April 9, 2012 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
(1/2013 Note: The App has been discontinued, but you can read on for fun…)
Want to see waterfalls in downtown San Francisco? What about rooftop gardens not open to the general public? Or perhaps be a voyeur for a few hours on a houseboat garden tour in Seattle where you can spy gardens atop floating homes? You’ll discover these kinds of experiences with RAVN, a cool new activities search and booking engine app for iOS that allows you to discover, schedule, and pay directly online for experiences in your city.
No Searching, Just Browsing
RAVN has no search feature. Nope, it encourages your to browse through its database of more than 27,000 events in nine US cites (another 30 in the works) to serendipitously happen upon an experience of interest. We’re talking a list of handpicked events like nightlife, food festivals and markets, street fairs, special events and exhibitions, classes, and much more.
Instant Gratification, Oh Yeah
RAVN tells you instantly what’s happening in your city in real time with live photo streaming and lets you share and plan with your friends. Once there, with its geo-fencing interface, it lets you know when your friends show up.
In my recent RAVN exploration of outdoor and garden events, I found these:
Marilyn Straka, from On the Level Walking Tours, will guide you in the discovery of rooftop gardens invisible from the ground, and waterfalls tucked away in the middle of downtown.
At the Denver Botanical Gardens, discover the numerous health and taste benefits of your own herb garden in this one-off class. They’ll cover growing, harvesting and culinary uses of seven of the most popular culinary herbs including marjoram, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, chives and basil.
Explore Mexican history, culture, and heritage while also visiting 30,000 square feet of urban gardens at La Plaza de Cultura Y Artes in downtown Los Angeles. With garden exhibits and displays of home decor, ceramics, and limited edition artwork, The Plaza occupies two of LA’s oldest standing structures, the rehabbed 1880s-era Vickrey-Brunswig and Plaza House buildings. The Pepsico Foundation recently awarded The Plaza a one million dollar grant to establish an Edible Teaching Garden and Culinary Arts Program for Hispanic youth.
Absorb some off-beat gardening inspiration as you experience eclectic little floating homes perched atop century-old cedar logs. Seattle has more than four-hundred floating homes on Lake Union and Portage Bay, each one unique and special. View the funky and artistic creations built on floating residences while cruising for an hour and a half through some strange and inspiring aquatic neighborhoods.
Learn to appreciate the value of planning and determination to change as you ponder on Lincoln Park’s transformation from cemetery to urban gem. Feel truly alive as you experience The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s cemetery to sculpture garden walking tour.
Be inspired to doll up your home or garden as you browse garden antiques from the United States, France, England, Belgium, Sweden, and Italy at the New York Botanical Garden’s 20th Anniversary Garden Show and Sale. Hunt through more than 30 leading dealers, enjoy some afternoon tea and wine tastings with antiques experts and designers, and tour this year’s highlight, French-themed booths.
Move over, Siri…Over time, as RAVN gets to know you and learns your preferences, it filters out events it feels you wouldn’t like.
Now go on, talk amonst ya’selves, then head out and discover new things!
RAVN is available free from the iTunes store.