Someone asked me recently where to go on a nighttime picnic and, though I never, ever, ever go on nighttime picnics, I surprised myself by coming up with the perfect answer. Are any of you out there more romantic than I am? Looking for a nice spot to go howl at the moon when you have the misfortune of being on unfamiliar ground when it gets full? Well, friends, if you answered yes to either question, I’ve got just the spot for you.
The Lawrence Hall of Science is a great place in it’s own right, an interactive science museum for kids, affiliated with UC Berkeley. It doesn’t deserve to just be the setting for the romantic night I’m creating for you, but life’s not fair and it happens that it’s sitting on some amazing real estate with a very particular attraction. Perched in the Berkeley hills, it’s got a view of the bay that, to quote a friend’s mother, almost makes you believe in god. Not that this is the only place in those hills to get that view, but it is the only place you can get it while sitting on the back of a whale. I guess it’s a great whale, anyway it’s a big whale, built to scale, well worn by years of scampering kids, living in the courtyard in front of the museum. Sitting on it, you are both perched above crazy, surreal beauty, and also a safe 10 feet from a protective wall. During the day it’s amazing and/but you compete with kids for the space. At night, though, and this was my revelation, confirmed by the friend I sent up there, it’s completely un-treacherous access to natural wonderment by moonlight. I might even go check it out myself sometime, if I can be bothered.