What's On in December at the California Academy of Sciences
Exhibits, Events, Courses, and Lectures

EXHIBITS

African Penguin Colony – ongoing exhibit
Watch as The Academy’s African penguins dip and dive in their new tank, which contains four times as much water and nearly twice as much land as their previous home. Enjoy feeding shows every day at 11 am and 3:30 pm. During the shows, visitors may watch and ask questions as one the Academy’s aquatic biologists dons a wet suit, takes temperature measurements, and then tosses vitamin-stuffed herring and capelin to the penguins. Each feeding takes 20 minutes. Open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. (415) 379-8000.

HOTSPOT: California on the Edge - November 19, 2005 through August 6, 2006
Meet live frogs, salamanders, and insects. Find endangered species. Explore six unique habitats. And discover how cool California really is in HOTSPOT: California on the Edge. Curated by Academy scientists, this hot new exhibit will open your eyes to the stunning biodiversity that exists within California and explain why the state has been designated as one of the world’s 34 “biodiversity hotspots.” Open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. California Academy of Sciences, 875 Howard Street. (415) 379-8000.

SSsssnake Alley – ongoing exhibit
They’re scaly, slinky, and slithery, and they line the walls of a winding passageway called SSsssnake Alley. View Steinhart Aquarium residents that formerly made their home in the Swamp in Golden Gate Park , including the anaconda, ball python, pine snake, vine snakes, African rock python, California kingsnake, ground boas, and emerald tree boas. Stop by and say hello to some of your favorite slithering snakes. Open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. California Academy of Sciences, 875 Howard Street. (415) 379-8000.

Coral Reef – ongoing exhibit
View a two-story, 20,000-gallon coral reef tank that features dozens of tropical reef fish as well as a wide variety of colorful corals. Children will especially love seeing the common clownfish (often called Nemo) and the blue tang (otherwise known as Dory). Wetsuit-clad divers enter the tank every Monday and Wednesday afternoon at 2 pm to care for the corals and clean the tank walls. Academy biologists are using this enormous tank to test ideas for the even larger 212,000-gallon coral reef tank that will be a part of the New Academy when it opens in Golden Gate Park in 2008. Open every day from 10 am - 5 pm. California Academy of Sciences, 875 Howard Street. (415) 379-8000.

Discovery Tide Pool – ongoing exhibit
During your next trip to the aquarium, don’t let the fish have all the fun – start splashing at the Discovery Tide Pool, where visitors can handle a few of the animals that live along the California coastline, including turban snails, hermit crabs, and sea cucumbers. The tidepool is staffed from 10 am until 5 pm every day with naturalists and trained nature lovers who can answer questions about the animals and their habitat. Open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. California Academy of Sciences, 875 Howard Street. (415) 379-8000.

 

DECEMBER EVENTS

PENGUIN FEEDINGS
Every Day at 11 am & 3:30 pm
During daily penguin feeding shows, visitors may watch and ask questions as one of the Academy’s aquatic biologists dons a wet suit and tosses vitamin-stuffed herring and capelin to the penguins. Each feeding takes 20 minutes. Free with museum admission.
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

SCAVENGER HUNT
Every Day from 10 am – 5 pm
Ask questions, follow the clues, and explore the Academy’s many exhibits on a self-guided scavenger hunt. In the end, collect a fun prize for all your efforts! Appropriate for children ages 5 and over. Free with museum admission.
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

ILLUSTRATING THE SIERRA NEVADA
Tuesdays through Fridays, December 1-21 from 10:30 am – 5 pm
Watch as naturalist and artist Jack Laws illustrates a field guide to Sierra Nevada wildlife and try your hand at scientific illustration. Free with museum admission.
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

SKY FRIDAYS
Fridays, December 2, 9, and 16 at 12:30 pm & 2:30 pm
Join an Academy educator for fun, interactive presentations on a variety of astronomical topics, from the Earth to the farthest reaches of the universe. Appropriate for children ages 5-12. Free with museum admission.
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

SNAKE FEEDING
Fridays, December 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 at 2 pm
Watch as an Academy biologist feeds the anaconda, python, vine snakes, and more, while answering all your SSsssnake-related questions. Free with museum admission.
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

SCIENCE ILLUSTRATION DEMONSTRATION
Fridays, December 2, 9, and 16 at 4 pm
Watch an illustrator create images for scientific publication. Free with museum admission.
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

CHILDREN’S STORY TIME
Saturdays, December 3, 10, and 17 at 10:30 am
Children ages 3-7 can enjoy stories featuring our very own state of California . Free with museum admission.
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. (415) 379-8000.www.calacademy.org.

