Palace of Fine Arts extensive guide to Berkeley and San Francisco area, plus inspiring articles about trips around the world

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SAN FRANCISCO ●Attractions●Historical Sites

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Palace of Fine Arts
3301 Lyon St./Bay St., in the Marina, (415) 563-6504.  Free. 
          This cavernous building was designed by architect Bernard Maybeck in 1915 as part of the Panama-Pacific Exposition (an early World’s Fair celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal) and is said to be the world’s largest artificial ruin.  No longer home to the Exploratorium  http://www.exploratorium.edu, which moved in 2013, it now is open only for special events that are scheduled regularly in its theater.  A paved path leads around the lagoon and makes a lovely walk.  On my stroll, I saw an impressive range of wildlife that included the expected ducks, swans, and seagulls, but also turtles, large catfish, white egrets, and giant blue herons doing a mating dance in their tree nest.  Grassy areas and plentiful benches provide the perfect spot for a picnic. 

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travel writer Carole Terwilliger Meyers