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

The Academy will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Planetarium will be closed Sep. 22, 23, 24

Naturalist Notebook 

October 30, 2011

Who Pooped?


Photo: N. Sincero 2011, Scat Wrangler: S. Sumrall, Scat courtesy of the Academy Docent Specimen Collection

This scat can be found in the grasslands, savannas and open country of Africa. The animal that makes this scat eats low quality grasses, which pass through its digestive system quite quickly. Therefore, the scat generally includes a good deal of coarse undigested material.

Who pooped?

Leave a comment below with your guess. We will reveal the answer in the comments section on Wednesday, November 2nd.

If you have your own natural history mystery (an unidentified animal, plant or other specimen), send a photo or two to naturalist@calacademy.org. We’ll do our best to help out. Please include location, date and any other details that seem pertinent.

Filed under: Who Pooped — nature @ 8:46 am

October 27, 2011

Halloween at the Naturalist Center

Get into the Halloween spirit at the Naturalist Center on Level 3. Stop by to enjoy our creepy crawly puzzles and games. Learn about lesser long-nosed bats while you put your creativity to work on this great coloring sheet. Discover our many interesting specimens while playing the Creepy Crawly Scavenger Hunt (in English and Spanish) and get a spooktacular prize!

Creepy Crawy Scavenger Hunt

Photo: Naturalist Center © California Academy of Sciences

Filed under: News,Programs — nature @ 12:13 pm

October 26, 2011

Science Story Adventures: Spiders

Photo: Black widow spider (Latrodectus mactans). George W. Robinson © California Academy of Sciences

Click here for the Spiders online handout.

Each week in the Naturalist Center, we take elementary school-aged children on Science Story Adventures. We look at a different theme connected with the natural world and the exhibits in the Academy, and explore it through stories, activities and crafts.

Now you can continue your adventure at home with this online handout. It includes the planned learning outcomes of the Science Story Adventure, which are usually drawn from the Science Content Standards for California Public Schools. Can’t remember the title of the books we read or how to do that craft? It’s on the sheet. We’ve also included a list of resources – books, DVDs or websites – for further exploration.

Filed under: Science Story Adventures Handouts — nature @ 12:57 pm

Spotlight On…

Check out this week’s featured specimen!

(Pictured below, really close up!)


Can you guess what it is?

Here are some hints about this animal:

  • A nocturnal hunter, this animal preys on mice, insects, and small frogs and lizards.
  • It is the most common species used in movies due to its large size and interesting coloration.

Leave us a comment with your answer! Then come see us in the Classroom on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 2:30 pm for Science Story Adventures to see if you’re right. 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: Spotlight On... — nature @ 7:33 am

October 25, 2011

Just for Girl Scouts!

Photo: Naturalist Center © California Academy of Sciences

The Naturalist Center offers two fun opportunities for Girl Scouts to learn more about sustainability and rainforests:

Living Eco-Wise Patch
For Juniors (Grades 4-5)

Discover what makes the Academy the greenest museum in the world—from our reused blue jean insulation to our amazing Living Roof covered with native plants. Increase your eco-awareness doing fun activities like making your own recycled-art masterpiece. Explore the museum on your own before and after the program. To register, call 800-794-7576:
Sat., Nov. 19, 2011, 10 am–noon
Sat., Feb. 11, 2012, 10 am–noon

Rainforest Expedition Patch
For Brownies and Juniors (Grades 2-5)
Set out on a self-guided adventure, taking a closer look at tropical rainforests, the biodiversity found within them, and the important roles they play in the global ecosystem. Print patch requirements and chaperone/troop leader information from the Naturalist Center webpage before you visit or pick them up from the Naturalist Center when you arrive.

Coming to the Academy with 10 or more people? Bring your scouts at the special group rate! Register online with the user ID “GirlScoutsNorCal” and the password “alligator.” Then click on “General Admission Tickets.”

Filed under: News,Programs — nature @ 2:06 pm
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