New! Human Odyssey (opening February 8, 2013) – 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 California Academy of Sciences. 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.
Coming soon: Built for Speed (May 10 - September 29, 2013) – This summer, join in the excitement leading up to the America’s Cup races by visiting Built for Speed at the California Academy of Sciences. This new exhibit will explore the fascinating adaptations of some of the fastest animals in the sea—from the speedy sailfish and streamlined shark to the spineless squid. Get a close-up look at the assembling of an orca skeleton, examine a high-speed sailboat designed by the America’s Cup defending champions, and compare the forms that make these boats and marine animals fast in fluid.
GENERAL INTEREST PROGRAMS
New Human Odyssey Program
LIVE AFRICAN SAFARI
Daily at 1:00 pm
Adventure through Africa and explore the amazing biodiversity of its animals and habitats. How do pythons hunt so masterfully in the dark of night? How does a hissing cockroach attract a mate? And just how fast does a cheetah run? Discover the answers and learn how each animal plays an important role in its diverse ecosystem. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
New Human Odyssey Program
WHAT MAKES US HUMAN?
Monday – Friday at 11:00 am
Follow the milestones in human evolution—upright walking, tool making, symbolic thinking—while comparing the adaptations of early humans to our modern bodies through fun activities that help reveal the origins of who we are. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
New Human Odyssey Program
Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00 am
Ever wonder how our evolutionary story began? In this lab-based program, you will learn about recent discoveries that scientists have made in uncovering the story of “us.” Touch a hominin skull cast or stone tool replica to better understand what fossil exploration tells us, and how scientists make sense of it all through DNA analysis and modern technology. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
Special Human Odyssey Theme
AFRICAN NIGHTLIFE (AGES 21+)
Thursday, February 28, 2013 from 6:00 – 10:00 pm
Every Thursday night, music, creatures and cocktails come together for NightLife at the Academy. This week, in honor of Human Odyssey, a dramatic new addition to the Academy’s Tusher African Hall, hear from a trio of Academy scientists who conduct fieldwork in Africa. Paleoanthropologist Zeray Alemseged will discuss studying human evolution in Ethiopia’s Great East African Rift, known as the “cradle of mankind,” while curators Bob Drewes and David Blackburn will share tales of tracking down African snakes and frogs. Plus, get an up-close look at magnificent African big cats brought in by The Wildcat Education and Conservation Fund—mee-ow! Music TBA. Tickets are $12/$10 for Academy members. This event is for adults 21+ with valid ID. Purchase tickets in advance at www.calacademy.org/nightlife or by calling (415) 379-8000. This event takes place at the California Academy of Sciences.
EARTHQUAKE: EVIDENCE OF A RESTLESS PLANET
Proceed to the planetarium entrance upon arrival to get your show passes.
*Note: The planetarium will be closed February 25-27
Journey through our planet's geologic history to witness the processes that shape our landscape in Morrison Planetarium's current show, narrated by Emmy-nominated actor Benjamin Bratt. Begin your journey in 1906 with an all-digital recreation of the 7.9-magnitude earthquake that rocked San Francisco, and then dive into the Earth's interior to see how it happened. You will then embark on a high-speed tour through the past 200 million years, witnessing the formation of the Atlantic Ocean and visiting the cradle of humanity in Africa’s Great Rift Valley, along with sites of historic earthquakes in India, China, and Japan. Along the way, you will discover how seismic events continue to shape our landscape. Free with Academy admission; seats are limited and show passes are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
CURIOSITY ON MARS
Showing weekends* (starts February 2)
*Note: The planetarium will be closed February 25-27
