Bottom line: Playland at the Beach is where the ice-cream-and-cookie concoction known as the It's-It came from. People love their memories of the amusement park -- San Francisco's answer to Coney Island (1926-1972) -- and that's cool, but let's be serious: the It's-It. For those of you trying to explain to young children why you're taking them to "Playland at the Conservatory," use the It's-It. You might also try mentioning the elaborate miniature train, the funhouse mirrors, or saying "James Sellier's replica work in repurposed materials is unique and gorgeous -- the carousel is made from a record player!" But if those don't work, just tell 'em about the ice cream. They, like the rest of us, will be gobsmacked and delighted by all of the above, plus the installation's dwarf plants, the Sutro Baths model, and the rest of it once they get there.
Tuesdays-Sundays; Dec. 27-31; Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Nov. 18. Continues through April 15, 2011