Monday, April 2, 2012

Things To Do In San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is located in Golden Gate Park.  It was completely rebuilt in 2008, and is now one of the largest natural history museums in the world.  The building has three main attractions: a giant rainforest which leads to an aquarium, a planetarium, and a natural history museum.  My girlfriend Kristen and I went to check it out and spent over 4 hours looking at the exhibits.  We still didn't see everything.  

 The bones of an ancient Tyrannosaurus Rex guard the entrance.  

There is also an 87' long blue whale skeleton.  It is the largest known mammal ever to have existed.

The building is designed to be environmentally sustainable and has a living garden on the rooftop.  You can read more about its ingenious design here.

San Francisco peeking through the trees (taken from the roof).

There is a large domed rainforest exhibit that is a living breathing ecosystem.  It is kept at 75% humidity and a temperature around the mid 80's.  A spiral walkway surrounds the pond and winds up four stories, through distinct habitats.  

There are hundreds of butterflies and birds flying around. I even had a butterfly land on my shoulder.  

Why are all of the cutest frogs so poisonous?

Spiders and snakes of the rainforest.

The rainforest dumps you out into the aquarium.  There are both fresh water and salt water exhibits.  

An octopus inside of a planter.

Sea horses are always one of my favorites.

There is even a swamp environment that houses an albino alligator named Claude.

Of course, there are also penguins.  I could stand around watching them interact for hours.

This is just a part of what the museum has to offer.  The planetarium has a killer show about the beginnings of life on Earth.  There are interactive displays, an aviary with birds of prey, and even a foucault pendulum.  The Academy stays open on Thursday nights for adults only access to the whole place, complete with a dj and several bars.  The two restaurants inside are run by the same team that owns famed San Francisco establishment The Slanted Door, so the food probably rocks too.  I hope I can go back and see all of the things I missed once the new Earthquake opens in May.  I am working on my husband as I write this:)


Adele said...

What an amazing place!
Happy Tuesday hun xoxo

MM said...

Beautiful post!! I love the penguins!!


Mandi said...

I wish I could go! There's so much there is amazing. I love the adults only Thursday nights with the DJ and bars. Great touch :)

xx Mandi

High Heels & Good Meals! said...

Next time Im in san Francisco this is a must see!

Emmy said...

WOW...the kids would love love love this place. Great pics, Erin:)

rooth said...

I have heard really good things about this planetarium. I'm going to have to give it a shot next time I'm in town!

Stephanie said...

I love that you're doing this series. One of my new 'things' is to explore a little bit of san francisco each week to get to know the city better. I'm starting tomorrow with the SF Zoo but you're giving me such good ideas for other fun adventures!!

Heather said...

Fun place! I know a couple who got married there last year.

Mandy Crandell said...

How awesome! LOVE the T Rex. :)

Anonymous said...

Yet another place for me to see in SF!

Tina Lane said...

I have yet to visit San Fran, but I am adding this museum to my wish list. Very cool.

Sea horses always make me think, only briefly, that I want a salt water aquarium in my house. But then I think of the cost and work, and I change my mind.

I'm Erin

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Hi, I'm Erin. I am living back on the east coast after 15 years out west. Currently readjusting to humidity and mosquitos. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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