What has the Curiosity rover been up to since its thrilling landing on the Red Planet? NASA’s latest explorer is searching for signs of past (or present) habitability on Martian soil. Discover why Mars captures our imaginations and learn about the latest discoveries from our robotic explorers in this live, 15-minute program hosted by our planetarium presenters in Hohfeld Hall. Visit www.calacademy.org/events for specific dates and times. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
Daily at 10:30 am and 3:00 pm
The Academy’s African penguins are always especially animated during meal time. Watch the birds dip and dive in their tank at the end of African Hall as a biologist dons a wet suit and hands out vitamin-stuffed herring and capelin. Each feeding takes 10 minutes, and questions are encouraged. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
CORAL REEF DIVE
Daily at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm
Watch as a diver suits up in SCUBA gear and plunges into the world’s deepest living coral reef exhibit. Outfitted with an underwater microphone, the diver will answer all of your reef-related questions. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park.(415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
Daily at 3:30 pm
Learn about the wetland ecosystems of the Southeast United States and their hidden value. Listen to sounds of amazing swamp inhabitants, whose relatives have existed for millions and millions of years. We’ll follow the life of the American alligator from hatchling chirps to the booming bellows of mature adults, all beneath the moss-draped limbs of a bald cypress. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
THE SWEET SIDE OF DNA
Monday – Friday at 12:00 pm
Have you ever wondered what “the essence of life” – DNA – would look like if you held it in the palm of your hand? In the course of this 15-minute program, we will crush up fresh strawberries and extract their DNA in order to see it up close and personal – without the aid of a microscope. During the process, discover why some scientists call DNA the most extraordinary molecule on earth. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
Monday – Friday at 12:30 pm
Join us atop the Academy’s living roof to explore the fascinating lives of pollinators including birds, bats and bees. As these animals buzz, swoop and fly through the air, they are helping to keep California one of the most diverse places on earth. Here at the Academy, researchers and gardeners work to maintain a living roof of entirely native plants—come find out how this helps keep habitats healthy! Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
SHARKS TO DINOSAURS: A WALK THROUGH TIME
Friday – Monday & Wednesday at 1:30 pm
Uncover the Earth’s ancient history and learn about the sharks, tortoises, and dinosaurs that first appeared millions of years ago as you explore the Academy’s exhibits. Step back in time and discover the unique adaptations these amazing species developed for thriving and surviving on a planet that was very different from our modern world. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
CHAT WITH AN ACADEMY SCIENTIST (AGES 10+)
Saturdays at 11:30 am
Meet Academy scientists who explore the planet in search of life and a greater understanding of its mysteries. From the tops of mountains to the bottom of the oceans, and in high-tech laboratories here at the Academy, these explorers see the world, discover new life, and help explain Earth’s amazing story. Join them for a glimpse at their fascinating work, and to hear their exciting stories first-hand.
February 2: Assistant Curator of Herpetology David Blackburn will discuss his work researching frogs throughout Africa.
February 9: Academy Researcher George Fisher will discuss the role of ants in global biodiversity.
February 16: Academy Researcher Paco Hita-Garcia will discuss all things ants—from important discoveries to exciting expeditions.
February 23: Academy Research Associate Jim Shevock will discuss the fascinating world of mosses and lichens—some of the most ancient land organisms—and share images and stories from his expeditions all over the world.
Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
THE SCIENCE OF EXPLORATION
Saturdays and Sundays at 12:00 pm
Academy scientists travel to remote corners of the Earth to explore some of the most extreme environments on this planet. Their mission is to shed light on the mysteries of life: how it got here and how we can help ensure it survives. In this interactive program, we take an in-depth look at a few of our intrepid explorers and see the wild adventures they’ve had while on their amazing explorations to discover and protect life on Earth. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
DISCOVERY NATURE WALK
Saturdays and Sundays at 12:30 pm
Join us for a 30-minute nature walk, exploring gardens and groves that surround the Academy. Learn about the importance of native plants and trees and how they support animals in Golden Gate Park, a unique and unusual ecosystem. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 pm
Meet Project Lab scientists as they share and discuss specimens from the Academy’s collections and around the world. Learn about the fascinating research these scientists conduct everyday and what we learn from preserving these important specimens. Curious minds are encouraged! Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
OUT OF THE LAB
Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 pm
Curious to get a behind-the-scenes perspective on Academy research and the labs where the work gets done? Scientists will join visitors at the Project Lab to share stories about dissecting and documenting the many specimens collected on their global expeditions. Have a burning science question? Ask a real scientist! Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
SHARKS AND RAYS
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:30 pm
Learn more about the Reef Lagoon’s shallow reef residents, who share a family tree with prehistoric ancestors from millions of years ago, and watch a feeding on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
SPECIMEN SPOTLIGHT: FAMOUS FOSSILS
Thursdays and Sundays at 2:00 pm
Discover the stories behind important anthropological discoveries like “Mrs. Ples,” “Zinj” and more in this weekly program that features specimens from the Naturalist Center collection. Free with Academy admission. Naturalist Center at the California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
LOVELIFE PHOTO COMPETITION
The LoveLife photo competition is back! Submit your loveliest photos of the California Academy of Sciences and the natural world for judging by a team of Academy insiders. Vote to nominate your favorite photos online for the People’s Choice Award. Prizes include a $100 gift card, Academy Behind-the-Scenes tours and more! Visit the LoveLife photo exhibit in the Academy Children’s Gallery to see past year’s winners. This year’s photo categories include Land life, Mobile life, Aquatic life and more. Photos can be submitted during the month of February, deadline for submissions is February 28. For more information, visit www.calacademy.org/lovelife after January 14, 2013.
PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN
LITTLE NATURALISTS (AGES 3-5) Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:00 am
These rotating programs for 3 to 5-year-olds are presented in the Naturalist Center.
- Wild & Crafty (1st, 3rd & 5th Mondays of the month at 10 am)
Get creative and learn about animals during this program that pairs children's literature with a take-home craft.
- Sprouts (2nd, 4th Mondays of the month at 10 am)
Explore the plants and animals of nature's gardens through hands-on investigation and activities.
- Little Learners' Lab (1st, 3rd & 5th Wednesdays of the month at 10 am)
Become a scientist-in-training and join us for a fun hands-on experiment.
- Children of the World (2nd, 4th Wednesdays of the month at 10 am)
A special program highlighting children from around the world through folktales, art, music and movement.
Visit www.calacademy.org/science/early_explorers_cove for program topics on specific dates. Adult supervision is required. Free with Academy admission ; space is limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis. You may register at the Naturalist Center after 9:30 am on the day of the program. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
Sundays from 12:00 - 4:00 pm
Visit the Naturalist Center every Sunday for a fun and educational craft activity. Spark your curiosity, be creative, and explore natural history specimens and other resources. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
Saturdays at 11:00 am
February 2 theme: All About You
February 9 theme: Teeth are for Eating
February 16 theme: Families
February 23 theme: Feet are for Walking
All ages are invited to African Hall for an imaginary expedition around the corner or around the world. We will navigate with maps to chart our exploration and use props, specimens, storytelling, and songs to set the scene for our travels. A special children’s book will be read each week. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
FAMILY NATURE CRAFTS (AGES 5-11)
Sundays at 10:00 am, while supplies last
February 3 theme: We Are All Unique
February 10 theme: Keepsake Books
February 17 theme: Paper Dragon Puppets
February 24 theme: All About Entomology
Join us in front of the Swamp and get creative with nature-themed craft projects designed for families with children ages 5-11. Space is limited. Free with Academy admission. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org.
TODDLER TREKS (AGES 1-3)
Tuesday, February 5 and Thursday, February 21 at 11:00 am (Theme: Primate Trek)
Join us for a caregiver/child participatory program designed especially for children ages 1-3. Each month will feature a different animal—some extinct, some still among us today. Participants will use props and their imaginations to “trek” together to the place each animal calls home. Please note that both programs each month are about the same topic, so participants should register for only one date per month. Tickets are $6 per child, $4 per Academy member child, free to adults with general admission. Note that Academy general admission is free for children 3 and under. Space is limited; to reserve a place today, buy a ticket at www.calacademy.org/tickets/toddler_treks/, or over the phone at (415) 379-8000. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park.
PENGUINS + PAJAMAS SLEEPOVER (AGES 5-17, with adult chaperones)
Saturday, February 16, 2013 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 am
Why count sheep when you can count geckos, butterflies, sharks, and penguins? Now kids can camp out for a night at the California Academy of Sciences—and see the museum in a whole new light. Sleepovers include after-hours access to Academy exhibits, a special penguin talk, live animal demonstration, planetarium show, story time with cookies and milk, parking, breakfast, and more. Tickets are $99 per person, $79 for Academy members; available online at www.calacademy.org/sleepovers. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000.
PROGRAMS FOR ADULTS
NIGHTLIFE (AGES 21+)
Thursdays from 6:00 – 10:00 pm
Every Thursday night, music, creatures and cocktails come together for NightLife at the Academy. Explore exhibits and aquarium displays while sipping creative cocktails, and let exotic animals from around the world transport you to the tropics, Tibet, and dozens of other remote destinations. Special planetarium shows will take you even farther afield. Each week features a live band or DJ, and a unique theme. NightLife is for those ages 21 and over; a valid ID is required for entry. Admission is $12 per person, $10 for Academy members. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park. (415) 379-8000. www.calacademy.org/nightlife.
NIGHTLIFE VIP TOUR (AGES 21+)
Thursdays at 6:00 pm
For an enhanced NightLife experience, join us on a NightLife VIP Tour. The one-hour behind-the-scenes tour includes a closer look at the unique native species of California’s largest living roof, a private viewing of the Academy's renowned gem and mineral collection, and interaction with Academy researchers. In addition to the tour, guests receive VIP access to the Rainforests of the World exhibit, reserved planetarium show seats, and an open bar in a reserved cocktail area prior to the tour. 6:00-8:00 pm (building closes at 10:00 pm); available every Thursday during NightLife. $59 per person (NightLife admission included); purchase tickets in advance online at www.calacademy.org/nightlife, or by calling (415) 379-8000. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park.
A Benjamin Dean lecture
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Featuring Dr. Christopher Impey, Department of Astronomy, University of Arizona
Monday, February 4 at 7:30 pm
Learn about how an iota of space-time 13.7 billion years ago grew into 100 billion galaxies, including everything we know and love. The big bang is the scientific story of creation and it’s supported by a web of evidence pointing to an extremely hot and dense early state for the universe. What if we could look into space and see not only our place in the universe but also how we came to be here? As it happens, we can. Because it takes time for light to travel, we see more and more distant regions of the universe as they were in the successively greater past. Dr. Impey uses this concept—"look-back time"—to take us on an intergalactic tour that is simultaneously out in space and back in time. Performing a type of cosmic archaeology, Dr. Impey describes the astronomical clues that scientists have used to solve fascinating mysteries about the origins and development of our universe. How It All Began book signing to follow. 7:30 pm; Purchase tickets in advance online at www.calacademy.org/lectures, or by calling (415) 379-8000. Seating is limited and tickets are first-come, first-served. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for Academy members. Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park.
ACADEMY NATURALIST PROGRAM:
San Francisco Bay Area Master Birder Program
Classes and field excursions begin February 6 through December 4, 2013
Led By Jack Dumbacher, Eddie Bartley and Bob Lewis
The California Academy of Sciences is excited to offer a new class, in collaboration with the Golden Gate Audubon Society. The Master Birder program will be taught by experts in ornithology with the objective to develop 20 new master-level birders who will acquire enhanced conservation skills and become active volunteers for GGAS or the Academy. This series of classes will take place over the course of the year with 10 classroom sessions held on the first Wednesday of each month and 10 field excursions on the following weekend. Upon completion of the program, the graduate will have developed a field notebook documenting sightings of over 200 bird species, know how to identify the more difficult bird species, and have an understanding of habitats and bird communities, bird physiology, behavior and taxonomy. Many of the classes will take place at the Academy, allowing instructors to utilize the Academy’s extensive collections to support class instruction. Select classes may take place at other local institutions. This course is $600 for adults, $500 for Academy and Golden Gate Audubon Society members. For more information and prerequisites, visit www.calacademy.org/lectures, or call (415) 379-5378.
