San Francisco, CA

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Up On the Roof

Atop the Moscone Convention Center is San Francisco's answer to Rockefeller Center: the Yerba Buena Gardens. This $56 million, two-block oasis features an NHL-regulation-sized, indoor ice skating rink, (Wednesdays are "senior skate day," complete with big band music), and a 12-lane bowling alley, which hosts "Fog City Experience" every Friday and Saturday night on mist-shrouded lanes. There's also a serene children's garden and playground, as well as a 1906 vintage carousel.

Yerba Buena's latest newcomer -- Zeum -- is a 34,000-square-foot art and technology center where kids make clay figures for a cartoon or create computer-generated sound effects for their own live-action film. Highlights include:

Chinatown, copyright
SFCVB/Phil Coblentz

  • The Animator's Studio. Your children can create characters from clay and wire, then take pictures of them in different poses. The computer will print out their claymation creation, frame-by-frame. It can be assembled in an old-fashioned flip book to show kids at home, or saved onto a zip disk (bring your own).
  • The Production Lab. Get your family's 10 minutes of fame. Budding producers can make a short video, then have it screened at the Zeum. Depending on their show biz proclivities, your stars and starlets can don costumes and act -- or, if they prefer, work behind the scenes as a sound tech, camera operator, or director. Productions are free with admission and occur several times daily.
  • The Learning Lab. Your propellerheads will scramble for one of the 22 computers, on which they can do 3-D modeling, video editing, illustrating, and multimedia presentations.

Continued on page 3:  Four Floors of Fun


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