On a recent weekend, I was called into San Francisco to measure an apartment for my day job as a kitchen and bath designer. It can be a bit of a slog to make that drive into the city from our home. It is far enough that I don’t really want to drive there and back on the same day through the week so, in order to make it more fun all around, Chuck came along and we mixed a little business with pleasure by going to a few sites we had always wanted to visit but had never made the time for, until now.
You might wonder why there would be a film studio and a film museum inside a national park?! As mentioned in an earlier post, the Presidio is an interesting innovative experiment where the National Park Service has partnered with the Presidio Trust and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to find ways to operate the park and fund the upkeep of the old military history and facilities without spending taxpayer dollars. As a result, they have been leasing former military residences as residential homes, leasing hospital and warehouse structures as commercial workspaces, and operating hotels, a golf course, a campground and other venues for something like twenty years. Earlier this decade, they turned the corner on the project and it is now widely considered to be a huge innovative success in collaboration. The benefit for you and I is that there is a beautiful park on the shores of San Francisco Bay with loads of interesting things to do with the family that is self-sustaining.
But I digress. Back to our adventure. We walked from our motel to the Presidio park complex and, in short order, found the Yoda fountain. It is one of those off the beaten path, hidden gems you can go searching for the next time you are in San Francisco. Whether you are a Star Wars fan or not, it is rather fun to find so I am not going to tell you exactly where it is aside from the fact that it is in the Presidio on the Lucasfilm complex. Here is what you are looking for. Happy hunting! May the force be with you!
Next we wandered over to the Walt Disney Family Museum. To be honest, I was expecting a collection of Disney marketing much like walking through the shops at Disneyworld (my cynicism was showing) but was very pleasantly surprised to find a sophisticated and well-curated museum that got into Walt Disney’s upbringing, his role in innovating animation and technicolor, and the growth of his vision over time that consistently revolved around providing quality entertainment for the whole family. Who knew he got his start in business making jelly in Chicago?!
On the day we were there, there was a bonus exhibit of the artwork of Eyvind Earle, the lead stylist for the ‘”Sleeping Beauty” movie in 1959, as well as an exhibit showing life with Walt and his trains during the holidays at his home in California. Those may not be there when you are in town, but there is always a little something extra to take in whenever you do arrive.
Next time you have a bit of business to do in San Francisco take a couple of hours to mix in a little pleasure at the venues on the Presidio. They are worth the visit with or without the kids in tow.