Press Release

Stephanie Stone (415) 379-5121
sstone@calacademy.org
Kelly Mendez (415) 379-5133 kmendez@calacademy.org

California Academy of Sciences
Exhibits Overview

2014

The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is home to an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and four-story rainforest, all under one living roof. New and ongoing exhibits and programs offer visitors of all ages fun, engaging opportunities to explore the natural world. All exhibits are included with Academy admission.


EXHIBITS


 
Upcoming! Skulls – opening May 16, 2014
Every skull tells a story. As unique as a thumbprint, skulls act as roadmaps in the scientific quest to understand how vertebrate animals live, die, and ultimately, evolve. In this new exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences, explore the science of skulls—from teeth and jaws that allow animals to hunt and consume food, to eye sockets that support advanced vision to escape predators. Walk along a wallscape of sea lion skulls, watch a live colony of dermestid beetles demonstrate just why they’re known as “bone cleaners,” and discover how scientists use the Academy’s collection of skulls to uncover evolutionary clues about our natural world.
 
Animal Attraction – ongoing exhibit
From fish that can change sex to insects that eat their mates, explore some of the wildest mating strategies in the animal kingdom in this revealing new exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences. Delve into the science of sex as you encounter live animals that have evolved remarkable and often surprising techniques for attracting mates and producing offspring. Meet snails that shoot "love darts" at one another, octopuses that are literally willing to lose an arm for the chance to mate, barnacles that win the award for most well-endowed, and more than a dozen other notable creatures. Museum specimens from around the world provide windows into additional mating and courtship practices, and interactive iPad labels offer slideshows and video footage of some of the most fascinating reproductive behaviors. You'll never think of the birds and the bees the same way again.


This summer! California Coast – ongoing exhibit
Starting June 6, 2014, the Academy’s California Coast exhibit will offer stunning new views and insights into the spectacular underwater ecosystems in our own backyard, from kelp forests filled with leopard sharks and wolf eels to rocky reefs blanketed in vibrant pink anemones and colorful corals. A new, 2,000-gallon tank filled with brittle stars, painted greenlings, and rosy rockfish will give visitors a glimpse into the stunning communities that thrive in California’s National Marine Sanctuaries. Interactive displays and graphics will allow visitors to track the extraordinary migration pathways of sea turtles, sharks, and other long-distance travelers. New information and programs will shed light on the remarkable biodiversity that thrives in our 100,000-gallon Gulf of the Farallones tank. And a Citizen Science station will allow guests to contribute to an ongoing Academy research project—and to help protect California’s vibrant and vital coastal ecosystems. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5:00pm; Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
 
Earthquake – ongoing exhibit
Prepare to be moved! Delve into the science behind earthquakes and learn how societies prepare for and respond to these destructive phenomena. Experience a high-magnitude jolt in our earthquake simulator, fly over and into our dynamic planet in an immersive planetarium show, and explore the impacts of the largest disaster in San Francisco’s history—the 1906 earthquake and fire. Along the way, you’ll see how earthquakes fit into the larger story of plate tectonics, a constant process that builds mountains, moves continents, and creates the landscape in which life evolves or goes extinct. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5:00pm; Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
 
Evolving Traditions: Southwest Native Pottery and Silver – ongoing exhibit
Drawn from the Academy’s anthropology collections, this new exhibit highlights Native American pottery and silver jewelry created by members of the Navajo, Hopi and Zuni tribes, and by the Rio Grande Pueblos. Pieces range from the dramatic black-on-black pottery of Maria and Julian Martinez to the wrought silver bracelets of Kenneth Begay and others. Pieces from the 1920s through modern day document that certain designs and patterns persist. As they are carried on by successive generations, they are also simultaneously modified as the tradition evolves. A video display shows potters and jewelers at work. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5:00pm; Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
 
Human Odyssey – ongoing exhibit
Did you know that humans almost went extinct 90,000 to 70,000 years ago? Trace the milestones of our species' fascinating history in Human Odyssey, a dramatic new addition to Tusher African Hall at the Academy. Compare fossils of early human relatives, walk alongside a computer animation of the famous "Lucy" skeleton, map our species' extensive journey across the world, and follow the clues that scientists—including noted paleoanthropologist and Academy curator Zeray Alemseged—use to investigate our past. You'll discover why the 7 billion people on the planet today are much more alike than you might think.
 
