Stanford University has the distinction of being one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the entire United States. U.S. News & World Reports ranks Stanford number 5 of all national universities, placing it in the elite company of Princeton, Harvard and Yale.
Stanford University also has the distinction of having the largest campus. Located about 30 miles from San Francisco, the 8,180 acre campus is so large that it spans six jurisdictions including Palo Alto, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Menlo Park, Woodside and Portola Valley.
Set in the Silicon Valley, surrounded by foothills, small mountains and the East Bay, the beautiful campus features Romanesque and Mission architecture. Students and visitors alike can drive along the 46 miles of roads, cycle along the extensive network of bike paths or just walk amongst the lush foliage are more than 43,000 trees.
Area residents from San Francisco and Santa Clara to Mountain View and Menlo Park, often find their way to the campus to spend a few hours or even the entire day. You do not have to be a student or a professor to find fun things to do at Stanford University. If you are visiting Silicon Valley or the San Francisco Bay Area, you owe it to yourself to make the short trip to the University. Following are some of the many fun things you can do at Stanford University.
A great place to begin your visit is from the top of the tallest structure on campus. Once the elevator doors open to the observation deck, you will be able to see for miles in every direction. The panoramic views are breathtaking. You will get an idea of the vast size of the campus as you look down over the structures and out to the foothills off in the distance. To get an even more fulfilling experience, take advantage of the free student-guided tours at Hoover Tower.
Your guide will show and tell you about the sights you can see and some of the most popular points of interest. Named after our 31st President, Herbert Hoover, a former student at the university, the Tower is a landmark in Palo Alto. It is part of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. A carillon of 48 bells that were cast in Belgium and installed in 1941, helps to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Stanford University. The largest of the bells bears the inscription “For Peace Alone Do I Ring.”
Stanford Memorial Church
Of all the structures standing on the grounds of the university, none is more beautiful than the Stanford Memorial Church. Located in the heart of the campus, the church was built back in 1903 in honor of the founder, Leland Stanford. The beautiful Romanesque architecture includes a mosaic of scenes from the Bible as well as impressive stained glass work. The church still holds regular services and welcomes visitors to come and explore the art and architecture. Guided tours are offered each Friday as well as on the last Sunday of the month.
As one of the most impressive university museums in the country, the Cantor Arts Center is always bristling with visitors. The museum boasts a permanent art collection of more than 32,000 works and has a number of exhibits that are displayed throughout the year. The 24 galleries feature works from the permanent collection as well as a number of temporary exhibitions.
Running now through January 5, 2014, is the work of a nationally recognized contemporary artist and photographer.Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of photography and Video. encapsulates the American Experience on issues such as race, gender and class. This thought-provoking retrospective is a must see. From Stanford, the national tour continues with a showing at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
Flesh and Metal: Body and Machine in Early 20th Century Art features 74 works from major European and American artists including Salvador Dali, Margaret Bourke-White and Piet Mondrian. On loan from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, this exhibit will make you think about creative artists who developed their own unique style in the art community.
Family Sundays are scheduled throughout the entire 2014 calendar year. You and your children will have fun taking a family tour and getting to experience art hands-on. Enjoy a Sunday of art filled with story telling, book readings and movie screenings.
You can not go to the Cantor Arts Center without taking a walk through the Rodin Sculpture Garden and Galleries. The outdoor Garden includes 20 impressive bronze sculptures by the Master and there are three indoor galleries that display more of Rodin’s work.
Enjoy a fabulous day of culture both inside and outside of the museum. Admission is free at the Cantor Art Center.
Built in the 1930’s as the home of Jean and Paul Hanna, the Hanna-Honeycomb House is a fine example of the design of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Self-guided tours are available, but, due to the great interest in seeing the house, you do need to submit a tour registration form at least six weeks in advance of your visit.
Collegiate sports are a large part of the University’s overall appeal. Football is always a popular spectator event and, depending upon the time of the year, you can enjoy baseball, basketball, track and field gymnastics and a host of other sporting competitions.
