Oakland is a Californian city that is situated on San Francisco Bay and is around seven miles east of San Francisco. It is the eighth largest city in the state and is the primary hub for the Bay Area. Oakland covers an area of seventy-eight square miles and has a population of over four hundred thousand residents. Historically, Oakland is a city that has had its share of challenges which have included poverty, elevated crime rates and high unemployment. In 1906 and 1989, the city was hit by major earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault. Oakland is a city that can trace its history back to the eighteenth century, when Spanish explorers claimed the area on which Oakland is located for the King of Spain. Major development of the area wouldn’t occur until 1848, however. This is when Mexico ceded the area to the United States under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo after the Mexican American War. In 1852, California incorporated the city of Oakland. During the 1860s and 1870s, the city grew rapidly after the railroads entered the city and it became a major rail terminus. With the arrival of World War II, the entire Bay Area became home to many war industries. One of these was Kaiser Shipyards which was located in Richmond. Oakland Moore Dry Dock expanded its shipbuilding abilities and cranked out over one hundred ships. Oakland also developed a valuable canning industry during the war.
Today, Oakland is a city that is developing at a steady pace. Its also a city that is enjoying a robust tourist trade which is fueled by the many attractions that are located there. One of the most popular attractions in the city is the Chabot Space and Science Center. The Chabot Space and Science Center features hands on activities, a huge theater, a planetarium and interactive exhibits. This institution began in 1883 and was called the Oakland Observatory. In 1915, it was moved to Mountain Boulevard and during the 1960s it went through an extensive period of renovation and expansion. In 2000, the science center as it exists today was opened in an eighty-six thousand square foot facility that is on thirteen acres. The Chabot Space and Science Center contains three observatory telescopes. These are Leah (built in 1883), Rachel (built in 1914) and Nellie (built in 2003). Located here is the Ask Jeeves Planetarium. This planetarium can seat over two hundred and forty people under a seventy foot dome. Shows featured at the planetarium include Immersive Space, Space NOW and The Sky Tonight.
Another popular attraction is the Oakland Zoo. The Oakland Zoo was originally known as the Knowland Zoo and is small for a city the size of Oakland. But, the exhibits are modern and the animals are kept in natural environments. This zoo was started in 1922 by the naturalist Henry Snow. The zoo has been in several locations over the course of its history including Sequoia Park, Joaquin Miller Park and finally to Durant Park. This zoo is home to over four hundred and forty animals which include Sun Bear, Hamadryas Baboons, Bison, Bobcats, Arabian Camels, Elephants, Giraffes, Malayan Flying Foxes, Alpine Goats, Pygmy Goats, Alpine Goats, Meerkats, Sheep, Cotton-topped Tamarin and Squirrel Monkeys.
The USS Potomac is another must see attraction in the city of Oakland. The USS Potomac was built by the Manitowoc Ship Building Company in 1934 as the Coast Guard Cutter named Electra. In 1936, it was converted into a presidential yacht and was commissioned into the U.S. Navy. In the years that followed, the USS Potomac was used extensively by President Roosevelt for political meetings and impromptu fishing trips. When President Roosevelt passed away, the ship was decommissioned and returned to the Coast Guard in 1945. After 1945, the USS Potomac was used by the Maryland Tidewater Fisheries Commission and was sold in 1960 to Warren G. Toone. In 1964, Elvis Presley bought the ship for fifty five thousand dollars. Elvis donated it to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital to sell at a fund raiser. The hospital sold it for seventy-five thousand dollars. In 1980, the ship was involved in drug running and was seized by the United States Custom Service and tower to Treasure Island. While there, it sunk. Two weeks later, the United States Navy refloated the vessel and the USS Potomac was sold to Oakland for the sum of fifteen thousand dollars.
Another prominent attraction in Oakland is Preservation Park. Preservation Park has sixteen historic buildings that are arranged to resemble a late nineteenth century Oakland neighborhood. Buildings that are located here include Remillard House, Ginn House, Nile Hall, Thornton House, Higgins House, White House, Knox-Buckley House, Bartling House, Park House, Robinson House, Standeford House, Bauske House, Trowbridge House, Jacobs House, Raymond House and Hunt House. Another structure that is located here is the Latham Ducel Fountain. This fountain was forged in Paris and is made of iron. It features Diana, goddess of the moon.
Other attractions in the city of Oakland include the Oakland Museum of California, Lake Merritt, Camron-Stanford House, Lakeside Park and Garden Center, Fairyland, Fortune Cookie Factory Tour, Dunsmuir House, Oakland China Town, Jack London Square, Sunday Farmer’s Market, Paramount Theater, Embarcadero Bay Bicycle Trail, Lafayette Square Park, French Trail Connector, Jack London Cinema, ACB Ballroom Dance School, East Bay Regional Park District, Open Studios, California College of the Arts, Jack London’s Cabin, Oakland History Room, Rotary Nature Center and Waterfowl Refuge, McAfee Coliseum, Tilden Nature Area, Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, Old Oakland Neighborhood, Oakland Convention Center, Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center and Mazzariello Labyrinth. Oakland is also home to several popular restaurants and hotels. Restaurants in the city include Le Cheval Restaurant, Pacific Coast Brewing Co., Peony Restaurant, B Restaurant, Fentons Creamery & Restaurant, Luka’s Taproom & Lounge and Max’s Restaurant. Hotels in the city of Oakland include Marriott City Center, Park Plaza Hotel, Waterfront Plaza Hotel, Courtyard Oakland, Washington Inn Hotel, Woodfin Suites Hotel, Jack London Inn and Executive Inn Embarcadero Cove.