Press Release

Stephanie Stone (415) 379-5121
sstone@calacademy.org
Andrew Ng (415) 379-5123
ang@calacademy.org

'TIS THE SEASON FOR SCIENCE AT THE CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

The Academy celebrates the science behind popular holiday traditions
from November 23, 2011 - January 16, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (October 20, 2011) — Do partridges really live in pear trees? Is nutmeg really a nut? And what do reindeer actually eat? Find out this holiday season during ’Tis the Season for Science at the California Academy of Sciences—eight weeks of wintry festivities and family fun that will celebrate the science behind some of our most familiar holiday sights, sounds, and traditions. From November 23 - January 16, Academy visitors will be invited to meet a pair of live reindeer, wander through an aromatic "Spice Forest," learn about the science of snow inside a "Snowman Theater," and even experience indoor snow flurries. A suite of holiday-themed programs, including quiz shows and live musical and dance performances, will round out the festive atmosphere.

In and around the Academy’s central piazza, visitors will find a wintry wonderland, complete with:

  • Indoor snow flurries twice an hour
  • A "Snowman Theater"—an immersive digital dome shaped like a giant snowman, which will play two new shows on the science of snow on Earth and on other worlds
  • A towering and aromatic "Spice Forest"—displays of the raw botanical specimens from which we get cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and other familiar holiday ingredients, set within life-size sculptural representations of trees
  • A stage for special programs including quiz shows, live music, dance, and theater performances (see below for specific program times)
  • Taxidermy specimens of the real birds mentioned in "The Twelve Days of Christmas," including swans, geese, colly birds, hens, doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Additionally, a pair of live reindeer will take up residence in the museum’s East Garden for the duration of the exhibit.

 
PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

’Tis the Season for Science activities are included with general admission tickets, unless otherwise noted. Visit www.calacademy.org/holidays in November for more details.
 

REINDEER RENDEZVOUS
Daily at 12:30 pm from November 23 - January 16
Gather ’round for an up close and personal experience with live reindeer, known as Nomads of the North. Learn about their fascinating adaptations, including an annual migration of up to 3,000 miles per year, and why they are so important for the ecosystems of the far north. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

 
HOLIDAY QUEST
Daily at 1:30 pm from November 23 - January 16
Play the role of an Academy researcher traveling to remote parts of the world in search of the wildlife that inspire some of our favorite seasonal traditions. In this fun and interactive game show-style program, explore the globe, gain a new perspective on holiday plants and animals and the places they come from, and perhaps even win a prize. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

 
PLANETARY EXPLORATION
Daily at 12:00 pm from November 28 - December 16 and January 3-16
Daily at 2:30 pm from November 25-27 and December 17 - January 2
Planet Earth goes through remarkable changes every winter, and through Google Earth software we can take a close look at how seasonal phenomena like the winter solstice affect life. Explore how life has adapted to Earth’s unique quirks, and even investigate the possibility of life on other worlds! Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

 
TART SIDE OF DNA
Daily at 12:00 pm from November 25-27 and December 17 - January 2
Cranberries are a staple food of winter feasts, and like all other life, they also contain DNA. Have you ever wondered what DNA – "the essence of life" – would look like in the palm of your hand? In this 15-minute program, we will crush up cranberries and extract their DNA for all to see up close, without the aid of a microscope. Join in the investigation, and discover why some scientists call DNA the most extraordinary molecule on Earth. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

 
FESTIVE PERFORMERS
Throughout December, check website for schedule
The Academy has invited a variety of talented musicians, dancers, theater troupes, cultural groups, comedians, and others to join its celebration of this festive time of year. Enrich your family’s Academy visit with art and music from some of the Bay Area’s greatest talents, including Dance Along Nutcracker, Un-Scripted Improv Group, Yuletide Carolers, and more. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

 
GHIRARDELLI CHOCOLATE DAY
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Celebrate the sights, sounds, and smells of the holiday season with Ghirardelli Chocolate Company! Steve Genzoli, VP of Chocolate Development at Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, will share the art and science of chocolate – from bean to bar. Enjoy complimentary samples from Ghirardelli Chocolate & Ice Cream Shop, talk a walk in the spice forest, and learn more about the ingredients in your favorite treats. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.

 
GENERAL DESCRIPTION

 
'Tis the Season for Science
November 23, 2011 - January 16, 2012
The California Academy of Sciences is getting a winter makeover for the holidays! The popular ’Tis the Season for Science exhibit returns for a second year, bringing with it the sights, sounds, and smells of the season. Meet a pair of live reindeer, experience indoor snow flurries, and wander through a towering Spice Forest—a display of the raw botanical specimens from which we get cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and other familiar ingredients. Inside a Snowman Theater, two new shows will delve into the science of snow on Earth and on other worlds. Daily programs and real scientific specimens will reveal how some of our most beloved holiday symbols and traditions are connected to the natural world. Where does chocolate come from? Do partridges really live in pear trees? The science behind the food, plants, and animals we associate with the holidays may just surprise you! ’Tis the Season for Science activities are included with general admission tickets, unless otherwise noted. Purchase tickets online at www.calacademy.org or at the door. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco. (415) 379-8000.