When my son Alex and I were in the San Francisco Bay area, I couldn’t resist booking a privately guided tour of Silicon Valley. Through my work, I knew someone who worked at Google so I arranged to have a private tour of the facility to be included in our tour. It was just Alex and me on the tour and we felt very privileged to have such personal attention.
We got to choose which parts of Silicon Valley we wanted to see. I, of course, selected Google so I could get a private tour of the inside of the facility. Without some kind of connections, Alex and I could only see the exterior of many of the large companies so we lucked out when it came to Google.
Alex wanted to see the Computer History Museum so we went on a tour of that. The history and progress of computers was fascinating and we saw a lot of familiar old computers that no longer are on the market as well as some new advances that are on the horizon. It was incredibly fascinating.
We also chose to see the Intel Museum and the Tech Museum. These were small museums but gave you a good idea of what Silicone Valley is all about. Alex was amazed by the older tech items at the Tech Museum. I had lived through most of that history so, for me, it was a trip down memory lane when there were brick cell phones and computers that didn’t run on Windows or Mac formats.
Alex is a big fan of the space industry so we elected to take a tour of the NASA Ames Research Center. Some of this part was a bit over his head as he is only five years old but we still enjoyed seeing what NASA is up to these days and to see what the future holds for NASA at the research center.
Silicon Valley is located in San Jose so we convinced the tour operator to find a good restaurant in San Jose we could have lunch at before touring the Google Campus. The restaurant featured classical, fresh California food and we stuffed ourselves before going onto Google.
The tour of Google was fascinating and well-run. My contact met us in the lobby and took us through the campus where I believe the heart of the internet is located. Alex was a bit bored but I think he appreciated how vast and all-encompassing Google has become as of this date.
We finished the tour at the Apple Campus, where we visited the HQ store. I surprised Alex with an Apple Tablet as a souvenir of our day visiting one of the most important sites in computer history.