CONSERVATION PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP:
The Digital Darkroom for the Nature Photographer
Sunday, February 10 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Led by Gary Sharlow, Photographer and Academy Education Manager
This workshop is designed as an introduction to the digital darkroom and will cover a tour of Adobe Lightroom 4 and the Nik Software plug-in suite. The class will primarily focus on the library and develop modules in Lightroom. We will also look at the technical aspects of the digital camera and image files to help you better understand how the image is interpreted by the software. This includes color space, file type and bit depth, to name a few of the most important concepts. The digital flow from camera to output will be discussed, leaving time for an interactive session to address your most pressing questions about the process. There will be an additional presentation on using photos for conservation and how you can effect change and protect the natural world through your passion for nature photography. Meet at the Academy’s business reception desk at the back door of the Academy at 12:45 pm. Tickets are $50 for adults, $40 for Academy members. Reserve a space in advance online at www.calacademy.org/photography, or by calling (415) 379-8000.
A Pritzker lecture
“LUCY AND SELAM” CLIMBED TREES, SO WHAT?!
Wednesday, February 13 at 7:00 pm
Featuring Dr. Zeray Alemseged, Irvine Chair of Anthropology, California Academy of Sciences
Lucy and Selam are famous skeletons that belong to Australopithecus afarensis, a direct ancestor of humans that lived between 4 and 3 million years ago. When the Lucy skeleton was discovered in 1974, it helped establish that this creature was an upright walking species, pushing the then accepted date for bipedalism by a million years. Lucy’s foot, knee and pelvis are all very human-like. However, the upper body told a different story, with features that were much more ape-like, including long arms and curved fingers. At the time, scientists split into two groups. One group argued, Yes, A. afarensis has ape-like features, but the species didn’t need them for survival, it’s just ancestral retention or evolutionary baggage. The second group interpreted the ape-like characteristics for their function: they saw the lower body for bipedalism and the upper body for climbing. This discussion went on for the following 35 years. In this presentation, Dr. Alemseged discusses the evidence for climbing behavior in A. afarensis based on new evidence from his own find “Selam,” currently the most complete and earliest skeleton of a juvenile human ancestor. 7:00 pm; Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, free for Academy members. Seating is limited and tickets are first-come, first-served. Purchase tickets in advance online at www.calacademy.org/lectures or by calling (415) 379-8000.
Conversations on Science
THE BRILLIANCE OF SLEEP
Wednesday, February 27 at 7:30 pm
Featuring Matt Walker, Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley, in conversation with Amy Standen
Scientists have long wondered why we power down our brains and enter into a sleeping state, then spend countless hours in light dreamless slumber. Professor Matt Walker of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory within the Department of Psychology at UC Berkeley and his team have found compelling evidence for the purpose of this kind of sleep, suggesting that it can solidify newly learned memories by rewiring the architecture of the brain. Bursts of electrical impulse brain waves known as sleep spindles may be networking between the brain's hippocampus (with its limited storage capacity) and the prefrontal cortex's (the storage area), effectively clearing the way for new learning. His team has also found evidence that sleep can associate and integrate new memories together, performing a kind of sleep-dependent alchemy. Beyond learning and memory, Walker’s lab has discovered recent findings that sleep can refresh emotional brain reactivity, effectively ironing out our prior waking concerns and allowing for well rested, rational next day decisions. Dr. Walker will be in conversation with Amy Standen of QUEST, an award-winning multimedia science and environment series created by KQED in San Francisco. Her work has been recognized by the National Association of Public Radio News Directors and Northern California's Society of Professional Journalists. Standen has been a producer for Pulse of the Planet, editor of Terrain Magazine, an editor at Salon, a "roving reporter" for KALW's Philosophy Talk, and frequent NPR contributor. 7:30 pm; Tickets are $22-27 for adults, $20-25 for Academy members. Price dependent on seating area. Purchase tickets in advance online at www.calacademy.org/lectures or by calling City Box Office at (415) 392-4400. This event takes place at the Herbst Theatre.