Wednesday, June 20, 2012

California Academy of Sciences

Last weekend we had a very fun and learning adventure. We visited the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Now you already know our love for Museums and Aquariums, they are great places to have fun and learn at the same time. 

The California Academy of Sciences is a Museum, an Aquarium, a Zoo and Planetarium all rolled into one! It is located in the Golden Gate Park. It has 8 different exhibit galleries: Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium, Living Roof, Earthquake Exhibit, Kimball Natural History Museum, Rainforests of the World, Evolving Traditions, Animal Attraction and Project Lab.  

Our day there began with a walk into their Rainforest's of the World exhibit which is amazing! As you walk into the 4 story high dome you can feel the humidity as if you were in a real rainforest, we closed our eyes and listened closely, we felt transported into a real rainforest. 

Each level of this dome represents a different rainforest habitat from Madagascar to Borneo to Costa Rica and the Amazon. Butterflies and birds flying freely all around the dome. They have different types of reptiles and amphibians on display. Here are some images of what we saw:

At the top of the dome you will see many of the butterflies sucking nectar from the beautiful flowers with bright colors that will amaze you. If you stand still they will even land on you. There in the end of the top floor is the elevator which brings you straight down to the Amazonian flooded forest. As you exit the elevator and enter this exhibit it will lead you directly to the Anaconda. {Yes! they have a real Anaconda} While there I found out that the Anaconda is fed about every 3 weeks. Fun right?  

Continue your walk through a tunnel where you will feel underwater in the Amazonian Rainforest and you will see fish and underwater life around you. There you will find some ID cards that include picture and names of the animals in the water. This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy underwater life. 

This is when you enter the Steinhart Aquarium which is fascinating, they have a collection of 38,000 live animals from around the world. There is a section with star fish, sea urchins and seaweeds for guests to explore, touch and hold. {except you can't touch the sea urchin for safety reasons}. 

As we walked up the stairs we were at the Swamp which is home to Claude an American Albino Alligator. 

We then found the Early Explorers Cove which specially designed for children 5 and under to learn and play. This area was great for Adventure Boy, he could explore a "tree" and see a live Box Turtle and Tarantula that are on display. There is also a sailboat in which children can play and learn. Puzzles, building blocks and sensory toys and books make this the perfect area for young children. 

The Islands of Evolution was another family favorite as we learned about Galapagos Turtles and got to see a unique Madagascar Spine Turtle. There is also a large Foucault Pendulum that is in constant movement just as the Earth. 

The Earthquake exhibit was truly amazing, Adventure Dad enjoyed it very much as he learned all about Earthquakes and was in the "Shake House" to experience the 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Loma Prieta and the 7.9 magnitude of San Francisco. This exhibit helps create awareness and get your home prepared in the event of an earthquake. Water, canned goods, battery operated radio, flashlights and blankets are some of the items that are suggested to have in case of an emergency. 

Adventure Mom Tip: The California Academy of Sciences has a restaurant and a café, we enjoyed a delicious lunch from the Café {they have sandwiches, soups, tacos, quesadillas, chicken, fish, vegan items and most importantly when visiting with toddlers milk!} Also make sure you visit the Academy Store at the entrance there you will find "Lemondrop" a 15ft long albino reticulated python. 

The California Academy of Sciences is open Monday - Saturday from 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For more detailed information please click here


  1. Wow! That looks like an awesome place to visit!

    1. It is so much fun! The kids had so much fun and so did we.

  2. I love visiting museums; I'll have to put this one on my bucket list!

    1. Ann, it's a must visit! I had never been to this Museum and now I can't stop talking about it. :) Now I want to take my friends and family when they visit. That is how much we enjoyed it.

  3. That looks like so much fun! Totally going to remember this as one of these days we want to take a trip to SF

    1. Emmy it was fun and time went by so fast while we were there.