Family Science

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Shifting Seasons

by rockprogram on Nov. 7th, 2013 No Comments

California Poppies Outside The Academy

Have you noticed the change in the air? The days are becoming shorter, the nights are growing longer, and the air is crisp and chilly. Autumn is upon us!
As the seasons change, so do many plants and animals. Some of these changes are obvious: a honking flock of geese migrating south for winter might catch our attention, or the leaves on a deciduous tree will change from green, to gold, to red, to gone. However, some changes are much more subtle, and are well worth keeping an eye out for. There are many ways to explore the changing seasons, both at the Academy of Sciences and at home. With your family (and perhaps a jacket!), try watching autumn in some new ways.

Watch the Sunset at Home

We know the days are getting shorter, but by how much? Step outside with your family and watch the sunset while or peek through the window and write down your observations. Using a watch, keep track of how much earlier the sun is setting each day. If you have a thermometer handy, you can also record how the temperature is changing. Compare your answers by clicking on California and selecting your city, and see how close your observations are.

How Will our Living Roof Change?

Our Living Roof is a great place to watch the seasons change. If you have visited during the spring or summer, you might immediately notice a difference. Make predictions about how this roof will change as we get closer to winter. Which species will tolerate the cold, wet winter? Which ones will fade away until spring? Ask a docent stationed on the roof or visit the Naturalist Center to learn more about the species that live there.

Galapagos Islands

by rockprogram on Sep. 3rd, 2013 No Comments

galapagos islands

Have you ever heard of the Galapagos Islands? Zoom in and try to find it on this map. Hint: It’s neighbor is the country of Ecuador. Did you find them?! These islands formed as a result of erupting lava that cooled down as lava rock from volcanic activity on the ocean floor. Over time these lava rocks grew and grew into an archipelago, a cluster of islands. There are many endemic species (species native to this area) to the Galapagos, but how did they get to an area that is hundreds of kilometers away from any continent?

Settling on the islands

By playing our bingo game in our lesson, Coincidental Colonization,you’ll experience first-hand how chance plays a big role in the successful dispersal of your species to an area such as the Galapagos. Notice the different ways species could have colonized or settled on these islands. What species will you choose? Maybe the blue footed boobie or the Galapagos tortoise? How will it settle?

Cal Academy’s Expeditions to the Galapagos

Take a look here at one of our scientist’s expedition 800-m deep in a submersible capable of withstanding the enormous pressure so deep into the ocean. John McCosker has made many discoveries, including fish found only in the waters of the Galapagos. Next time you visit us here at the California Academy of Sciences in our Islands of Evolution exhibit, check out the specimens collected during this expedition along with other specimens such as the Galapagos tortoises and Darwin’s famous finches which were collected on previous expeditions.

image credits:
Galapagos Islands Charlie Zielinski

Calling All Naturalists!

by rockprogram on Jun. 7th, 2013 No Comments


Do you enjoy being outdoors surrounded by nature? