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.

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Naturalist Notebook 

October 9, 2011

Science Story Adventures: Sharks

Photo: Whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus), Doug Lin © California Academy of Sciences.

Click here for the Sharks 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 @ 10:30 am

October 6, 2011

Penguins in Africa?

Lots of visitors are surprised by the fact that our penguins are in African Hall. But our birds are actually African penguins (Spheniscus demersus), the only living penguin species native to this continent.

Photo: © California Academy of Sciences

This weekend we’re joining lots of other organizations, including SANCCOB and the Audubon Nature Institute, in celebrating African Penguin Awareness Day.

Join us for Specimen Spotlight on Friday, October 7th at 11:30 am in front of the Project Lab to get up close to penguin specimens and learn some neat facts about these amazing birds, which are now considered endangered. Then come up to the Naturalist Center, where we’ll be doing a cool African penguin craft all day Friday and Saturday, October 7th & 8th.

Photo: Nan Sincero © California Academy of Sciences

Read one of our engaging penguin books.

Photo: Nan Sincero © California Academy of Sciences

Last but definitely not least, don’t miss catching one of the Academy’s penguin feedings in African Hall everyday at 10:30 am & 3:00 pm. To learn more about our penguin colony and see them anytime, anywhere in the world, be sure to check out our Live Penguin Cams and Blog!

Filed under: News,Programs — nature @ 4:08 pm

October 4, 2011

Spotlight On…

Check out this week’s featured specimen!

(Pictured below, really close up!)

Photo: N. Sincero 2011

Can you guess what it is?

Here are some hints:

  • Scientists have found 300,000-year-old fossils of this species.
  • Today, this animal is endangered; its rapid population decline is probably due to shifts in its prey populations as a result of commercial fishing.

Leave us a comment with your answer! Then come see us outside the Project Lab on Friday, October 7th at 11:30 AM for Specimen Spotlight in order to find out if you’re right.

Filed under: Spotlight On... — nature @ 8:41 am

October 3, 2011

Cool Use for the Naturalist Center #507

Photo: N. Sincero 2011

Are you an artist or future artist?

We love having artists and students of all ages and abilities come in and sketch! Our specimens provide inspiration and the opportunity to sharpen your skills.
This week we were visited by Academy of Art University students from an animal drawing and anatomy class.

Photo: N. Sincero 2011

Photo: N. Sincero 2011

Photo: N. Sincero 2011

We can’t wait to see how their projects turn out!

Filed under: News — nature @ 10:31 am

October 1, 2011


Photo: Dong Lin © California Academy of Sciences

October is member appreciation month here at the Academy. We’re very grateful for our members; not only do we enjoy lending them books and seeing them so frequently, but we also appreciate their commitment to supporting the mission of the Academy. There will be lots of special members-only programs and discounts this month, including feedings, special talks and even cookie-decorating with our chefs. If you’re not a member, you can join today and save 15% with the promo code: SHARKMEM3.

Photo: S. Sumrall 2011

Here in the Naturalist Center we’re proud to be the Shark Command Center! We have lots of things for everyone to do. We have a Swim with the Sharks display, where you can examine specimens up close and then dive in deeper with some great books and DVDs. We have puzzles and a pelagic thresher shark coloring sheet. You can sharpen your naturalist skills by playing Shark Tooth Buffet, deciding which shark teeth work best for capturing different types of prey.

Photo: S. Sumrall 2011

We will also have shark-themed programs:

  • At Specimen Spotlight (in front of the Project Lab, Friday October 14 and 21 at 11:30 am), we’ll share some of our favorite shark trivia tidbits and let you handle some of our favorite shark specimens.
  • At Science Story Adventures (in the classroom, Sunday October 9 and 23 at 2:30 pm), kids 4-8 and their families are welcome to join us for some great stories, specimens and a craft.

Details of all the museum’s events are available on our Sharktober page.

Filed under: News — nature @ 10:18 am
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