Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Postcards from San Francisco: I Love The NightLife

I haven't gotten off my dead ass and uploaded my most recent batch of outfit photos, so today you're getting a Postcard From San Francisco instead. Anyway, it was high time I posted another one, right? For an explanation of what this series is about, click here. To read the other posts in the series, click here.

Despite my recent rantings about the plight of child-free women like myself, I have to admit that San Francisco is a truly fantastic place for the kidless. We're talking about a town where dogs outnumber children, and where, according to the US Census Bureau, the number of people under 18 in the city is just 14.7% (compared with 25.5% statewide). As a result, there are tons of adult-friendly things to do in the city, including plenty of the usual stuff like dining out, cool bars, live music, theater, etc. Taking the adult-exclusiveness one step further is the weekly NightLife event at the Academy of Sciences. Yes, that's right; San Francisco offers up a place every Thursday night that would normally be teeming with tots, installs a bunch of bar tables and a DJ, and turns it into an adults-only party. Booze and learning, all in one convenient location!

Note the absence of children pressed against the glass and strollers obstructing the walkway.

Laura and I attended NightLife a couple of weeks ago for our Girls' Night Out, which coincidentally normally occurs on Thursdays. The fun thing about attending anything even vaguely scientific with Laura is that she somehow considers me the foremost expert in any and all scientific disciplines, from geology to medicine. I could tell you all sorts of stories about how I've bullshitted her on a lot of subjects that in truth I know next to nothing about, but that's a post for another time. At the Academy of Sciences however, I do happen to be fairly knowledgeable about a lot of the subject matter, having studied mostly biological sciences in college. So this place is right up my alley, and Laura is easy to amuse with interesting facts about frog reproduction or stories of how starfish can regrow severed legs.

The reptiles are my favorite. The Academy has one of the most extensive herpetology collections in the world and displays several live specimens, such as these beautiful Emerald Tree Boas and "Claude," the white alligator (of whom I did not get a good picture).

This was actually the first time I've visited the Academy since it reopened in its new location. The main reason I haven't been before now? You guessed it; I feared it would be packed to the gills with kids, and according to everyone else who's been there, it normally is. But when I found out about NightLife, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to check out the place on my own terms. The museum did not disappoint; the building itself is an amazing structure and a stunning example of sustainable design, and the exhibits were beautiful. Laura and I will most certainly be back.

The rainforest, which sits atop that aquarium tunnel you saw in the first picture. From below, you can see up
through the rainforest and from above you can see people walking beneath the fish.

A turtle cruised by overhead as we stood there sipping our wine. Beats sitting in a bar any day!

One of the amazing seahorses (correction: sea dragons!) on display in the aquarium.


Tennille said...

That's not a seahorse! It's a sea dragon! They're related to seahorses but are a different species (and are probably one of my most favorite underwater critters).

That looks like a great time. How often have I wished to go to a museum or especially an aquarium and not have to deal with kids!

Eloise In NY said...

Great pictures!

adventures of a mad scientist said...

This is kick. ASS. I'll have to find out if the science center in town does something similar; that, or I'll have to come to SF again to check it out!

Sheila said...

Oh, what a great idea! I wish our museum did that - I would go more if there weren't a zillion kidlets and assorted strollers around.

Audi said...

Miss T: Thanks for the correction! Marine biology wasn't the focus of my biological studies. :-)

Anonymous said...

That sounds great. Number 17 why I need to plan a trip to SF. I love fun places that don't encourage kids so there's no crying and yelling(although the occassional break-up scene is sometimes entertaining) and I don't have apologize for bumping into a child that ran into me! (no offense moms)

Stop by a stay a while

Anonymous said...

Sea dragons are some of the COOLEST animals ever. They look positively mystical to me.

ReaderRita said...

Oh, wow, does that ever look cool. Usually, zoos and aquariums make me a little sad, but this looks awesome! What a difference the right habitat can make...hummmm, for me as well, I think....San Francisco.....???

Unknown said...

wow! I wish any of the science/art places around Austin would do something similar! I love love LOVE aquariums and that idea of having a DJ and all for an adult party is so fabulous.

PS. ahhh you're in biotech! I'm working in a biotech lab right now (antibody engineering). :)

Heather said...

I have I am not childless but I will say I do understand what you are saying :)I did like reading your post about this I could see how some people would not understand your choice... But from me you have my admiration for sure!!
My oldest son recently has just started babysitting my other children and I have been enjoying going out and being an adult again lol!! San Francisco is really an amazing city....I have been enjoying the downtown San Diego where we recently moved to and its lots of fun as well~ Great Pictures ~Heather

Audi said...

Diya: I work for a company that makes monoclonal antibodies, so I'm very familiar with antibody engineering. I'm in a bioanalytical group.

Heather: It's nice to hear from parents who can appreciate my perspective! In fact the day after the NightLife event I ran into a coworker, a mother of 3, who had also been to the aquarium the night before and went on about how nice it was to be able to enjoy the museum without having to worry about what the kids were up to and if they were having a good time. So I guess even parents need an adults-only oasis sometimes!

Catherine said...

At first I thought, "Well, of course she doesn't have kids" when I saw your comment about no kids there. Then I realized although I have kids and love kids, I do enjoy and NEED a kid-free space sometimes. I enjoy taking my kids to the GA or TN Aquariums. But wow! An aquarium without worrying about tripping over little ones sticking their noses to the glass would be just awesome!