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


9:30 am – 5:00 pm


11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:


8:30 – 9:30 am


10:00 – 11:00 am

Please note: The Academy will be closing at 3:00 pm on 10/24 (final entry at 2:00 pm). We apologize for any inconvenience.

Parking and traffic in Golden Gate Park will be congested the weekend of Oct. 3–5. Save $3 on Academy admission when you take public transportation.

Naturalist Notebook 

July 5, 2013

Cruise Our Underwater Highway


Photo: Lila Garza © California Academy of Sciences


The California Academy of Sciences’ new Built for Speed exhibit, presented through September 29, 2013,  examines the physical adaptations and characteristics of various ocean animals as they relate to speed and movement.


Here in the Naturalist Center, we are highlighting ocean motion and animal locomotion. We have created an underwater highway system illustrating the ocean currents that various animals use to get around. Sailfish, sharks and other fast-lane movers may use surface currents to increase their speed while whales, turtles and other long-haul travelers use deeper ocean currents to carry them long distances. Seafloor travelers often move up and down through the water column. You can learn about the anatomy and travel habits of ocean animals by using the materials available at our craft table to make an animal of your choice and add it to our highway. Set your animal friend on a summer road-trip adventure under the sea!


You can learn more about marine animal anatomy and behavior at our Specimen Spotlight program, “Speedy Species,” Saturday afternoons at 2:00 in the Naturalist Center.





Filed under: Programs — nature @ 3:17 pm

January 18, 2013

Dinos Amongst Us

As regular visitors of the Naturalist Center know, our real Camarasaurus lentus leg bone (that you can touch) and dinosaur coprolite (fossilized poop) are quite impressive! If you haven’t seen these Jurassic fossils, come visit soon, as they’re part of a temporary display.

And, if you’re looking for even more dinos, check out this petting zoo performance from one of our partners:

Created and Performed by
ERTH – Visual & Physical Inc.

ERTH’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo

Gather the kids for a visit to a petting zoo like none other! Life-like puppets, from cute baby dinos to teeth-gnashing tyrannosaurs, come to life in an eye-popping performance that will delight all ages. This interactive event allows you to travel back to prehistoric times with ERTH performers and even feed, water and care for these marvelous creatures. The meganuera, dwarf allosaur and leallynasaura can’t wait to be petted and fed. Dare you get close?

“Technical brilliance, cultural insight and enchantment all in one go.”
Sydney Morning Herald

Standard:    $18 | Members $16 | Students $14

Saturday, Feb 2  Jewish Community Center of San Francisco

Starts at: 11:00 am and 2:00 pm

Filed under: News,Programs,Uncategorized — nature @ 3:04 pm

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

September 20, 2012

Sea Otter Awareness Week at the Academy

Photo: Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles © California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is home to the world’s largest collection of skulls, skeletons and other preserved samples of the southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis). Celebrate the 10th annual Sea Otter Awareness Week here at the Academy between September 23–29, 2012. Throughout the week, select research specimens will be on display in the Project Lab and sea otter-themed games and resources will be available in the Naturalist Center and the Early Explorers Cove (an activity area for children under five and their adult friends).
In addition, join us for the following activities:

  • Sunday, Sept. 23, 2:30 pm: Science Story Adventures, featuring stories, games and crafts for children ages 4-8 in the Education Classroom.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 25, 11:30 am and 2:00 pm, and Thursday, Sept. 27, 11:30 am: Specimen Spotlight, highlighting sea otter research specimens in the Naturalist Center.
  • Thursday, Sept. 27, 6:00-10:00 pm: NightLife for ages 21 and up, showcasing sea otter skulls being prepared as specimens and a special table with biologists and specimens outside the Project Lab.
  • Friday, Sept. 28, 11:00 am-4:00 pm: Naturalist Center Crafts. Make a sea otter kelp bed!

Filed under: News,Programs — nature @ 2:19 pm

September 12, 2012

Celebrate Claude’s 17th Hatchday!

Our favorite alligator, Claude, turns 17 this Saturday, Sept. 15. Help us celebrate his hatchday!

Photo: Ron DeCloux © California Academy of Sciences

Learn about alligators and how to tell them apart from crocodiles during our “Specimen Spotlight” program tomorrow, Sept. 13, at 11:30 am in the Naturalist Center. Stay afterward to play games and browse books featuring crocodilians, reptiles whose ancient ancestors date back to the time of the dinosaurs.

Stop by the Naturalist Center anytime between 11 am-4 pm on Friday, Sept. 14, to make a very fashionable Claude hat for this week’s “Naturalist Center Craft.” Be sure to wear it proudly around the museum after you’re done!

Photo: N. Sincero © California Academy of Sciences

Filed under: News,Programs — nature @ 8:57 am
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