The California Academy of Sciences Celebrates its 150th Anniversary

Major Outdoor Festival To Be Held September 6 & 7, 2003

Anniversary Exhibit Runs Through December 31, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO (May 1, 2003) - Before Cable Cars, Golden Gate Park or the Pony Express there was the California Academy of Sciences. Founded in 1853, California's oldest museum will celebrate its 150th year with a special exhibit and a major outdoor festival on September 6 & 7, 2003. The Academy, which is comprised of the Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium and the Natural History Museum, is San Francisco's largest cultural institution, with nearly 800,000 annual visitors.

The Festival

During the weekend of September 6th and 7th the Music Concourse in front of the Academy will be transformed into an outdoor festival featuring two full days of live music taking place on two stages, nature inspired arts and crafts, and a children's play area. Visitors will also enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to soar above Golden Gate Park on a 75-foot Century Ferris wheel that will be brought in for the event. While enjoying free birthday cake and traditional street fair food, guests will have the opportunity to meet Academy scientists and educators and take part in interactive science demonstrations featuring natural curiosities and live animals.

Festival Information:

Who: The California Academy of Sciences

What: The California Academy of Sciences 150th Anniversary Festival

When: Saturday, September 6, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday, September 7, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Music Concourse, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Cost: The Festival is free and open to the public, admission to the museum will remain $8.50 for adults, $5.50 for youth ages 11to17, $2.00 for children ages 4 to 11 and free for children ages 3 and under. Visitors who ride bikes or take public transit will have free admission to the museum.

The Exhibit - 150 Years of Science: Exploring Nature's Wonders

150 Years of Science: Exploring Nature's Wonders features an enormous timeline streaming through the Academy's exhibit halls, giving visitors the opportunity to walk through 150 years of history as they learn how world events and major discoveries have shaped the pursuit of science and the Academy.

Outposts placed in exhibit halls will detail each of the Academy's areas of focus, from the science of herpetology to the craft of designing and building exhibits. These mini-exhibits will allow visitors to learn more about individuals involved in the Academy and their work, using scientific specimens, pictures and historical information.

Throughout the Academy, additional historical markers will highlight innovations like the Academy's coral reef tank or items of historical interest such as the Steinhart Aquarium's 75 year-old Swamp. Visitors will see what these spots were like when they were new and learn why they are significant today.

The Future

Visitors are encouraged to visit the Academy before it moves downtown at the end of 2003 for a comprehensive rebuilding project. The Academy's current location will remain open through December 31, 2003. Our downtown museum and aquarium at 875 Howard Street will open in January 2004. The Academy will reopen in Golden Gate Park in 2008. Models and additional information about the future home of the Academy are currently on display.
About the Academy

The California Academy of Sciences is the oldest scientific institution in the West, founded in 1853 to survey the vast resources of California and beyond. Today it has grown to be one of the ten largest natural history museums in the world, with important exhibitions about natural sciences and human cultures.

The Academy is also an international center for scientific research and is at the forefront of efforts to understand and protect the diversity of life on earth. A staff of over 50 professional educators and Ph.D.-level scientists (supported by more than 100 Research and Field Associates and over 300 Fellows) work in the fields of anthropology, botany, entomology, herpetology, ichthyology, invertebrate zoology and geology, mammalogy and ornithology. Each year, Academy scientists go on dozen of expeditions around the world, conducting groundbreaking environmental research and adding to the Academy's collections of over 18 million scientific specimens.