Looking for something to do in the Bay Area that’s a little out of the ordinary? Here are five suggestions for something a bit different, from sensory deprivation in Oakland to goofing around in the Presidio.
Sausalito’s strangest surprise
Tucked away from the downtown at 2100 Bridgeway, the Bay Model Visitors Center is a gigantic scale model of the entire Bay Area and its water flow. The attraction was actually created as a research tool and is still functional today, so it’s best to arrange your visit when the exhibit is in action. Tours are also offered, or catch a 10-minute film for a quick overview.
FLOAT in Oakland
To really get it away from it all in the Bay Area, head to a tiny art gallery and flotation tank center known as FLOAT. Located in a storefront studio of the historic Cotton Mill Studios (at 1091 Calcot Place), this self-proclaimed ‘urban art spa’ offers massage therapy, nifty little changing exhibits, and flotation (sensory deprivation) tanks that essentially eliminate all sensation. The resulting experience can be a bit like your brain floating in the stars out in the stratosphere, though everyone has a different take on it.
Offbeat outdoor art in Albany
One of the East Bay’s most compelling arrays of art can be found on a circular spit of landfill at the bottom of Buchanan Street in Albany. A driftwood-laden stretch of beach draws visitors as well, but the real attraction is found by meandering perhaps half-a-mile further on the puny peninsula called the Albany Bulb. Here you’ll discover a fantastical array of public sculpture, painting and other artwork, free to enjoy. Have something handy to take pics with, as there are definitely some unusual photo ops here.
Disney in the City
Disney fans wanting to unlock a world of fascinating history should head for the Presidio, where The Walt Disney Family Museum showcases archives and exhibits any age can enjoy. From old stills of the animated classic Steamboat Willie to an intricately detailed model of the park, a wealth of provocative and eye-opening treasures make this museum a worthwhile afternoon of fun.
Carried away in Alameda
The former Naval base in Alameda is home to one of the most singular attractions in the area—the USS Hornet Museum, a permanently moored aircraft carrier loaded with artifacts and exhibits. It might surprise some to see the display dedicated to the moon program, until you realize that the ship served as the recovery vessel for early Apollo missions. Kids and military aficionados will especially love this attraction, but it’s sure to be a memorable visit for anyone making the journey to Alameda.