55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
94118
415.379.8000
Regular Hours:

Daily

9:30 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday

11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:

Tuesday

8:30 – 9:30 am

Sunday

10:00 – 11:00 am
Closures
Notices

The Academy will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

The Academy will be closing at 3:00 pm on 4/24. We apologize for any inconvenience.

The Academy’s rainforest exhibit will be closed 5/6–5/7 for routine maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Naturalist Notebook 

December 26, 2012

Monarch Waystation

Monarch Waystation
Photo: Anna Barr © California Academy of Sciences



To celebrate ‘Tis the Season for Science at the California Academy of Sciences, seasonal animal behavior and adaptation information is on display throughout the museum. In the Naturalist Center, we are showcasing the amazing migration of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). The population found east of the Rocky Mountains migrate up to three thousand miles south to overwintering sites in central Mexico. Monarch butterflies that live west of the Rocky Mountains spend the winter in the coastal forests of California. Although some butterflies live long enough to complete the annual migration cycle, most of the monarchs heading south are navigating to the winter roosts without having been there before! How they are able to navigate remains a mystery and scientists continue to research this amazing behavior.



You can visit the Naturalist Center to learn more about the monarch butterfly life cycle, migration patterns and current conservation efforts. Throughout the winter at the Naturalist Center, specimens will be on display and monarch butterfly-themed games and resources will be available. You can also take part in the following activities:


  • Make a monarch butterfly using printed origami paper and add it to one of our winter roosting areas!
  • Learn about “monarch waystation” gardens and how you can help monarch butterflies thrive throughout the year by ensuring host plants like milkweed species are abundant.
  • On Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. join us for Specimen Spotlight to learn more about the butterfly life cycle, behavior and migration patterns. Get a close-up view of butterfly wings!



We also encourage you to visit The Xerces Society and Monarch Watch to learn more about monarch butterfly migration and conservation issues.


Filed under: News,Programs,Theme of the Month — nature @ 2:37 pm

May 20, 2012

California Habitats: Part 1

Paige Bardolph © California Academy of Sciences
Paige Bardolph © California Academy of Sciences

It’s Wild California month here in the Naturalist Center, and we have enough resources on display to answer most of your California natural history questions.

While you’re visiting, make sure to take a look at our California habitats exhibit. Each display is jam-packed with specimens from 1 of 6 different key California environments. You may see some familiar faces, but you’re bound to discover some neighbors you never knew you had!


California Coast

Spanning the entirety of the state’s western border, the coast is a shining symbol of California. Besides being a central economic and social component, it’s also home to a plethora of fish, marine mammals, birds, and invertebrates! Just walking along a tide pool reveals a staggering amount of biodiversity, a trend which continues as you look deeper to find kelp forests and hydrothermal vents.

For more information, take a look at the following resources:
http://www.marinebio.net/marinescience/03ecology/tpindex.htm
http://www.lagunaoceanfoundation.org/tidepool_ecology.html
http://life.bio.sunysb.edu/marinebio/rockyshore.html

California Wetlands
From vernal pools to coastal estuaries, California’s wetlands generally act as a transitory space between a body of freshwater and another environment. As a result you can find a fascinating mix of species from differing environments, as well as animals that have adapted to the area’s unique ecological niches.

For more information, take a look at the following resources:
http://www.californiawetlands.net/tracker/
http://www.sccwrp.org/ResearchAreas/Wetlands.aspx
http://www.elkhornslough.org/tidalwetland/downloads/VanDykeWasson2005.pdf
http://ca.water.usgs.gov/projects/sf_eco.html


California Redwood Forest

Towering at heights of 300 feet or more over the forest floor, California redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) are not only impressive icons of the Golden State, but also a hugely influential force on the habitat below. The massive shadows these trees cast limit the amount of sunlight available to other local flora, fundamentally changing the surrounding ecosystem.

For more information, take a look at the following resources:
http://www.savetheredwoods.org/
http://bss.sfsu.edu/holzman/courses/Fall99Projects/redwood.htm
http://www.redwoodecology.org/hemlock.html
http://www.humboldt.k12.ca.us/fortuna_un/5-8/redwood_forest/index.htm


Filed under: Theme of the Month — nature @ 2:17 pm

May 8, 2012

Spotlight On…

Check out this week’s featured specimen!

(Pictured below, really close up!)

5-5-12a
Photo: N. Sincero © California Academy of Sciences

Can you guess what it is?

Here are some hints:

  • Breeding pairs of this species stay together all year round and migrate south with their offspring.
  • They are found in wetlands and agricultural fields.

Leave us a comment with your answer! Then come see us in the Classroom on Sunday, May 13th at 2:30 pm for Science Story Adventures to see if you’re right and to learn more about this animal. Science Story Adventures is our program for children ages 4 – 8 and their caregivers. In the program, we explore the natural world through stories, specimens, games and crafts.


April 16, 2012

Earth Day at the Naturalist Center

Celebrate Earth Day this weekend (April 21-22) at the Academy’s Naturalist Center (located on Level 3). Play Trash Timeline and discover how long it takes for different kinds of garbage to break down. Peruse our book and specimen display on sustainability. Make beautiful recycled envelopes from magazines on Friday and Saturday. Explore the world of recycling in Science Story Adventures (for ages 4-8) on Sunday, 2:30 pm, in the Classroom, next door to the Naturalist Center. And don’t forget to check out the other fun activities going on as part of the Academy’s Earth Day Celebration.

Naturalist Center Hours:

Monday-Friday, 11 am-4 pm

Saturday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm


Filed under: Programs,Theme of the Month — nature @ 4:23 pm

April 11, 2012

Spotlight On…

Check out this week’s featured specimen!

(Pictured below, really close up!)


4-11-12
Photo: John H. Tashjian © California Academy of Sciences

Can you guess what it is?

Here are some hints:

  • This animal prefers habitats near marshes, ponds or sloughs and will often escape into the water if it feels threatened.
  • This animal is endemic to California.



Leave us a comment with your answer! Then come see us in the Classroom on Sunday, April 15th at 2:30 pm for Science Story Adventures to see if you’re right and to learn more about this animal. Science Story Adventures is our program for children ages 4 – 8 and their caregivers. In the program, we explore the natural world through stories, specimens, games and crafts.


Filed under: News,Spotlight On...,Theme of the Month — nature @ 2:17 pm
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