A day on the Stanford University campus is always fun no matter what you do. It is a treasured part of the Silicon Valley that welcomes visitors from near and far. You can walk around the grounds on a nice cool day in January or stay inside at the Cantor Art Center on a rainy day in early May. Have lunch, ride a bike, say hello to some of the students.
You may be well beyond your school years to apply for admission as a student, but you are never too old to enjoy the many fun and free things offered to everyone who visits the campus.
*Photos Courtesy (museum.stanford.edu)
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Explore the natural habitat in and around Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay area in ways you have never seen it before. A diverse calendar of animal and nature-oriented events this winter season provides family fun and education for all ages. Inspire your kids to learn and explore with a wide variety of adventurous events and learning opportunities from the multiple education and research centers located around the Silicon Valley.
1) Lindsay Wildlife Museum – Meet An Animal Keeper - Holidays
Inspire your children’s love of animals and encourage their dreams with Lindsay Wildlife Museum’s special Meet An Animal Keeper event. This fascinating live animal presentation begins at 3:15 on December 29, allowing your kids to get up close and personal with the Museum’s Animal Ambassadors, while also letting them ask questions about the animals and enquiries regarding their care. This special presentation lets your kids learn firsthand from Museum experts about what it is like to provide the comfort and care that the unique Animal Ambassadors require, and it offers an inspiring behind the scenes peek into the Wildlife Museum.
2) Crab Cove Visitor Center – Free Holiday Open House - During Christmas
With a memorable free event that is both educational and entertaining, the Crab Cove Visitor Center opens its doors on December 26, from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM for a holiday Open House that shows kids and adults the beauty and importance of the San Francisco Bay ecosystem. This special open house event includes crafts, games, and gifts. Planned activities include fish feeding, low tide exploration, and a chance to meet a snake and a turtle native to this diverse habitat. The 800-gallon aquarium system at the Visitor Center offers a spectacular up close view of the marine life present in the bay, and the educational exhibits emphasize the importance of preserving the delicate food chains and ecosystems that these amazing creatures depend upon to survive. The preservation efforts at Crab Cove allow for a natural and unspoiled environment that you and your kids will not find anywhere else.
Join the holiday celebration on December 7th at the Oakland Zoo with a special musical presentation performed by California Revels, a Silicon Valley live theater group established in 1986. Starting at 1:00 PM, this interactive and community-building live theater event brings multiple cultures and traditions together in a unique participatory holiday celebration for all ages. Inspire your kids’ sense of wonder and enjoy this magical revel free of charge with regular Zoo admission rates for a memorable and musical day out.
4) Oakland Zoo – ZooCamp Daytime Workshop for the whole family vacation
Starting November 25 and running through the 27th, the Oakland Zoo’s ZooCamp Daytime Workshop offers three wild days full of adventure and exploration for children K-5. This action-packed day camp at the Zoo lets kids learn about animals and the natural world in fun, silly and immersive ways, for an unforgettable educational experience. Each day is different, ensuring a fascinating new adventure every day. Fees are $55 a day for members and $60 for non-members, and registration is required.
Open on November 24, The Marine Mammal Center’s stunning free art exhibit, The Ghost Below, illustrates in shocking detail the effect that trash and ocean refuse can have on marine wildlife. Artists Judith and Richard Lang present a visual demonstration of the ocean’s beauty and fragility that was an entire year in the making. Inspired by and partially built from 450 pounds of fishing net garbage found in the stomach of one unfortunate dead sperm whale, this eye-opening art installation includes interactive exhibits to show the delicate balance of the ocean ecosystem surrounding the Silicon Valley, and ultimately bears a message of hope for a future where trash is reduced, reused and recycled for a cleaner and safer ocean environment.
Experience the fascinating and enigmatic world of insects like never before with the unique Big Bugs exhibit, open to the public at the San Francisco Zoo. This creative and interactive exhibit allows you and your kids to view normally tiny insects as larger than life sculptures that highlight the intricate and often beautiful details of different species of insects that go unnoticed all around us. Examine the scales of a giant butterfly wing, the compound eye of a dragonfly magnified 400 times, and many other small miracles at this unique and educational exhibit.
