Virtual Walking Tour of Pacific Heights in San Francisco
Bring your walking shoes to explore
this upscale neighborhood of Victorian Homes, Flowers/Secret
Gardens, Landmark Buildings and History. Visit the inside of a 1912 mansion and
an historical Bed and Breakfast.
can receive their own self-guided tour booklet as an educational
souvenir or to enable them to do the walk on their own (for a nominal
New and Fun in San Francisco?!
– new show every 6 months
This show incorporates history,
mystery, recreation, culture and fun.
Themes include: a trip to the "new" SF zoo; what’s
happening at City Hall; highlights of a new art exhibit (such as
"Amusing America" at the SF Museum); exploring a level area to
walk, "can you identify?" the towers or hills or statues or
parks (with prizes) and "what makes us laugh?."
Ansel Adams, from San Francisco to Worldwide Fame
Few American artists have reached a wider audience or enjoy more widespread popularity in their lifetime, than Ansel Adams. None has had a more profound impact on how Americans grasp the majesty of their continent, especially Yosemite National Park. View a DVD story of Adams life from his childhood in the Presidio to his lifelong quest for the best photos of his beloved Yosemite. It is a moving story which comes to life via insights from your "On The Level" guide.
What's New and Fun Around the Bay Area
Think all the fun is in San Francisco? Well, think again! On this Bay Area virtual tour we go first to Marin County to visit the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center. Then we tour Sausalito, our West Coast “Mediterranean seaside village”. We learn the history, see the Bay Model, and a hidden houseboat community. At Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland, there are views of the San Francisco skyline as well as close-ups of wildlife. We feel surrounded by thousands of containers, trailer trucks and steel-limbed gantry cranes. Treasure Island and Stanford outdoor art also make the list. Don’t miss it!"
Presidio and LDAC (new home of Lucasfilm)
Letterman Digital Arts Center in the Presidio is now open to the public! First we will explore around the perimeter of the complex and see the original Letterman Hospital. Then we will stroll (virtually) through the grounds and learn the history of the Presidio as well as Lucas' plans for his "new empire". There are unparalleled views of the Palace of Fine Arts as we are surrounded by brick and stucco military-like buildings, big granite boulders, streams, and rolling green knolls. Come and experience the ambience Lawrence Halprin created for the common areas of this 23-acre office complex.
Parks on the San Mateo Bay Coastline
Did you know that the San Francisco Bay Trail is now complete with many sections of accessible trails? The coastal trail from Candlestick State Recreation Area to Foster City is a gem. In the slide show we will see it all from planes landing at SFO to parks, marinas and kite surfing. We will explore virtually the coastline route with stops at Oyster Point, Bayfront Park, Burlingame Lagoon, Coyote Point, and some surprises.
Easy and Accessible Walks in San Francisco
On The Level tour guide and author, Marilyn Straka, takes you on a slide journey featuring 20 one-mile walks that are free of hills and steps, right here in San Francisco! These low-impact walks have been tested for accessibility and are perfect for people using wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, pushing a stroller or anyone who would like a fun, flat and informative walk.
Yosemite National Park and Historic Knight’s Ferry
Everyone who has ever gone to Yosemite falls in love with the beauty
of the waterfalls, huge rock formations, wildlife and rainbows. Relive
or experience anew Yosemite in the spring as a virtual tour when
waterfalls are full and the sunshine makes rainbows against the spray.
Have fun getting there with a tour of historic Knight’s Ferry. Did you
know that we have covered bridges in California? Come and see what
Knight’s Ferry has to offer. The show is fun and interactive.
Tahoe – 4 Seasons
John Muir describes the Sierras as 'The Range of Light'. We experience this light as the seasons progress from winter explorations and thoughts of the 1960 Winter Olympics to new life in the spring. Summer: wildflowers bloom, trees show new growth, snow melts and with that comes the bubbling streams and waterfalls at their peak. Join your guide, "On The Level" Marilyn Straka as we kayak on Lake Tahoe and hike the Squaw Valley Creek Trail. We will also explore the accessible Sierra Discovery Trail near Nevada City. This trail was developed by PG&E and features paths and boardwalks used by wheelchair-users as well as informative interpretive signs. The fall color at Tahoe is a sure winner with the aspens, alder, mountain ash and maples – colors that rival those on the East Coast.
