a visit to the California Academy of Sciences – part one

a visit to the California Academy of Sciences – part one

If you visit San Francisco, and have a couple of hours to spare, a visit to this facility located in Golden Gate Park is well worth the time and the price of admission.  On weekdays, you can usually find parking within walking distance to it.  On weekends, you may have to park your car outside of the park and walk in from either 9th Avenue or 19th Avenue.

There are many exhibits spread out across 2 large floors (plus a large aquarium below the main floor).  There is an area to purchase lunch or a snack, and there is a gift shop.  The program in the planetarium changes from time to time.  This year’s program is on dark matter in the universe (cosmology).  Last year, the program was on plate tectonics and earthquakes.  These programs usually run about 30 minutes or so and are included in the price of admission to the academy.  Without stopping for lunch, 2 hours is about what it takes to see (and enjoy) all the exhibits and the planetarium program.

There are exhibits on animal and human evolution, and on plate tectonics (continental drift).  There is an enclosed tropical rainforest (this is a permanent exhibit or feature of the academy).  There are fossils. There are stuffed land animals.  There are living butterflies and birds and snakes.  There is an exhibit on Native American pottery from the southwest US.  In one area, you can push a button and see how the continents have moved across the globe over the past 200 million years.  A large rotating globe of the Earth shows the tectonic plate boundaries.  Step inside one exhibit, and you experience what it feels like to be in a powerful earthquake.  (This simulator was very realistic and makes one feel as helpless as when you are in a real quake!)

Here is the link to the academy’s website:


The photos offered below are from our visit last week on 28 April.  We actually visited this facility on the same date last year, 28 April, and put together a photo essay of that visit. That essay was not well received as there were no likes for it.  Even so, here is the link to it for new readers:


We will try not to duplicate any images from last year’s visit.

While walking towards the entrance at midday, we were greeted by a group of 2nd or 3rd grade children with a few adults leaving after what must have been a school field trip to the academy.

This photo was taken when leaving the facility in mid-afternoon.




As Lucy, our blog’s photographer, really liked the aquarium and the butterflies in the rainforest, we will present these images first.


aquarium photo 4






Beautiful fish.


fish in aquarium


In another tank, under different lighting we see these.


aquarium photo 2


Another example.


aquarium photo 3


Much to see in the aquarium area.


aquarium photo 5


Another sample.




This next image is from the main level near the entrance.  There is a large, shallow pool with various fishes (mostly rays) swimming around.  From the railing, one can photograph these.


sting ray in pool


At the top-level of the tropical rainforest, there are many butterflies of various colors and sizes.  These will fly right by you and land near you on the surrounding plants.  You can glimpse areas where steam is being released into the air to warm the air and increase the humidity.  This is to make this miniature environment tropical.


info on butterflies


Here we present two pictures we took processed into one.  Our photographer was able to get very close to these butterflies.


collage of butterflies


There were multiple snakes in this glass enclosure.




On the second floor walkway that connects the exit of the planetarium with the rest of the second floor, we see suspended in the air a fossil skeleton of a marine dinosaur.  We’re guessing the seats seen below are for when talks are given.


marine fossil


We’ll try to get part two ready for posting in a few days or so.

Copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com

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