Celebrate food and farming traditions with Slide Ranch’s Family Farm days. On November 23rd from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, help celebrate the Give Thanks To Food event and learn where bread comes from and how it is made, from seeds to flour to fresh baked loaves with Slide Ranch’s homemade butter. Children can see the working ranch and learn about food culture and traditions around the world. This family fun event is $30 per person, with a family rate of $95 for families of 4 or more, and kids 2 and under can participate for free!
8) Ravenswood Open Space Preserve – Free Explorer Hike: Go Where Few Have Gone Before
Nature hikes are a great way to spend time with your children and encourage their love of the great outdoors. On November 20 from 10:30 to 1:30, docents Dennis Smith, Laura Levin, and Lynn Jackson provide an expert guided tour of the historical recovering northern section of the Preserve, offering a unique perspective on preservation efforts of this natural habitat. This leisurely two-mile hike is perfect for older and active kids, and it provides a great learning experience about the importance of environmental restoration.
The Silicon Valley and surrounding areas offer many unique opportunities for experiencing and learning about the natural flora and fauna in the environment we share. The wide array of family events available this season makes it easy to create lasting and educational memories with children of all ages, while inspiring and fostering a lifelong love of animals and learning.
- Bay Area in December: Holiday Fun for the Entire Family (hmghotelsblog.com)
- Bay Area Science Festival: Robot ‘zoo’ brings together kids, ‘bots (mercurynews.com)
- Photo Gallery: Coyotes Raising Kids in San Francisco (baynature.org)
Who doesn’t like Mexican food? It’s spicy, fatty and dripping with cheese! Who doesn’t want tortilla chips smothered with queso sauce or a fried chimicanga covered with guacamole? Who doesn’t want a rich chorizo sausage burrito or a deep friend chile relleno? Oh, by even reading these words, our taste buds want to get out a sombrero and dance to mariachi music. If we’re watching what we’re eating, or if we’re counting calories or if, sadly, we’re on doctor’s order to shed a few pounds, we may have to say adios to a few of our favorite Mexican dishes. Or do we?
Is it possible to have healthy substitutes for some of our favorite Mexican dishes? Can you keep authenticity and still enjoy the rich tastes while cutting back on the fat and starch?
Si! It is possible!
Go easy on the chips and salsa. The salsa is fine! Most salsas, picante and pico de gallo sauces are perfect for the calorie conscious. These appetizers are mostly chopped tomatoes, chiles, bell peppers, cilantro, onions, lemon juice and spices. Theoretically, you could eat a gallon of this deliciousness and still be healthy. Unfortunately, it’s awfully hard to eat your salsa without chips. Tortilla chips are usually not good for the waistline. If your favorite Mexican restaurant serves complimentary chips and salsa before the meal. Make an effort to only eat a few — a cup of chips can have approximately 300 calories and 10 grams of fat.
Be skeptical of salads. Many times your favorite taco salad is a fried tortilla bowl with lettuce, meat, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and other South of the Border goodies in it. Often it’s an easy choice because it’s a salad — it’s supposed to be healthy, right? Nope. A taco salad, in the shell, could be over 500 calories and have over 26 grams of fat. Despite the name, a traditional taco salad is not a healthy choice.
Say no to sour cream. A cup of this gooey goodness is 445 calories and has 45 grams of fat! If you choose sour cream chicken enchiladas, dripping in that amazing sauce, that is one fatty, unhealthy dish. Your heart will love you more if you choose the fajitas instead — grilled meat and vegetables with only a dollop or two of sour cream on top (and lots and lots of salsa!)
Pass on the queso. Ask for shredded cheese if you must have cheese at all. Cheese may be one of the harder temptations to resist. Think of your health! Perhaps a small side dish of queso for those chips instead of a large plate of nachos would be a healthier choice.
Go grilled or baked and avoid fried. Chimichangas, quesadillas, chile rellenos and some other dishes are fried and as a result, their calorie count goes way up. But a baked burrito and grilled fajitas are not. It is possible to have a delicious, hearty Mexican meal, combining all your favorite tastes, while avoiding the problem of fried foods.
Be skeptical of beans. Refried beans often contain lard! While this does add to their rich texture and traditional flavor, ordinary cooked beans would be a better choice. Ask your server at your restaurant if there is a substitute for refried beans.