Goldman Environmental Awards Film and Discussion
Richard Goldman gives six monetary awards each year, one in each
continent, to deserving individuals who have taken great risks to save
the environment with little money and resources. This is the Nobel Prize
for environmental work. Come and see a documentary about the 2006
winners and learn more about the philanthropic work of Richard and Rhoda
Goldman who are unique in giving away 10% of their assets per year. Most
foundations give only the required 5%. Also we will discuss ways that
YOU can help the environment. This is an educational and inspiring
Utah A National Park Wonderland
Utah has some of our country’s most unusual and magnificent scenery. Join Marilyn Straka on a virtual tour as we explore southern Utah’s federal preserved lands via car, foot and bicycle. The scenery varies from eroded red-rock hoodoos to massive canyons cut by rushing rivers, to ancient bristlecone pine trees and desert wildflowers. Put on your walking shoes as we hike off the beaten path to see panoramic views at Bryce National Park, narrow slot canyons at Grand Staircase of the Escalante and huge arches at Capitol Reef National Park. You will feel like you are there!
Crater Lake National Park in Oregon
Did you know that Crater Lake, at nearly 2000 feet deep, is the deepest lake in the US and one of the deepest in the world? This great depth answers the question of “why so blue?”. Come and explore with Marilyn Straka the 35-mile Rim Trail via car, foot and bicycle. The views are varied but always awesome: see the ancient volcanic Wizard Island, the Phantom Ship, the hardy but twisted white bark pines, as well as birds and wildflowers. But getting there can be half the fun: we stop in Redding to see the pedestrian Sundial Bridge and in Weed, CA, to see an early 1900’s lumber town with Mt. Shasta as the backdrop.
Angel Island State Park
Angel Island is a hilly, grass and forest-covered island, the largest in San Francisco Bay. The island’s position allows unparalleled views of three Bay area bridges and the San Francisco skyline. Join ‘On The Level’ Marilyn Straka as we take a ferryboat one mile from Tiburon to the island and explore along the five-mile perimeter trail. We see the island from an historical perspective: the Quarantine Station, the Immigration Station and the army’s presence from the Civil War to Cold War. Come along as today we enjoy picnics, camping and nature.
Middle Harbor Shoreline Park at the Port of Oakland
Join your ‘On The Level’ virtual tour guide, Marilyn Straka, for a fascinating tour of a new Oakland shoreline park. There are unique views of the San Francisco skyline that have not been available to the public for the past 100 years as well as close-ups of wildlife. But, imagine being able to see a container ship being loaded or unloaded right before your eyes! Our tour begins along Maritime St. where we are surrounded by thousands of containers, trailer trucks and steel-limbed gantry cranes. This recently opened 38-acre park has the salvaged mast of the USS Oakland and many historical maritime features including bollards for tying up ships and pier remnants. There is also an observation tower and scopes to see the Oakland Estuary and the Port’s shipping activities.
Grand Canyon National Park and Sedona
It is not the widest … it is not the deepest … but few would disagree that it is the GRANDEST! Join Marilyn Straka as we explore the finest Arizona has to offer in November: Grand Canyon National Park. We walk along the rim, visiting El Tovar Hotel, Bright Angel Lodge and the Hopi Indian House as well as seeing awesome views from a variety of vantage points. But the real fun begins as we drop below the rim and hike with the mules to view close-ups of the rocks and learn the geology of the canyon. The vivid red rocks of Sedona are only two hours away. See the formations nicknamed “Bell”, “Teapot” and “Thumb”. Sedona is known for being a vortex center and its downtown is an artist and cultural center. Come and experience the mystery and the fun!
