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Thursday, April 3, 2014

New Discoveries and Revisiting Favorites

image via google search for vintage road trip

Yesterday hubby and myself decided to go explore and make new discoveries for our daycation road trip. We got up early, got ready, filled the gas tank and headed to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. The destination within the park, the California Academy of Sciences. We had never been and wanted to see what it was all about and of course make new discoveries. Plus it had been on my list of daycations for quite some time. 

photo via google search for the location's image 

I will start off by saying it was not all that I had hoped for, being one who loves to see Dinosaur bones and dioramas with reproductions, there was none of that, though there was a nice African Hall of taxidermy animals in natural settings, that also included  live Penguins, that we managed to be there in time to see get fed.... and I did enjoy that. The bulk of the museum was taken up with the Planetarium**, of which we thoroughly enjoyed the show that they put on, it was very impressive, and quite educational, and unlike any other show I have seen at a planetarium before.  **tip get your free passes immediately upon going through the front doors. Right after, we journeyed to the roof top to see the view from up there that overlooks the park as well as the living roof  that tops the next attraction, the other largest attraction was the combo of the rain forest recreated within the building.  Several stories tall and filled with the natural plants, birds and butterflies that one would expect to see in a rain forest. It was truly beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the butterflies flit about, though I must admit that at the natural history museum in Santa Barbara Ca, there were far more of the winged beauties flitting about and I felt a little underwhelmed once again. There was exhibits about earth quakes, one on Southwestern pottery and silver, we skipped those, and headed right to the aquarium after the rain forest. I always love aquariums and find them fascinating and relaxing all at the same time. It was not a large aquarium, but it did not disappoint, it was truly beautiful and very educational to be able to see all the aquatic life that reside there. We did manage to spend several hours within the museum and had a very nice lunch at the cafe ( though a bit over priced, but to be expected, and we were in San Francisco, the food was really good)  All in all we enjoyed ourselves, though I have to say the fact that it was 29.95 each and cost us 22.00 to park ( oh and the toll to get into SF) and of course then there was the photo packet that we chose to actually purchase before leaving, I am not sure it will be some place we will visit often, though we do not regret going and as I said we did enjoy ourselves. We do plan to visit Golden Gate Park again and explore other venues there, perhaps a bit less costly and easier on our budget. I would recommend it to families however, at least once. 

Just one of four photo backgrounds the little guy in the corner *giggle* and of course the
guy with his arm around me. 
Taking a moment to enjoy the stroll back to the car... and watch a
squirrel or two *wink* 

Once we were finished at the museum, we headed across the actual Golden Gate Bridge and let the GPS guide us back to a favorite place, Bodega Bay. We had one thing in mind, a flight of wine at a little wine shop and tasting room/gift shop located there that we had gone to last August and truly enjoyed ourselves. Gourmet Au Bay, is the only bay side wine bar in Bodega and offers an amazing view from a quaint little porch. You can sip a variety of wine by the glass or go for the "wine surfing" a taste of three wines, red, white or a mix while relaxing and just soaking in the view and gentle sounds of the water lapping against the shore. We have found that it is the best way, at least for us to enjoy an hour or so on the coast and just "breathe" and let go. You can also get a cheese tray, though we did not get any this time, it was very enjoyable when we did. The prices are reasonable, the offerings are wonderful and this time around we even went home with a bottle of our favorite from our wine surf that we tasted.  We would have sat there for hours, but alas the owners were closing a bit early that day and we had showed up late, so it was decided to go revisit our next favorite in the area, and we headed to Santa Rosa for dinner. Our choice? CA' BIANCA

Relaxing in Bodega Bay 

The gardens at CA'BIANCA

We had first visited this amazing Italian Restaurant quite by accident while in the Sonoma Valley for wine tasting with friends, and have not stopped talking about it since. I shared our experience in a series of blogs about that daycation nearly two years ago ( you can find it under the labels, daycations, food, and wine). Nestled on Second Street there in Santa Rosa Ca, it is housed in a beautiful historical Victorian home, surrounded by gardens on the outside and impeccably decor inside. The service is top notch and the food is just beyond sublime! Our memories were not disappointed to say the least. It is not an inexpensive place to eat, but it is also not the most expensive, and you would not regret a single dime spent on a meal there. In fact I would drive all the way from our home here in Sacramento to Santa Rosa just to eat a meal and turn around and come home again. I know we will visit it again and again, and it was the perfect ending to a wonderful road trip/daycation adventure!! 
Enjoying a "Hugo" Sparkling Wine Cocktail 

Chicken with prosciutto and mozzarella wrapped in puff pastry,
baked to perfection.  

Roasted duck with a potato gratin that melted in my mouth! 

Chocolate flourless mousse cake, so creamy, rich and just simply

Pana Cotta .. there are no words for how sublime this is.

Now you may be wondering where all the rest of the photos from this daycation are, well I decided to hold off till the end, as well as do something a bit more interactive. I did take a few photos.. but not as many as you might expect from me, and I decided to share via short videos our day out. I hope you enjoy.  I will be sharing more over on my FB page over the next few days, so if you do not already follow me there, hope you will do so. 

The living roof top to the rain forest recreation below

The view from the roof top.

Yet to be explored ... maybe next time . Located in the area between
the Academy and the art museum. 

The rain forest dome, with it's wrap around
path as seen from the museum's second floor.

Within the rain forest, look at the top and you can see the living roof. 

This Giant Owl butterfly landed on the walkway for a

I managed to spot each of these beauties while within the dome. A few I was able to photograph and record. 

Live Sand Dollars... use to collect these as a girl growing up
near the Central Coast here in CA. 

A real live Sea Horse looking more like an alien! 

Can you tell which are the Sea Horses and which are the plant life? 

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