199 Museum Way
Hard to find factor: 3
1 Not too bad
2 Takes some searching
3 Ask a native
4 Bring a map
Neighborhood: Corona Heights
On the downlow: Since 1951
Great date: All right, now as much as we are the first to gag when a date recommends a moonlit walk on the beach, we couldn’t help but be charmed by an invitation to check out the view from the Randall Museum. Set upon 16 acres and offering darn spectacular views of The City, we swooned, and OK, maybe a couple of butterflies flitted (even if it was half-heartedly) in our tummies. The sight of the warm neon emanating from the marquee of the Castro Theatre made us feel like fresh-faced tourists in our very own town. We also just happened to be there during Astronomy Night, a regularly scheduled event hosted by San Francisco Amateur Astronomers. They told us all about the heavens above and even let us look through a few telescopes to see what they meant, all for free.
Animal house: As you make your way up the winding road that leads you to the Randall Museum and come upon the smallish building that sits atop, you’d probably be surprised to learn that more than 100 critters of all kinds can be found kicking it inside. Some of them you can even pet, such as the guinea pigs or a rather large snake. There is also a pretty comprehensive insect display that sufficiently freaked us out. Check out the insides of a functioning beehive and you’ll never have the desire to throw rocks at one again.
Her story: Almost as interesting as the exhibits housed inside the Randall Museum is the story of the museum’s founder, Josephine Randall. Just when you felt guilty enough for being the lazy sloth you are, you learn that Ms. Randall not only quite single-handedly laid the groundwork for the museum you see today, she is also credited with organizing one of the first-ever Girl Scout troops in the country in 1915. Then, she went about beginning one of the first-ever Camp Fire Girl troops. Then, Randall became San Francisco’s first superintendent of recreation and continued in that role for 25 years. Oh no, there’s more. It was in 1937 that Randall opened a children’s museum on Ocean Avenue in a building that had been a city jail. As you can imagine, Randall wanted more, and in 1947 she led the charge on a $12 million bond that included the construction of the existing museum that stands today.
Know any hidden gems? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your favorite off-the-beaten-path haunts.