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.

Parking and traffic in Golden Gate Park will be congested the weekend of 4/19–4/20. Save $3 on Academy admission when you take public transportation.

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

Naturalist Notebook 

February 23, 2014

NATURALIST 101 Workshops


Learn basic naturalist skills in these hands-on, small group (20 person) workshops.

For adults and families with children ages 12 and up. 

Upcoming workshops:

Sunday, May 4, 2014
Naturalist 101: Listening to Life
While walking into work, strolling through the park, or sitting on your deck, have you wondered about the sounds around you? What is that animal? Not everyone has binoculars or the time to figure out what’s scurrying or flying by. In this workshop, you’ll master recognizing local animals by the sounds they make.

Please Note: Please enter via the Academy’s Staff and Research Entrance at the back door located at 75 Nancy Pelosi Drive.

Reservations: Members: $10, General $15. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. (Museum Admission not Included) To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


Tuesday, July 29 and Thursday, July 31, 6:15 – 8:15PM

Naturalist 101: Hands-on Skulls, Double Workshop

Scientists can learn many things by looking at an animal’s skull, and so can you! In this two-part workshop, learn the essentials of how to identify local animals by their skulls. Discover what determines if the animal was predator or prey, what it ate, what sense was most important to its survival and more. You’ll get to examine a wide variety of fascinating skulls and specimens, go behind the scenes to see some of the Academy’s collections, visit the new Skulls exhibit, and have the opportunity to attend Thursday’s NightLife!

For adults 21 and up.

Reservations: Members: $24, General $30Check back for ticketing for this workshop.


Topics offered previously include: Botany Basics, Insect Basics, Birding Basics, Skulls Tell It All, and Be a Bay Area Ice Age Tourist. These may be offered again, dates TBD.


Filed under: Uncategorized — nature @ 1:22 pm

February 10, 2014


DROP IN & DISCOVER is a hands-on, naturalist program offered in the Naturalist Center during Sunday Members’ hours, 10am to 11am.


Level 3, across from the Planetarium exit. Free with Academy membership.


January – Microscope Views



What can fur tell us about an animal’s environment? Feel and find out in the Naturalist Center during Members’ Hour Sundays in February.



Ever wonder what owls eat? Dissect an owl pellet in the Naturalist Center! (And you get to keep the bones, if you’d like!)


April 6 — May 11

Snake, Rattle and Roll — Slither up to the Naturalist Center to see how you measure up to some mighty long snakeskins!


May 18 through June

Shell Shock
 — Discover shells of all shapes, sizes, and functions and listen to why they make sound!



Skulls Alive! — Get hands-on with a wide variety of skulls.



Insect Inspectors
  — Become an insect inspector to discover these incredible creatures up close!



Birds, Birds, and More Birds –  Fly up to the Naturalist Center to discover surprising facts about some unique bird specimens!


More monthly themes, TBA.

Filed under: Uncategorized — nature @ 9:53 am

Junior Academy: Naturalist Know-how

February’s skill is

Calls of the WildWhat animal makes that sound?

Canis latrans

Image: Gerald and Buff Corsi © California Academy of Sciences

Sundays at 2pm – 2:45pm (sign-up at 1:30pm) Naturalist Center / Lab (Level 3 across from the Planetarium exit)

This program is designed for youth ages 8 to 11. Youth must be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited to 20 youth with attending adults. Onsite registration is required for this program. It is recommended that you stop by the Naturalist Center a half hour before the program begins in order to register. Free with Academy admission.

Each month a new nature skill will be presented. Variations of the monthly skill will be available each week. This is a 45-minute program.

March’s skill is Observing Changes Watching nature transform.

April’s skill is Soil Sleuthing Learn dirt science and take home a seed-growing experiment.

May’s skill is Naturalists In the Field  Step out and see nature like a scientist.

Please note: There will be no Naturalist Know-how classes on Quarterly Free Sundays,  June 1, 2014 (additional dates TBA).

Filed under: Uncategorized — nature @ 9:05 am

January 27, 2014


Saturday–Sunday, March 29–30, 10:00 AM–5:00 PM

Monday–Friday, March 31–April 4, 11:00 AM–4:00 PM

Saturday–Sunday, April 5–6, 10:00 AM–5:00 PM


Discover a miniscule world where materials have special properties and new technologies have spectacular promise! Find out how gecko feet, butterfly wings, and other things found in nature have inspired some amazing innovations during NanoDays at the Academy’s Naturalist Center (Level 3).

Build a giant nano puzzle, explore how 3D imaging helps scientists work on the nanoscale, and discover a variety of other activities. At various times throughout the week, join educators for fun activities about topics like how blue morpho butterfly wings aren’t really blue, how lotus leaves have inspired stain-resistant fabric, and how some things like DNA and snowflakes assemble themselves in nature. Each day at 3:15 PM, make a cool keepsake and discover what it has to do with the amazing world of nanoscience.

NanoDays is a nationwide festival of educational programs organized by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Network). To find out more about the fascinating world of nanoscience, visit whatisnano.org.

Free with Academy admission.  Naturalist Center at the California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park.  (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

Filed under: Uncategorized — nature @ 11:35 am

October 30, 2013


Naturalist 101 workshop — Sunday, February 2, 2014


Be a Bay Area Ice Age Tourist!

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, there’s a good chance you’re sitting or standing on the very spot where Columbian mammoths, giant sloths, dire wolves, saber-toothed cats, and other megafauna roamed during the Ice Age! Learn about the real giants of San Francisco and how you can embark upon a local journey to see evidence of these extraordinary, extinct animals.

February 2, Sunday 9:45 – noon.  For adults and families with children ages 10 and up. Please note: Sign-in is required by 9:45 at the business reception desk via staff entrance at 75 Nancy Pelosi Drive (rear entry to the Academy).

Reservations: This workshop is sold out. Members: $12, General $15 (does not include admission to the Academy). Space is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member ticket or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831.  You may access information on transportation and parking here.

Image of a dire wolf skull (Canis dirus): Nan Sincero, California Academy of Sciences Naturalist Center

Filed under: Uncategorized — nature @ 2:19 pm
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