California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences is one of the nations largest natural history museums. It houses over 26 million specimens according to wiki and is located in Golden Gate Park.

The Academy started in 1853 as an educational society and still does a lot of their own research today.

In 1916, the Academy moved to Gold Gate Park to the North American Hall of Birds and Mammals. 1923, the Steinhart Aquarium was added, and in 1934, the Simson African Hall was added. The building you see today was rebuilt and reopened on September 27,  2008 and covers 400,000 square feet. It was designed by Renzo Piano.

The building consists of a green roof that Piano designed by his inspiration of San Francisco hills.

The Academy contributed to WWII by using their workshop to repair navigational and optical equipment for the US Navy ships. SF was a major port for the Pacific theater during the war.

This place is amazing. We were really wowed. This is one of our favorite natural history museums. We only had a limited amount of time in SF and Vic wasn’t sure we should go out of our way to get to Cal Academy. I told him, ” We have to go, it’s a must see.” After seeing the first tank all Vic could say was, “I want to swim in there.”

We spent the whole day here. We enjoyed the strong conservation message they have. Cal Academy and the Monterey Aquarium are our favorites. It’s a fun place for kids of all ages.

Thursday nights from 6-10pm, it’s adult time at the aquarium. There’s music, cocktails and the exhibits. They also have sleepover nights for families.

Imagine a sleepover at an aquarium – it would be AMAZING!


13 thoughts on “California Academy of Sciences

    1. We really like Golden Gate Park, there’s so much to see. 2019 we’re planning Utah for the train thing and SF. We’ve been researching my family history on and off and I kinda want to go back to SF. My Chinese great grandpa was either born in SF or Oakland. My dad’s paternal side has always been a mystery for us. It’s kind of fun finding newspaper articles and whatever info we can find.

  1. I’ve only been once, many years ago and I’d agree it’s my favorite natural history museum (not that I’ve been to a lot of them.) The Steinhart is cool, but so is Monterey Bay.

    1. This and Monterey our our favorites. They kind of ruined other aquariums they always get compared to these two. We haven’t been to a lot either though. Muir Woods also kind ruined most trees – not ruined but you know, we end up thinking, “Hummm, I think Muir Woods trees were taller.”

  2. I would say wow too to this place. I like the outside look as well. That is quite exotic structure. This is the the place that I would love to visit.

  3. I love the Academy of Sciences! I’d go there a lot more often if it wasn’t so expensive. I get that aquariums are costly to maintain, but the admission price keeps a lot of low-income families from visiting, which is too bad. I think every child in the Bay Area should have the opportunity to visit this place. It’s an “experience-rich field trip;” if I had the money, I’d buy tickets for all of my students this past year to see the Academy.

    Did you see the crocodile “pit?” It dates back to when I was a little girl, though I’m sure the crocs from back then are all gone. I used to have nightmares about falling in there and being eaten by the crocodiles! They have an albino crocodile named Claude, which I didn’t notice until my visit to the Academy two years ago.

  4. Oh yes, I have seen that kind of green roof in San Francisco, I remember it! I find the idea very cool. The Golden Gate park was a good fun, we also love the Japanese Tea garden over there, that was so pretty!

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