Pick restaurants that provide nutritional information. The more you know about what in your favorite dishes, the wiser your choice can be. Call and ask. Do an internet search. Make a plan ahead of time what you will and will not eat and then stick to your plan.
Or, make your own! Mexican food is not difficult to make. If you can fry an egg, you can sauté chicken in a touch of oil with onions and peppers. If you can chop an onion, then you can chop cilantro, onions and garlic to mix with diced tomatoes to make a delicious salsa. Plain yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream. Warm canned pinto beans to substitute refried beans. Buy brown rice and mix in a bit of salsa for a flavorful and healthy substitute. Buy baked chips or cut tortillas into wedges and bake them for a few minutes in the oven. The money you save by making your own Mexican foods can go toward your new wardrobe.
Mexican food has many rich flavors. The garlic, cumin and chiles can raise our metabolism. The beans and rice combine to make complex proteins. Fresh, well-made salsa has few calories and is full of antioxidants. Lovers of Mexican cuisine who need to make healthy choice need not avoid it altogether. With a bit of knowledge and skill, their heart healthy and waistline-friendly Mexican fiesta can be just as delicious as what they’re used to.
- Tastes from South of the Border: Six Mexican Restaurants to Try in Anaheim (hmghotelsblog.com)
- Food Tour: 8 Must-Try Restaurants in Southeast L.A. County (kcet.org)
- Eating Out and Losing Weight: Make Healthier Choices at a Mexican Restaurant (weightloss.answers.com)
The unique 52,000 square foot building opened back in June of 1990. Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple was the largest private donor that helped turn the dream of building a world-class children’s museum into a reality. In recognition of the community-minded Wozniak’s generosity, the official address of the museum is 180 Woz Way in San Jose.Since the first youngsters passed through the doors more than 20 years ago, more than 5,000,000 people have visited the Children’s Discovery Museum. So, what makes this place so popular?
The Children’s Discovery Museum appeals to children of all ages. There are plenty of opportunities for children to explore and learn new things. Pre-school kids get to crawl and climb. Curious teens can use science and math to discover what makes things work. Kids around nine or ten can show Mom and Dad what they learned in school and just how smart they are.
Many of the exhibits are self-directed which means that each child is free to use his or her creativity to explore the exhibit. Where one child might want to feel and touch the rough surface of a particular display, another might find the best way to appreciate the display is by lying on their back and looking at it from a different perspective.
A friendly and talented staff also helps make the museum very functional and fun. There are some more organized activities where a child can focus on completing a task that helps them learn something new.
Bubbles always seem to fascinate young children. There is an area where you can blow big, soapy bubbles that float up in the air and then disappear. What makes them burst?
At Current Connections, you can use your own power to learn how electricity is generated and then converted to energy. A recently opened exhibit called the Secrets of Circles, will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about the shape that competes with the square and triangle for worldwide popularity.
Step outside into the Kid’s Garden and help plant the seeds and tend the crops so they will be ready to be harvested. As one of the most popular interactive experiences, the staff teaches proper gardening techniques every day, weather permitting.
One thing you can say for sure is that you will never be bored. If you like to paint, draw and create, there is something for you. If you are a budding scientist, there is ample opportunity to explore.
If you get hungry, you can stop by the Kid’s Café and fill up on some very reasonably priced food. Wash it all down with a nice cold beverage. Before you leave, make sure to stop at the gift shop. You can buy a cute little porcupine hand puppet, a giant fire truck floor puzzle and many other unique items. Sales at the gift shop help support the Children’s Discovery Museum.
If you are on vacation with your family, or live in Silicon Valley, this is a fun place to spend a few hours. Your kids will get to burn off some of that stored up energy and you will enjoy watching their eyes light-up as they make a fascinating discovery.
- Tours and Sightseeing in Silicon Valley (hmghotelsblog.com)
- Things to do in January 2014 in Santa Clara: South Bay Home & Garden Show (peoplelovesanfrancisco.wordpress.com)
- Kids Explore the World Through Science Photography at San Jose’s Children’s Discovery Museum (blogs.kqed.org)
The Japanese diet is arguably the healthiest one in the entire world not only because of the actual content of the food itself but also the way each meal is served. Let’s see why The Japanese diet takes the cake when it comes to the tremendous health benefits it provides.