Islands of Evolution – ongoing exhibit
Visit the remote islands of Madagascar and the Galapagos through the eyes of Academy scientists, and discover why islands function as laboratories for evolution. Examine specimens collected during Academy research expeditions, including Galapagos tortoise shells. Learn how scientists search for new species, and then put your new knowledge into practice, netting virtual butterflies with Wii gaming wands and setting pit-fall traps for virtual beetles. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5:00pm; Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
 
Living Roof – ongoing exhibit
Stop and smell the wildflowers during a visit to the Academy’s living roof, a 2.5-acre expanse of native California plants. Part of the museum’s green building strategy, the roof provides superior insulation, prevents storm water runoff, reduces the urban heat island effect, and creates new habitat for native birds, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. An engineering marvel, the seven hills of the living roof roll over the Academy’s major exhibits and echo the hilly topography of San Francisco. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5:00pm; Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
 
Morrison Planetarium
Upon arrival, please check the day’s show schedule, which is subject to change. Passes available on-site on a first-come-first-served basis. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.

  • Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet – Shows daily (ends January 30, 2014)
    Brace yourself for a seismic experience. Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet launches audiences on a breathtaking tour through space and time. During the show, fly over the San Andreas fault before diving into the planet’s interior, travel back in time to witness both the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the break-up of Pangaea 200 million years ago, and much more.
  • Cosmic Collisions – Shows daily (ends January 30, 2014)
    Creative and destructive, dynamic and dazzling, collisions are a key mechanism in the evolution of the Universe. In this immersive all-digital show, witness spectacular collisions from the past, present, and future—including the creation of our Moon, the meteorite impact that ended the Age of Dinosaurs, and the titanic merging of our galaxy with another billions of years from now.
  • Coming soon! Dark Universe - Shows daily (starting January 31, 2014)
    An exhilarating voyage through the known and unknown, Dark Universe plunges audiences into two of today’s biggest cosmic mysteries—dark matter and dark energy—and the scientific discoveries that led up to them. Narrated by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, this immersive planetarium show features exquisite renderings of enigmatic cosmic phenomena, seminal scientific instruments, and spectacular scenes in deep space. Hurtle through Jupiter’s atmosphere, sail out to the far reaches of space, and be there for the birth of our own galaxy while exploring how our understanding of the Universe has evolved over time. Celebrate what we don’t yet know by confronting the invisible, 95% of the cosmos that scientists continue to grapple with, but which may in fact govern how the Universe behaves.

 
Philippine Coral Reef – ongoing exhibit
Dive into the world’s deepest living coral reef tank without donning a wetsuit. Five underwater windows offer a fish’s eye view into one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Find Nemo—and 2,000 other reef fish—darting through a technicolor forest of coral, watch garden eels emerge from their underwater burrows, and admire the brilliant hues of a giant clam. Up on the surface, follow a boardwalk through a mangrove lagoon, where sharks and rays cruise beneath your feet. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5:00pm; Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
 
Rainforests of the World – ongoing exhibit
Step inside a living rainforest, where water dripping from the mahogany and palm trees sets the beat for a symphony of croaking frogs and chirping birds. Peer into the lair of a water monitor from Borneo, meet chameleons from Madagascar, and climb into the tree-tops of Costa Rica, where long lines of industrious leaf cutter ants march along vines and tropical butterflies flutter like colorful confetti. Finally, descend in a glass elevator into the Amazonian flooded forest—the land of anacondas, piranhas, and electric eels. An acrylic tunnel allows you to walk beneath the Amazonian river fish that swim overhead. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5:00pm; Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
 
Science in Action – ongoing exhibit

Go beyond the headlines and gain in-depth information about recent scientific discoveries around the world. Live talks by Academy scientists, audio-visual displays, computer stations, and podcasts provide a reliable source of timely and relevant news about the natural world. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5:00pm; Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
 