Lassen Volcanic National Park
This park in Northern California is a hidden treasure and very unique with examples of all four types of volcanic activity. Its major volcano, Mt. Lassen, erupted violently less than 100 years ago. We see the tremendous internal forces of this powerful mountain still at work as we explore a geothermal area called Bumpass Hell. Wild flowers, picas, lakes, falling rocks and other surprises complete the picture of Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Rooftop Gardens and Open Spaces in Downtown San Francisco
Rooftop Gardens in Downtown San Francisco? Open to the public? Yes, to both questions! 1% of the funds spent on any private building in San Francisco must go toward public spaces. Sometimes this is an art exhibit in the lobby BUT sometimes it’s a park with a water feature or a rooftop garden with a great view. Many are unknown to the general public. Join your guide, ‘On The Level’ Marilyn Straka, for a virtual tour of downtown San Francisco to see these hidden treasures.
Fall Color in the West
Fall color displays in California and the West paralleling those in the eastern US? This virtual tour will confirm this statement as we visit Nevada City, Lake Tahoe and the Eastern Sierras. Actual pressed leaves from colorful trees will be on display before the show begins. A variety of trees will be featured including aspen, alder, big leaf maple, California live oak, and the unique Chinese tulip tree. Join your guide, Marilyn Straka, as she travels the back roads, finding the best displays of color. The tour ends with a visit to Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Hot Air Balloon Festival. It’s hard to top the fun of seeing unique balloon colors and shapes as they ascend into a clear blue sky.
San Francisco Movies – DVD Tour
Did you know that more than 500 movies have been filmed in San Francisco? Many feel that San Francisco should have become the capital of the movie industry. But Hollywood comes here to capture romance and thrills against a backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, steep and winding streets and Bay views. Market Street, with the Ferry Building as a backdrop, was used as early as 1927 in The Jazz Singer. The saga continues with Greta Garbo, Irene Dunne, Dustin Hoffman, Frank Sinatra, and, of course, Steve McQueen in the famous Bullitt chase scenes. Join your “virtual guide”, Marilyn Straka, as she introduces each era and neighborhood shown on the DVD. Then enjoy the movies and stars in the comfort of your own presentation room. Popcorn, anyone?! Consider as a followup: use your bus to have a guided tour of the sights you viewed on the DVD.
Holiday Lights in San Francisco
Join your “On The Level” guide for a virtual tour to see downtown San Francisco and all that glitters at the Holiday Season! This fun-filled show provides insights into San Francisco history as well as current city trivia. Highlights include a lighted garden, uniquely decorated and festive hotels, office lobbies, and retail locations. Don't miss the huge Union Square tree and the live animals in Macy's windows!
Costa Rica and Panama
Costa Rica is in many ways a country of superlatives. Almost 25% of the land consists of nature areas protected by law with a phenomenal variety of tropical plants and animals. We start our virtual tour with an historic look at the capital, San Jose. A 4-hour trip on a rutty dirt road brings us to Monteverde at 5500 ft and the Cloud Forest. Our journey continues with six days on a small passenger ship as we explore the Rain Forest, an idyllic private island and the climax being a trip through the Panama Canal. Learn the history of the multiple attempts to harness the isthmus and the US triumph, the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. A visit to Panama City will surprise us all with its multiple high rises. Join Marilyn Straka for a trip of a lifetime!
Maui, an Island of Surprises
Maui, the isle of romance, is a familiar vacation destination to many from the Bay Area. San Francisco is the closest land to the island of Maui! Join your virtual guide, Marilyn Straka, as we explore the variety and surprises that Maui has to offer. Learn about the history, culture and its hidden treasures. Of course, you will see the best beaches and secret coves, but there is more:
Venice, the Gem of Italy
Tour Venice and learn why ‘Water is Life”. See the canals, used by Venetians through the centuries for transportation, all city services and, of course, by the gondoliers who are so popular with tourists. Walk through the city (no cars allowed) as we explore hidden passageways and courtyards. Learn the history of ship building and see St. Mark’s Square with its dueling orchestras. It’s a gem!
Our National Parks: America’s Best Idea
Ken Burns and Duncan Dayton have told you the history of our National Parks (Oct ’09, 12 hours on PBS). Now, you have the opportunity to see 13 National Parks in the Western US as they look today. I will share with you the highlights of my recent visits from the perspective of a nature and park lover. There is so much beauty – it is difficult to select the BEST for this one-hour program. Don’t miss it!
Cost: $125/program with a sliding scale based on ability to pay.