Sausalito, California: Mini-SF Bay - Army Corps of Engineers

Schoolkid favorite where engineers once plotted ways to carve up and reroute Bay Area waterways using a gigantic working hydraulic model. Still used as a visitors and education center. Here come the earthquakes and asteroids!

Bay Model Visitor Center

Address:
2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA
Directions:
Bay Model Visitor Center, north of Golden Gate Bridge. Highway 101 N to Sausalito-Marin City exit, continue straight at stop light on Bridgeway. Small brown and white Bay Model direction signs along the way. Turn left on Harbor, then almost immediately turn right on Marinship Way and follow the signs.
Hours:
Spring Tu-Sa 9-4, Summer Tu-F 9 am - 4 pm, Sa-Su 10 am - 5 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
415-332-3870
Admission:
Free.
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Bay Model. San Francisco Bay - Delta Model

The giant model of the waterways of San Francisco Bay and Delta region has always been a popular school trip destination. Created and operated by the Army Corps of Engineers, the 3D simulation of bay waterways was built in 1954-1957 to test proposed large scale changes. The model fills a hangar-sized building. The topographical vertical depth is distorted 10x the horizontal scale to make the water action measurable. 250,000 copper tabs in the water compensate for the flow effect of the depth distortion.

The model was still in use by engineers up to 2000, and the free Visitors Center provides public access to the entire layout. There is an intro video, interpretive signs and a walking tour pamphlet.

The Visitors Center closed in 2010 for extensive renovations. As of April 2011, we could get inside and wander freely. The model is not operating, though, until the construction is complete, after everything is checked for damage and calibrated. This may be completed by July 2011, but call ahead if you really have your heart set on seeing a wet Bay in miniature.

[RoadsideAmerica.com Team, 04/28/2011]

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