Photo courtesy: funkydowntown.com
Because the Japanese culture adheres to a mostly plant-based diet, both vegetarians and vegans are in heaven when they discover their diet. But more than this, by consuming much less meat, they also are extracting as many health benefits from their food as will be explained below. Most of their diet consists of fish, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as brown rice.
They tend to invariably stay away from consuming food such as red meat, poultry, junk food, baked food that’s high in saturated fat, sugar, and a lot of salt. It’s this extreme attention to the specific individual food groups that they eat that makes their diet so very healthy especially when nearly everything they’re eating is tremendously nutritious as well and also takes fantastic.
The reason the Japanese and other adherents to their diet have been eating the way they do for so many decades and even centuries is because not only are their food choices extremely healthy and nutritious but they’re able to eat it daily because they include a tremendously wide variety.
Even though they rarely include lots of any eggs or whole dairy in their daily meals, the substantive variety of every type of fruit and vegetable imaginable, as well as lean legumes(beans, and the complete protein that contains all nine essential amino acids that they obtain by eating both saltwater and freshwater fish is a huge amount of food to choose from.
So they never get bored. They never feel like they’re eating the same meal every day. Their taste buds are always delighted because the taste pleasure is so overwhelmingly delicious. In addition, the incredible assortment of condiments, soups, sauces and herbs provide even more incredible taste sensations.
Low Caloric Intake
The Japanese diet is also amazingly healthy because due to the very foods that they consume being extremely high in both fiber and water(vegetables, fruits and legumes), they feel full in a very short period of time right after they start eating. So they consume far fewer calories per day than Americans do. Moreover, they serve each meal in small portions and on exotic, colorful tableware. These little portions lessen the very low-calorie total of one of their meals.
The Japanese rarely become obese due directly to their outstanding eating habits. Moreover, they have a significantly lower incidence of major diseases such as hypertension, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and coronary heart disease. Few Japanese adults get heart attacks or strokes since their major arteries to both their brains and hearts rarely get blocked and clogged with plaque.
Having open heart bypass surgery due to coronary heart disease is practically unheard of in Japan. And they don’t really exercise that much more than Americans either so it simply has to be their fabulous diet.
Proven Health Improvements From The Diet
While the Japanese who have been eating this diet all their lives rarely suffer from the aforementioned major diseases, it’s also a proven fact that when denizens of other cultures start eating this way, the state of their overall health skyrocket. They lose weight quickly.
Their levels of fats in the blood dramatically diminish and many Americans can literally reverse their heart disease simply by transitioning to the astonishing nutritional and medical powers of the Japanese diet. There’s truly nothing their diet can’t possibly do to substantially improve nearly all types of bodily sickness short of cancer. These insights should be very useful to any American who’s considering switching to the Japanese diet. It’s easy. It’s inexpensive and it definitely works.
- A Taste of the East: Three Japanese Restaurants to Try in Anaheim (hmghotelsblog.com)
- Stay Healthy by Cooking Food Japanese Way (explorejapanblog.wordpress.com)
- Tips for Additional Life Longevity with Japanese Diet (ireport.cnn.com)
Places to visit
1. Pier 39.
Although there are many active piers in San Francisco, Pier 39 continues to be one of the most popular for tourists. With shops, restaurants and more, Pier 39 is always busy with people looking to get their first taste of the city. The sea lions are often visible, lounging on the nearby wharf. There is also an aquarium featuring creatures from the bay and a historic carousel.
2. The Golden Gate Bridge.
There are few things more iconic than the Golden Gate Bridge. This massive suspension bridge spans over the bay and has been named one of the wonders of the modern world. Built in the 1930s, this impressive structure remains a defining feature of the city. While it can be time-consuming to cross the bridge on some days, it is worth finding a good view. Two of the most popular spots include South Vista Point and Fort Point. Some people also choose to walk or bike across the bridge, which is a good alternative during rush hour.