The Swamp – ongoing exhibit
Peer over the bronze railing of the Swamp tank if you dare—an American alligator and alligator snapping turtles rule the water below. Snakes, frogs, and salamanders live in smaller tanks nearby, and visitors can learn more during regularly scheduled swamp presentations. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5:00pm; Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
 
Tusher African Hall – ongoing exhibit
Take a virtual safari through Africa by exploring the majestic dioramas of African Hall. Lions and cheetahs face off with zebras and antelope through the glass windows of their detailed displays, and a lowland gorilla invites you to ponder your ancestry. Look closely as you wander through the hall—these dioramas contain a few surprises: live tortoises, lizards, and fish have taken up residence in some of the smaller displays, and African penguins dip and dive in a 25,000-gallon tank at the end of the hall. Penguin feedings take place twice daily. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5:00pm; Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
 
Water Planet – ongoing exhibit
What does it take to live underwater? Find out in this innovative exhibit that includes more than 100 aquarium tanks filled with fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and other invertebrates. The exhibit also features a short video about the importance of water on the planet, narrated by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5:00pm; Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
 
What is Missing? – permanent art installation
Hear the calls of Malaysian gibbons, tree frogs, wolves, and more echo across the Academy’s east terrace, home to one of two permanent sculptures at the Academy by renowned artist Maya Lin. Entitled “What is Missing?,” the cone-shaped sculpture is the debut of Lin’s memorial to endangered and extinct animals and habitats, and features audio and video recordings of threatened animals in their native habitats. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5:00pm; Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
 
Where the Land Meets the Sea – permanent art installation
Like a line drawing in space, this sculpture by renowned artist Maya Lin depicts the topography between Angel Island and the Golden Gate Bridge. In addition to the land features Bay Area residents are used to seeing, the stainless steel sculpture seamlessly plunges below the water line, showing the terrain under the surface of San Francisco Bay, a perspective few ever get to see. Located on the Academy’s west terrace. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5:00pm; Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.


DROP-IN ACTIVITIES

Discovery Tidepool – ongoing activity
During your next trip to the aquarium, don’t let the fish have all the fun—visit the Discovery Tidepool, where visitors can handle a few of the animals that live along the California coastline, including turban snails, hermit crabs, and sea stars. The tidepool is staffed by naturalists and trained nature lovers who can answer questions about the animals and their habitat. Open daily. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
 
Early Explorers Cove – ongoing activities
Take your scientist-in-training to a special exhibit designed especially for children five and under and their caregivers. Tots can explore a 15-foot replica of the Academy’s 1905 research schooner, climb into a tree-house, tend a miniature organic garden, or crawl into a child-sized burrow. The exhibit is also well-stocked with books, toys, puzzles, and dress-up costumes. Space is limited, and visitors will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. Open daily. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
 
Naturalist Center – ongoing activities
Examine the coconut husk trays found on our roof, and numerous specimens from the natural world, up close. Learn practical tips for making your house more eco-friendly. Inquire about the Academy’s ongoing citizen science programs. Read about the debates over what energy source can best meet the needs of Americans while preserving our environment. Stop by and see rotating displays of specimens, books and DVDs that complement Academy exhibits. Open daily. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.


CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES DESCRIPTIONS

25 words
Explore your world—from the depths of a Philippine coral reef to a Costa Rican rainforest canopy and beyond—all under one living roof.
 
50 words

Home to an aquarium, natural history museum, planetarium, and world-class research and education programs, all under one living roof. Exhibits include a four-story living rainforest, live coral reef, state-of-the-art space show, interactive activities and programs for all ages, exhibits on climate change and evolution, thousands of live animals, and more.
 
75 words
Home to an aquarium, natural history museum, planetarium, and world-class research and education programs, all under one living roof. Exhibits include a four-story living rainforest, live coral reef, state-of-the-art space show, interactive activities for all ages, exhibits on evolution and natural history, thousands of live animals, and more. Programs like penguin feedings and coral reef dives offered daily; drop into the Discovery Tidepool, Early Explorers Cove and the Naturalist Center to dive deeper.