STELLAR SATURDAYS
Saturdays, December 3, 10 and 17 at 12:30 pm & 2:30 pm
Join an Academy educator for fun activities on stars just like (and not like) our very own Sun. Appropriate for children ages 5-12. Free with museum admission.
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. (415) 379-8000.www.calacademy.org.

GREEK AND ARMENIAN MUSIC
Saturday, December 3 at 1 pm
In a program entitled From Mt. Olympus to Mt. Ararat, the Koroyar Ensemble performs music from the eastern Mediterranean region, including love songs and ancient dance melodies, all to the rhythm of the dumbeg (goblet-shaped drum) and daouli (double-headed drum). Free with museum admission.
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

CALIFORNIA ARACHNIDS
Sundays, December 4 and 18 at 11:30 am & 2 pm
Get up close and personal with live tarantulas and scorpions, and discover the fascinating secret life of these misunderstood arachnids. Free with museum admission.
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

KEY TO CALIFORNIA CREATURES
Sundays, December 4, 11, and 18 at 1:30 pm
Wednesdays, December 7, 14, 21, and 28 at 1:30 pm
Have you ever wanted to identify a spider that you found outside your window, a shell on the beach, or an ant in your kitchen? Come see and touch some of the Academy’s California specimens while you practice using keys to identify various plants and animals. Bring in your own treasures from the natural world, and we’ll help you figure out what they are. Free with museum admission.
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. (415) 379-8000.www.calacademy.org.

CORAL REEF CARETAKING
Mondays, December 5, 12, 19, and 26 at 2 pm
Wednesdays, December 7, 14, 21, and 28 at 2 pm
Watch as an Academy biologist suits up in SCUBA gear and dives into the Academy’s two-story Coral Reef tank to care for the reef’s inhabitants. During this 20-minute dive, the biologist will clean the tank windows and feed the anemones and fish. A second biologist will be on hand to answer questions. Free with museum admission.
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

THIRD THURSDAY
Thursday, December 15 from 5-9 pm
Filled with cocktails, conversation, and corals, the Academy after-hours is the place to be on the third Thursday of every month. Explore the exhibits while listening to chill music and enjoying a no-host bar. $5 admission.
California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

DECEMBER COURSES & LECTURES

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2
Late Autumn Stargazing at the SF Botanical Gardens
Led by Bing Quock of the Morrison Planetarium
Join a night-sky viewing session on the beautiful grounds of the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park , including a laser-guided tour of the heavens, highlighting the more notable star patterns visible to the unaided eye, then a deeper exploration with binoculars and a telescope.  Dress warmly, bring a quality pair of binoculars (if you have them), a red-colored flashlight to preserve your night-vision, and your curiosity about the night sky!  Class is cancelled in the event of cloudy weather. 6 – 7:30 pm; $8 members (families $13), $12 non-members (families $18); SF Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park , San Francisco. For more information, call (415) 661-1316.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3
From the Ocean to the Bay
Field Trip with Chris Giorni
Join us on an amazing San Francisco safari. Stroll by chert outcrops and coyote brush-covered hills to the mouth of the Bay at Fort Point and onto the sandy shores of Crissy Field beach, bustling with double-crested cormorants and brown pelicans. Investigate the rocky intertidal zones, where mussels, rock isopods, and crabs dwell. Then return to the Golden Gate Bridge vista point with a new sense of the interconnected landscapes that lie right under our nose in this nature-in-the-city adventure. Suitable for families with children ages 5 and up. 10 am – 1 pm ; $30 members, $40 non-members; Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point, San Francisco . To register, call (415) 379-8000.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20
Lions and Livestock in Africa
Lecture by Laurence Frank, Ph.D.
Fewer than 25,000 African lions remain today. Outside of protected parks, humans and lions have come into increasing conflict as livestock replace wild prey as the lions’ main targets. In Kenya , the Laikipia Predator Project and the Kilimanjaro Lion Conservation Project have shown that livestock are effectively protected from lions by ancient African herding practices such as close herding, thornbush night enclosures, and guard dogs. Project director Laurence Frank describes how his research on the lions living in livestock country, as well as knowledge of traditional Masai practices, provides hope for lion-livestock coexistence. 2 pm and 7:30 pm ; free for members, $8 non-members; California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. Purchase t ickets by calling (415) 379-8000 or at the door, when available.

 

The California Academy of Sciences, including Steinhart Aquarium and the Natural History Museum, is open to the public at 875 Howard Street. 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 free for children ages three and younger. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm every day. www.calacademy.org (415) 379-8000.

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