3. Ghiardelli Square.
Located near Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghiardelli Square is a historical gathering point in the city. The square is often crowded thanks to the popular eateries and shops that call the area home. The square is named for the D. Ghirardelli Company, which produces delectable chocolate and is still located in the square today. There is also a fountain and a clock tower, and Ghiardelli Square is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
4. Alcatraz Island.
Although most people come to the city for leisure, that has not always been the case. Alcatraz Island is situated just off the coast and was used historically to house some of the most notorious criminals in America. Due to the cost of operating the facility, Alcatraz was shuttered as a prison in the 1960s. After that, the island was abandoned until it was used by Native Americans during a protest. Eventually, Alcatraz was declared a historic landmark and now operates tours for guests.
5. Hippie Quarter.
To start off a day about the city, be sure to try Mama’s. Located on Washington Square, Mama’s commands huge crowds every day it is open. Some of the most popular menu items include French toast and eggs Benedict. Mama’s has been open for over 50 years and continues to cater to the crowds with hearty meals that are both familiar and unexpected. In addition to the menu for breakfast and lunch, there is also a popular bake shop located in the restaurant featuring a wide range of baked goods.
For a midday break, try the Rotunda at Neiman Marcus. This quintessential eatery is a high-end treat, but many guests find the experience worthwhile. Not only is the dining room immaculate, but the food is expertly prepared and diligently served. More than all that, the ambiance is impossible to beat. The restaurant is located at the top of the building, giving diners a view of the exquisite glass dome. The dining area also features a view of the atrium, which looks down four floors over the rest of the building.
Tea is not considered an American pastime, but tea rooms are easy to find in San Francisco. When looking for things to do during a visit, trying tea time can be a nice treat. While there is ample information about many tea rooms in the area, one of the best places to start is Lovejoy’s. Lovejoy’s strives to be cozy and eclectic, featuring mismatched decor and homemade touches. There is a full range of options to consider for tea, including bottomless pots, sandwiches, fruit and more.
Here are a few of Silicon Valley’s most popular Irish pubs:
O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub
At O’Flaherty’s, you’ll find an authentic a bit of old Ireland; in fact, it’s so authentic, a number of regular patrons are Irish-born themselves. Located in downtown San Jose, O’Flaherty’s is the No. 1 seller of Guinness in all of Silicon Valley, largely due to the fact that it serves Guinness on draft, which you can’t always find in other pubs. This, plus the pub’s authentic-styled ambiance, is probably also the reason that O’Flaherty’s was chosen to host the Irish rugby team during its recent visit to California. If you’re craving dark wood walls, brass rails and draft Guinness, then you’ll find everything you crave at O’Flaherty’s.
The Duke of Edinburgh
As one of the oldest pubs in Silicon Valley, the Duke of Edinburgh also offers a truly authentic experience that literally includes its four walls. That’s because its entrepreneurs ordered the pub to be built-in England in 1983, after which the pieces were exported to Oakland in a container ship and reconstructed in Cupertino. Everything from the ceiling and walls to the carpeting on the floor is from England.
The Duke of Edinburgh is a warm and friendly place, but according to its loyal regulars, it’s not a youth-oriented party pub where youngsters can get rip-roaring drunk and try to pick up dates all night. Instead, it’s a place to meet and talk, have darts games and watch soccer games on television.
Martins West Gastropub
If you want to combine your Irish pub experience with a bit of authentic Old Country fare, then you can’t do better than to visit Martins West Gastropub, where you’ll find a menu that includes bona fide pub dishes such as black pudding and Scottish eggs. Martins is modeled after another Martins, located in Scotland, and according to chef Michael Dotson, who has visited the original, the Old Country portion of its menu harkens back to its Scottish-based counterpart.
As a nod to California, however, this pub also features local delights such as pheasant and leek sausage and organic burgers. In addition, the bar offers a number of artisan farmhouse ales to go with its roster of traditional Irish favorites.
Whether you’re looking for draft Guinness and black pudding, or a pint of farmhouse ale and a bit of conversation and telly watching, you’re sure to satisfy your cravings for the Old Country with a visit to Silicon Valley.