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.

Fly on the Wall 

April 30, 2010

Endangered frog species

Madagascar is home to an extraordinary number of endemic species – species found nowhere else in the world. In fact, among amphibians, there is literally only one among 230 known species which is not endemic. As habitat loss, the pet trade, and environmental contaminants threaten amphibians like mantella frogs, understanding and trying to protect these animals and their habitats is a race against time. Some species, including the brilliantly-colored golden mantella (Mantella aurantiaca), live in tiny, isolated areas, heightening their vulnerability to extinction.

This winter and spring, the Academy’s crack team of aquatic biologists discovered several clutches of eggs in the golden mantella (critically endangered) and green mantella (Mantella viridis, endangered) frog tanks in the rainforest exhibit, and have had success raising them. As of this week, the biologists are caring for over 100 baby frogs in various stages of development. Eighty of the endangered green mantella froglets have come out of the water already, with 20 more on the way in the next couple of weeks.

So what do you feed a baby frog that’s less than half an inch long? When they first metamorphose, tiny green mantellas are just barely big enough to eat a wingless fruit fly, but they do so voraciously. In the case of the newly-metamorphosed golden mantellas, which are even smaller, the food of choice is the springtail, a very small invertebrate.

Eventually, the Academy will share these healthy young frogs with other zoos and aquariums, who share our commitment to raising awareness and learning about these rare rainforest gems.

baby golden mantella frogadult golden mantella frog

Above, left: Baby golden mantella frog, with human hair for scale (copyright Brian Freiermuth, California Academy of Sciences).

Above, right: Adult golden mantella frog (copyright Dr. John P. Clare)

Filed under: Aquarium — Helen @ 3:39 pm

April 20, 2010

“Pierre the Penguin” Hits Bookstores

Courtesy Sleeping Bear Press

Courtesy: Sleeping Bear Press

Two years ago, you may have heard the story of Pierre, the eldest member of our African penguin colony. He was losing his feathers, and this bout of baldness left him shivering on the sidelines while the other penguins frolicked in the water. Pam Schaller, our chief keeper of the penguins, and Celeste Argel, Early Childhood manager (and couturier), designed a neoprene wetsuit to keep Pierre warm. Remarkably, Pierre’s feathers began to grow back. Pam suspects that because he was no longer using all of his energy to stay warm, Pierre was able to divert calories to feather production once again. Now he no longer needs his wetsuit and is content in his natural tuxedo.

Watch a clip of Pierre’s story on Anderson Cooper 360.

Since then, we have been working on a fun project – a children’s book about this endearing true story. I am happy to announce that Pierre the Penguin hits bookstores across the country this month. The book is told in rhyme by noted I SPY author Jean Marzollo, and paired with gorgeous paintings from acclaimed wildlife artist Laura Regan. Here is a sample:

One day aquatic biologist Pam
Observing the penguins, saw one in a jam.
Gently, gently, she examined Pierre.
His feathers were gone.
His bottom was bare.

The story and pictures will make you smile. If you think your children, grandchildren, kids in the neighborhood, or people you meet on the street would like Pierre the Penguin, you can find it in our Academy Store. And during your next visit, don’t forget to say hello to Mr. Comeback Kid himself, Pierre, at the end of African Hall. He has a blue band on his right wing. You can also view the colony from the comfort of your own home using one of three live penguin webcams.

Filed under: Aquarium,Education,Other News — Greg Farrington @ 3:30 pm

Academy Blogroll