Points North: The Visitor’s Center at Silicon Valley’s Apple Park

Simone Graham – Editor: The new Apple campus is about fifteen minutes from my in-laws house in northern California. When it opened I fully intended to sign up for a tour of the building during one of our trips to visit them. I searched the web for Apple’s accommodations for the press to find out how to reserve a tour date so I would be able to file a story and photos here, for you, my readers. Ha! I found there is no such thing and I must tell you I felt very naive to even entertain the thought that Apple would welcome the public inside the “spaceship” or “doughnut” as it is been nicknamed (the doughnut is my husband’s name for it; he is not an Apple or Steve Jobs fan and is amused by an image of it resembling a bakery item).

Shareholders only got as far as the Steve Jobs Theater, and when one shareholder asked when they could see the main building, CEO Tim Cook joked, “I’ll send you a picture.” The problem with opening the park to other people is that they have so much “confidential stuff” around, Cook explained.

Instead, last week I did what everyone else is able to do which is to drop in on the Apple Park visitor’s center see what it has to offer. The center is right next to the back of Apple Park across the street from Steve Jobs Theater.



If you approach it from the north side turning on to the Wolfe Road off-ramp, continuing on to Homestead Road, and last taking a right onto Tantau Avenue, keep driving passed the Kaiser Clinic building and one more small office complex to find it. It is busy, but there is plenty of parking for cars around the building on a weekday. I was there on a Tuesday but there may be many more visitors on a weekend.



On one end of the two-story, glass windowed, center is a coffee bar with seating and on the other end is a model of the Apple Park.



The model was surrounded with visitors holding ipads over the model. A guide explained to me that the model is interactive and displays a picture of what is happening in each part of the “spaceship” as each visitor hovers the ipad over an area above the model. Guides will be carrying the ipads for your use.



Between the coffee bar and model area is the Apple product area that also stocks souvenirs for purchase that you will not find in other company retail Apple stores. A huge screen in the middle of the retail area displays a demonstration of Apple drawing capabilities.


The staircases on either side of the of the center lead up to the viewing platform (I have to admit, it is a breathtaking view) that overlooks Apple Park. But, the park landscape berm and trees are designed to prevent you, anyone, from seeing inside it’s windows so it is a panoramic view even from that point.



If I have told you everything, why go? So you can say you were there! Get your selfies in front of the Apple park model, or sipping a cup of coffee at a coffee bar table, posing with the giant screen drawings, buying your souvenir T-shirt, standing on the second story with the park in the background, and any other “I was there” photo you can compose. You get the picture, right? Well, that is what CEO Time Cook promised.

Store hours:
Mon – Fri 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Sat 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Sun 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., restrooms and elevator available.

10600 North Tantau Avenue, Cupertino, CA, (408) 961-1560

If you make the trip to see the center, you might as well make a day of it and plan a car trip itinerary to snap photos of other Silicon Valley establishments. Here are a couple links to get you thinking:

https://www.santaclara.org/TechTours/   https://www.businessinsider.com/19-silicon-valley-landmarks-to-visit-2016-7#lick-observatory-16


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