California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse Drive
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA 94118

Museum Hours
Monday – Saturday
9:30 am – 5:00 pm
11:00 am – 5:00 pm

General Adult Admission: $29.95
Check the website for various other prices

Originally opened as the The California Academy of Natural Sciences in 1853, the California Academy of Sciences is an incredibly popular and rather unique museum located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate park. The Academy seems to have a bad relationship with the San Andreas fault, first being almost completely destroyed during the 1906 earthquake(including a rather awesome looking wooly Mammoth) and then damaged again in 1989 in the Loma Prieta earthquake.

Rebuilding was completed in 2008 with a crap-ton of energy efficient components and currently features the following exhibits:

Stienhart Aquarium
Home to over 38,000 live animals from around the world, including the Philippines, the Northern California Coast, and various rainforests and swamps.

Claude the albino alligator

Terrifying Alligator Gars. No really, terrifying, just watch the Gar episode of river monsters.

Jellyfish, the color is from the changing lights in the tank, they aren’t really dayglo red.

The underwater tunnel beneath the rainforest exhibit.

The giant anaconda which will eat you and all that you love.

Morrison Planetarium
No pics as the presentation is copy written, the Planetarium is shaped more like a very steep Imax theater instead of the traditional theater in the round that most planetariums have. The current presentation “Life: A Cosmic Story” covers the beginnings of life on earth as well as our search for life on other planets. Awesomely enough, it’s narrated by Jodi Foster.

The Academy Cafe and Moss Room
The Moss Room is a full service restaurant that looked tasty but was far too expensive for me to try out. I did, however eat at the cafe which had a nice selection of foods (traditional sandwhiches, salads and soups as well as tacos, steamed buns, spring rolls and italian selections.

My incredibly tender fish and chips. I made it through about half.

Rainforests of the World
A four story domed rainforest filled with all kinds of critters including free flying butterflies and birds. The inside is VERY hot and humid so be sure that you have layers that you can remove once inside.

Inside the dome.

Looking down into the aquarium

Orb Weaver spiders, scarey and fascinating at the same time.

Kimball Natural History Museum
Exhibts hear focus heavily on life on earth, the beginnings, evolution and maintenance thereof. Sections on Africa, Madagascar, the Galapagos islands and a big ass Foucault Pendulum.

The adorable, and living African Penguins.

The less living and far more creepy dioramas. I know it’s very traditional for a natural history museum to have dioramas but the forever frozen in motion setups always give me the wiggins.

Staring down the giant ass blue whale skeleton.

Evolving Traditions: Southwest Native Pottery and Silver

A traveling exhibit featuring pottery, figurines and jewelry of the Navaho Tradition. I particularly liked the storyteller figurine who seems to be carrying around a bunch of kids like she was a momma spider.

The Living Roof

Featuring 1.7 million native plants, you can’t actually walk on most of the roof, but it is cool to go check out on a sunny day.

Awesome-O-Meter 4 Awesomes. It really is a very unique museum/academy/aquarium/thingy with a lot of space and exhibits to explore, I think I managed to blow about 3 hours there (including the half hour planetarium show). The price is fairly steep, but nothing outrageous. I look forward to my next visit and am tempted to go on the behind the scenes tour to get a more complete experience.


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