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The California Academy of Sciences Grand Opening at 875 Howard
Aquarium and Natural History Museum Open in Downtown San Francisco with a
Welcoming Procession and Festive Family Activities
Saturday, June 19, 2004

(San Francisco) May 4, 2004 -- Fish will swim in new tanks, ants will forage in their habitats, and visitors will see how comets form, in celebration of the California Academy of Sciences' grand opening at 875 Howard Street. The Academy opened its doors for preview days Saturday, May 1, now the Academy celebrates its Grand Opening with a welcoming procession and festive family fun Saturday, June 19, festivities continue through Sunday, June 20.

In the welcoming procession, Saturday, June 19, Howard the Gi-ANT, a huggable costumed ant, will lead welcoming committee members from the Rooftop at Yerba Buena Gardens to 875 Howard Street. The welcoming committee will include community neighbors, Academy members, and other well-wishers. The procession is expected to arrive at the Academy at approximately 10:30 a.m.

Both, Saturday, June 19, and Sunday, June 20, guests who attend the Grand Opening weekend may touch tide pool animals, stop in for children's story time, take a docent-led highlight tour, learn about the Bay Area Ant Survey, and how a comet forms in a comet-making demonstration. A full list of activities taking place both days is on the following pages.

The Academy closed its doors to the public in Golden Gate Park December 31, 2003. Throughout the rebuild, the Academy will be located in a six-story building located at 875 Howard Street. The Academy dedicated two floors to exhibits: Steinhart Aquarium displays thousands of animals including African penguins, vine snakes, and poison dart frogs. The first natural history exhibit, ANTS: Hidden Worlds Revealed displays six live ant colonies, including Leaf Cutter and Army ants. Upstairs, visitors will learn about organisms that survive in harsh conditions in the exhibit entitled, Astrobiology: Life in the Extreme.

Opening Weekend Calendar of Events
All activities are free with museum admission

March with Howard the Gi-ANT - Saturday, June 19; 10 a.m. Howard, a huggable costumed ant will lead a welcoming committee on a mini-march from Yerba Buena Gardens to 875 Howard Street. Welcoming committee members receive free admission, ant antennae, bubbles, and whistles. Reservations required call (415) 321-8122.

Touch Tide Pool - Saturday, June 19, and Sunday, June 20; 10 am-5 pm - Join interns as they narrate the life in the newly-designed touch tide pool. Stop by to see and touch your favorite tide pool animals.

Bats Alive! - Saturday June 19; 2:00 and 3:30 p.m. Come in close contact with live bats and explore their wild side as Patricia Winters, A.KA. "Bat ma'am." shares information about their intriguing habits and conservation.

Highlight Tours - Saturday, June 19, and Sunday, June 20; - Docents lead tours that explore our new aquarium, and two of our newest exhibits Ants and Astrobiology.

Children's Story Time - Saturday, June 19, and Sunday, June 20; 10:30 am - The Academy's story time for children ages 3-7 takes place every Saturday, at 10:30 a.m. for the Academy's grand opening, story time will be held on Sunday as well.

Introduction to the Bay Area Ant Survey - Saturday, June 19, and Sunday, June 20; 12:30 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. - Meet with Academy scientists and learn how to collect your own data and participate in this unique scientific study. The Academy will provide collection materials.

Making Comets - Saturday, June 19, and Sunday, June 20; 2 pm - Using dry ice, Academy docents will discuss what a comet is made of, their orbits, and how to view them. This demo steams, bubbles, and gurgles in simulation of what a comet might do.

DNA Extraction - Saturday, June 19 and Sunday, June 20; 3 pm - Watch and learn as interns spin vegetables to reveal their DNA and discuss the code of life. Interns will teach visitors about the importance and relevance of studying genetic material.

Arthropod World - Sunday, June 20; 2:00 and 3:30 p.m. - Explore the amazing world of arthropods, in this program you may meet live giant African millipedes, thorny phasmids, whip scorpions and more.

The California Academy of Sciences, including Steinhart Aquarium and the Natural History Museum, is open to the public at 875 Howard Street as of Saturday, May 1, Admission to the Academy at 875 Howard Street is: $7 for adults, $4.50 for youth ages 12 to 17, Seniors ages 65+ and students with valid ID, $2 for children ages four to 11 and children ages three and younger will be admitted free of charge. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday. (415) 379-8000.

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