a dramatic chert rock formation, 510 feet high, and very near the City’s geographical center. To the east are hills, downtown high-rises, and the Bay. Within the neighborhood are street trees and individual gardens; Edwardian houses, ornamented with varied architectural details, and painted in harmonious color combinations; small businesses at street level that provide services and goods for everyday needs — laundries, cleaners, coffee houses, groceries, hardware stores, etc.; and a sky normally unblemished by fog.
On a sunny days you can see nice views. Today was not sunny. Today was not even partly sunny. Today was as dark and gray and cold as winter.
So we came home and had Winter Broccoli Soup, with peppermint carob brownies and fresh figs for dessert. Yum.