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:)