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Friday 7 September 2012


A few weeks back we took the girls to Curiodyssey in Coyote Point just south of San Francisco.

At Curiodyssey kids and adults alike can "Touch Science. Meet Animals" and the girls did just that.

The girls got to see plenty of creatures native to North America including possums, bobcats, turkey vultures (possibly the ugliest bird ever!), coyotes, otters, tortoises and porcupines. They were able to meet some of these up close and personal (the possum and tortoise) but most of the others were best kept behind their locked gates - I'm looking at you coyote! There was a raccoon enclosure but the furry little guys were very well hidden and we couldn't spot them. Ten months of living in America and I'm yet to see a raccoon - I'm not counting the one I saw squished on the side of the road on our drive to Sacramento!

All animals at Curiodyssey are rescue animals unable to be returned to their natural habitat. They have either been rescued after being injured or, such as in the case of the coyote, were illegal pets which have been imprinted by humans.

Ava helps Lola pat the possum gently

Hello little possum

Meeting the tortoise up close

The Coyote liked sniffing at Lola - she must smell like Roadrunner!

The girls loved watching the Otters swim about

Waiting for the Otters to swim past

North American Badger hiding in his little kennel

Hello tortoise

The Tortoise has a number plate!

Channel Island Fox


Ewwww!!! It's a turkey vulture!
Two ugly birds rolled into one!

One bobcat...

...two bobcats

A large walk through aviary houses many species of birds and is a lovely tranquil spot to have a little sit down for a while - which is until the kids get bored and want to move onto the next animal!

Looking up at the top of the aviary

So that's the "Meet Animals" part of Curiodyssey, now onto the "Touch Science" part.

Inside the main building at Curiodyssey is what I like to think of as a mini Exploratorium. Now I haven't written about our visit to the Exploratorium yet, so if you're not familiar with it just think of it as an extra large Curiodyssey minus the animals!

The girls liked playing with the gadgets in the Tinkering exhibition. There were lots of noisy hands on exhibits to play with featuring marble runs, magnetic cogs, flashing lights, pulleys, pedal powered lighting and so many other things that completely escape my mind. The girls' favourite (and the favourite of many other kids there) was a bike that plays music as you pedal. It reminded me of the "Malvern Stars on 45" segment on the Australian TV show Spicks and Specks.

I personally really liked the simplicity of the magnetic cogs. They'd make for fun fridge magnets!

Lola and Ava play with the magnetic cogs

Ava sets the balls in motion on the rolling ball sculpture

Cranking the handle to generate flashing lights

Nature plays a pretty big part in the theme at Curiodyssey and this can be seen in the Science of Nature exhibit. The girls enjoyed making vortexes, playing with fog, playing with magnets, creating "orderly orbs" and pretty much just touching everything they could get their hands on!

Lola makes "orderly orbs"

Making chaotic currents

The fog fall machine - just like being in San Francisco! 

Ava makes a vortex

The last exhibit inside the main building is Invertebrate Corner. Here there are all sorts of creepy crawlies on display, mostly Bay Area natives. The girls rushed past the Californian Blonde Tarantulas and Black Widow spiders and straight to the bee exhibit where the could witness up close the inner workings of a bee hive. A little tube connects the bee hive to the wide world outside so the bees can go out and collect pollen. Lola in particular was quite fond of this exhibit.

Lola watches the bees making their honey

Outside the main building Curiodyssey features lovely gardens with a picnic area and one last exhibit, Backyard Science. Here the girls played with an amazing water pump, listened through a giant ear, watched the sunlight make fun shapes inside a dome and splashed water on Kim and I every chance they got.

None of us could get this eye thing to work but we sure looked funny trying!

Ava turns the handle to power the water pump

Lola liked getting her hands wet!

Curiodyssey's location on Coyote Point south of San Francisco affords it some pretty nice views over the city and bay. The close proximity to San Francisco International Airport means that it's a great spot to watch the planes coming in to land if you're so inclined. Both girls enjoyed watching the planes landing although the loud engine noise was a little much for Lola.

San Francisco from Coyote Point

No zoom lens this time. San Francisco, Bay Bridge and Treasure Island

Sutro Tower in the hills

There's plenty of room for running around and picnicking outside the grounds of Curiodyssey. Ava had fun collecting sticks. Most of the trees in this area (like so much of California) are Eucalypts so we felt right at home.

Making fun with sticks

Ok, that's enough for now. Time for bed. Big day ahead.

Good night!

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