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By What’s hot in town - SF  ·  July 30, 2019

Quirky & Cool things to do this summer & fall

Doesn't matter if you're new or have been here for years. You'll be surprised to find that there are all sorts of fun things to do here that have entirely slipped past your radar. Don't worry, we've got your back. Here's a list of cool, quirky and irresistible things to do in Bay Area this summer.
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Frolic amid botanicals & brews

Frolic amid botanicals & brews

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Everyone knows about the grand 19th-century Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. Filled with flowers, plants and even a water-lily pond, the Victorian glass structure is a San Francisco icon. But on the third Friday of each month, it turns into a Botanicals & Brews beer garden. A vibrant light show illuminates the conservatory walls, as guests sip craft brews and wine at picnic tables outside, enjoying live music and food truck fare, before exploring the tropical plants inside.
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Explore a Beaux Arts water temple

Explore a Beaux Arts water temple

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The stone temple, with its fluted Corinithian columns, is located at the aquaduct’s terminus, west of Interstate 280 in Redwood City. A large, dramatic, tree-lined reflecting pool adds to the scene’s Instagramability, making it a hidden gem for weddings, proposals and general summer frolic. Don’t miss: The inscription atop the large stone masonry ring: “I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people.” Truth.
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Glow in the dark Scorpions

Glow in the dark Scorpions

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If catching a glimpse of scorpions in the daylight doesn’t thrill you, how about tracking them on Mount Diablo at night with special lights that make them glow like misplaced Las Vegas neon? Walnut Creek’s Lindsay Wildlife Experience is leading two-hour scorpion hikes on the mountain, complete with special UV lights that make the scorpion’s exoskeleton glow vivid green, and guides to explain how these creatures live and how they fit into this habitat.
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Traipse through a whimsical park

Traipse through a whimsical park

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Anna Jean Cummings isn’t your typical Santa Cruz county park. This 95-acre park near Soquel High School offers a modern playground, pavilion-style picnicking areas, multiple athletic fields and some whimsical — make that spherical — public art. Four sky-blue balls, each eight to nine feet in diameter, appear to be rolling down the sloping hill. The concrete spheres were created in 2001 by artists Steven Gillman and Katherine Keefer and make great hide-and-seek inspiration for littles, as well as arty photo backdrops for the bigs.
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Escape the candy lab

Escape the candy lab

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Immersive escape rooms are everywhere — why not in education? That was mom and scientist Ashie Bhandiwad’s thinking behind the new Candy Lab Escape Room in Danville. Bhandiwad, who holds a PhD in engineering, is the founder of StemChef, a program that teaches kids science concepts through cooking. At her small Blackhawk brick-and-mortar, kiddos and adults alike find themselves locked in a pastel-hued candy lab with one mission: Stepping in for an absent candy maker using clues and scientific tinkering to solve puzzles and create the ultimate dessert — and escape.
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Explore the Gregangelo

Explore the Gregangelo

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Featured on Netflix’s “Amazing Interiors,” the Gregangelo Museum appears to be an ordinary house in the West Portal neighborhood of San Francisco. Step inside, however, and you enter an arty, eclectic kaleidoscope of spectacles. Artist and San Francisco native Gregangelo Herrera is the brains behind the 27 themed rooms, or “realms,” that hark back to a specific era and come alive to tease the senses. “An art orgy of the mind,” according to one fan.
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Walk among the bonsai

Walk among the bonsai

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The Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt is one of the largest bonsai museums on the West Coast. The 20-year-old garden is curated by Kathy Shaner, the only female certified bonsai master and the first Japanese-certified master in the U.S. Ask a docent to show you the 1,600-year-old Daimyo oak tree, a gift to the U.S. during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and the oldest tree in the collection. Not quite as ancient is a black pine tree that was featured in the Japanese Exhibit at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.
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Follow a winding stone labyrinth

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In 2004, inspired by the historic labyrinths of ancient cultures and religions, artist Eduardo Aguilera created this circular stone labyrinth along the wild and windy shoreline at Lands End. Ever since, it has been visited and photographed by hikers, passersby and anyone seeking solace. With sweeping views of the Marin Headlands and Golden Gate Bridge, walking the labyrinth is said to bring peace, calm and harmony. Be careful, though. This rocky outcropping can get slippery.
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Explore the mysterious yellow gates

Explore the mysterious yellow gates

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Strange yellow portals beckon on this 9-mile network of boardwalks and levees at Alviso Marina County Park in San Jose. Each fantastical doorway frames tantalizing glimpses of sunlit water and reeds, beckoning bird-watchers and hikers to explore the marshy realm of salt ponds, levees and the wetlands from viewing platforms and boardwalk vantage points.
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