The Academy of Sciences looks SO amazing! I am very excited to go to Disney with the kids of course, but this place looks AMAZING and I am so stoked to take *myself* here. The kids can tag along too, I suppose There is going to be a DEFINITE bonus to having 3 adults to 2 kids, I can have time to explore and read on my own if needed and catch up to the rest later.. this place looks one-of-a-kind!
Lions, and cheetahs, and zebras, oh my! Take a virtual safari through Africa and encounter these animals —and many others—inside intricately crafted dioramas. Look closely as you wander through the hall, and you’ll find some live animals as well, including tortoises, lizards, and a colony of African penguins.
Altered State: Climate Change in California
Walk beneath an 80-foot-long blue whale skeleton, gaze up at a towering T. rex, come face-to-face with a live rattlesnake, and marvel at dozens of other California treasures. Then track the potential impacts of climate change in California and around the world, and learn what you can do to help. Measure the impact of your family’s every-day decisions on a carbon scale, help polar bears move from one ice floe to another in an interactive Artic Ice projection room, and share your ideas for treading more lightly on the planet at the Academy’s feedback station.
It never rains at the Academy’s California Coast, an exhibit that highlights the state’s diverse marine environments. Watch waves roll onto a sandy beach, talk to scuba divers inside a 100,000-gallon rocky coast tank, play hide-and-seek with a giant Pacific octopus, and get a closer look at a Red-tailed hawk. You can even hold a hermit crab at the Discovery Tidepool and meet a 165-pound sea bass in the Tank of Giants.
Early Explorers’ Cove
Take your scientist-in-training to the Early Explorers’ Cove, a special exhibit designed for infants, preschoolers, and their caregivers. Tots can explore a 15-foot replica of the Academy’s 1905 research schooner, climb into a tree-house, tend a miniature organic garden, or crawl into a child-sized burrow. The exhibit is also well-stocked with books, toys, puzzles, and dress-up costumes.
Islands of Evolution
Visit the remote islands of Madagascar and The Galapagos through the eyes of Academy scientists, and discover why islands function as laboratories for evolution. Examine specimens collected during Academy research expeditions, including Galapagos tortoise shells and Darwin’s famous finches. Learn how scientists search for new species, and then put your new knowledge into practice, netting virtual butterflies with Wii gaming wands and setting pit-fall traps for virtual beetles.
Leave Planet Earth behind as you fly to the farthest reaches of the Universe inside the world’s largest all-digital planetarium. A live presenter will take you on a guided tour of the solar system and beyond, using current data from NASA to produce the most accurate and interactive digital Universe ever created. During a visit to the international space station, you’ll gain a new perspective on your home—the only planet known to support life.
Have a question about the natural world? The reference librarians and educators at the Naturalist Center can help you answer them. Bring in your leaves, feathers, rocks, shells, and other personal treasures for identification, look up the latest research on green technologies, or sign up for a special program in the adjoining classrooms and labs.
Philippine Coral Reef
Dive into the world’s deepest living coral reef tank without donning a wetsuit. Five underwater windows offer a fish’s eye view into one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Find Nemo—and 4,000 other reef fish—darting through a technicolor forest of coral, watch garden eels emerge from their underwater burrows, and admire the brilliant hues of a giant clam. Up on the surface, follow a boardwalk through a mangrove lagoon, where sharks, rays and sea turtles cruise beneath your feet.
Rainforests of the World
Step inside a living rainforest, where water dripping from the mahogany and palm trees sets the beat for a symphony of croaking frogs and chirping birds. Peer into one of Borneo’s bat caves, meet chameleons from Madagascar, and climb into the tree-tops of Costa Rica, where long lines of industrious leaf cutter ants march along vines and hundreds of tropical butterflies flutter like colorful confetti. Finally, descend in a glass elevator into the Amazonian flooded forest—the land of anacondas, piranhas, and electric eels. An acrylic tunnel allows you to walk beneath the Amazonian river fish that swim overhead.
Science in Action
Go beyond the headlines and gain in-depth information about recent scientific discoveries around the world. Live talks by Academy scientists, audio-visual displays, computer stations, and podcasts provide a reliable source of timely and relevant news about the natural world.
The Living Roof
Stop and smell the wildflowers during a visit to the Academy’s living roof, a 2.5-acre expanse of native California plants. Part of the museum’s green building strategy, the roof provides superior insulation, prevents storm water runoff, reduces the urban heat island effect, and creates new habitat for native birds, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. An engineering marvel, the seven hills of the living roof roll over the Academy’s major exhibits and echo the hilly topography of San Francisco.
Peer over the bronze railing of The Swamp tank if you dare—American alligators and alligator snapping turtles rule the water below. One of these reptiles, an albino gator with startling white skin, may steal the lion’s share of the attention, but it’s hard to ignore his neighbors for too long. Snakes, frogs, and salamanders live in smaller tanks nearby, and a biologist often brings a Great horned owl into the exhibit to meet visitors.
What does it take to live underwater? Find out in this innovative exhibit that includes more than 100 aquarium tanks filled with fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and other invertebrates. Once an hour, the lights go down inside the tanks, the room transforms into a 360-degree projection theater, and visitors are immersed in a five-minute video about the most precious resource on the planet: water.