I spend most of my time in the fabulous city of San Francisco; I have an arsenal of favorite spots for tasty pastries, art perusing, fun luncheons, and day trip activities that always make SF feel new.
When I want to relax, learn a few things, and be entertained all day, I grab some friends and head over to the Academy of Sciences. It’s packed full of exhibits, some that rotate (right now there is a philippine coral reef exhibit!) and a lot that you can come back and enjoy again and again. Almost everyone can find a favorite animal, they have everything from penguins and manta rays to an albino alligator! One of my favorite spots is a walkthrough multi-tiered rainforest exhibit, where the trees and walls are dripping with every kind of tropical butterfly!
Even from the front this academy looks fairly awesome! Although it has been reimagined and remodeled, it is one of the oldest institutions of its kind.
From the website:
On an evening in 1853—just three years after California joined the United States—seven men assembled in a candle-lit room in San Francisco and founded the first scientific academy west of the Atlantic seaboard.
The California Academy of Sciences soon became one of the west’s most popular destinations, drawing 80,000 visitors annually to gaze at its giant wooly mammoth, lifelike grizzly bears, native plant specimens and rare artifacts.
But when the Great Quake of 1906 struck the city, the Academy’s home and all but a handful of specimens were lost. It would not be the last time that nature exacted a price from those who sought to study, protect and preserve it.
In 1916, the Academy found a new home, the North American Hall in Golden Gate Park, where it grew over the decades to include Steinhart Aquarium, Simson African Hall, Science Hall, the Morrison Planetarium and more.
Then, in 1989, nature again took its toll in the form of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Major structural damage left the Academy in need of another beginning.
The Academy took advantage of this rare opportunity to rethink the Academy and the entire museum-going experience. The new vision: To create an institution for the 21st century – a premier destination of grand design, and one that would bring the latest in scientific research to the public in the most engaging, educational and inspiring way imaginable.
The Steinhart Aquarium is a feast for the eyes. In the tropical reef exhibit colorful coral and anemone along with hundreds of other aquatic plants mingle with a fabulous rainbow of fish. The rays swim in a giant, low-lit pool like silent water bats. If you’re lucky, one might get close enough to the surface to brush your hand. The open ocean tunnel provides a rare opportunity to look at the sea in 180 degrees of schools and water monsters. The jellyfish exhibit, a personal favorite, has more types of this squishy creature than I could ever remember! There really is no age limit to enjoying this wonderful place; go to learn, go to enjoy the view, or go just to be in awe of the animal kingdom.
This guy was particularly impressive! And awake! I wouldn’t want to run into him without a giant pane of glass separating us.
Aren’t zebras all kinds of adorable? This one probably hasn’t been alive for a long time, but that’s not stopping him! The Academy has a hallway filled with these stuffed bad boys to represent the different climate zones around the world.
Another fun tip: for the 21+ they have NightLife at the Academy – a weekly cocktail party with new presentations, special exhibitions, and even a DJ! Who wouldn’t want to dance the night away lit by jellyfish?
xoxo – Caroline