Home > Events > 2008
October 20
"New" California Academy of Sciences

We take Monday off from work to visit the newly renovated California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. It has been closed for several years for rennovation and the new facility early fall, and it's spectacular. Our favorite features is the Tropical Rainforest sphere, the large aquariums, and the Morrison Planetarium show. We arrived early around 9:45am and used our CSAA card for a $3 discount off of the regular price of $24.95. The lines were not terribly long, however numerous schools had outtings that day. Our first stop was the Tropical Rainforest sphere, they controlled the number of people which entered at a time, so as not to be over crowded. You enter the Tropical rainforest at the base of the sphere and then spiral up the ramp to the top elevator. You then descend the elevator into the underwater tunnel, from there you enter the Steinhart Aquarium portion of the museum. On this level (the bottom level) are large aquariums for the California kelp forest and also a Philippine coral reef, very impressive. There is also underwater viewing of the alligator pit. Once back on the main level we went in line to get our tickets for the planetarium show, we barely got the last two tickets for the 1:30pm showing, and it was barely 11:30am when we got the tickets. We then explored the African Hall and then ate lunch in the central Piazza. We didn't realize there is a separate cafeteria where you can also eat lunch. We ended our visit with the Morrison Planetarium show "Fragile Planet" which showcased their new IMAX format and stadium seating. I thought the presentation was spectacular and well worth the money to enter the museum alone!

We left the museum around 2:15pm and headed toward the end of Golden Gate Park where it meets the ocean. We made a quick stop and the Windmills before proceeding up Ocean Avenue toward Sutro Heights Park which is just above the Cliff House. There were some spectacular views of Ocean Beach and the Sunset district from this vantage point. We then drove toward the Land's End parking lot just down the street for magnificant views of Golden Gate bridge. After numerous photo opportunities we headed home.

Click the following names for more information on the places we've seen and visited:
California Academy of Sciences
Windmill History at Golden Gate Park
Sutro Heights Park
Lands End

Alan outside the Tropical Rainforest sphere.

Our first stop was waiting in line for the Tropical Rainforest.

From the Tropical Rainforest line you can see the underwater tunnel.

Once inside the Tropical Rainforest you walk up a spiral path.

Each level of the rainforest depicts a different ecosystem.

Alan near the top of the rainforest.

A panoramic view of the Tropical Rainforest sphere. In the center is the elevator you take down into the bottom level where you walk thru an underwater tunnel to view aquatic Amazon life.


There were numerous displays of exotic reptiles in the tropical rainforest.

I took a picture of our reflection from the top elevator doors.

Toby in the underwater tunnel in the Tropical Rainforest sphere.

The Philippine coral reef exhibit, we were there just in time for the scuba diver feeding.

Alan inside a small 'child' aquarium exhibit dome (luckily there were no kids)

Isn't this the cutest little frog! It's like Jabba the Hut.

The rare albino alligator. The railings are from the old museum.

Another remant from the old museum is this pendulum which proves the earths rotation.

The central Piazza where we had lunch.

Toby with an overview photo of the new museum. Inset: Toby by the aviary where Tim did some contract work.

The new African Hall exhibit reminscent of the old hall.

The penguin exhibit at the end of African Hall.

On the roof of the new museum... the living roof.

Alan and Toby on the roof which depicts the seven hills of San Francisco.

Fwee I had to jump!

You can clearly see the DeYoung museum. Inset: A view of the Academy as seen from the observation tower at the DeYoung.

On a platform overlooking the Morrison Planetarium.

Outside the new museum.

The dutch windmills on the edge of Golden Gate Park.

Alan at Sutro Heights Park just above the Cliff House.

Toby at Sutro Heights Park.

The little structure at Sutro Heights Park.

Toby at Land's End.

Fwee... another great jumping opportunity!!!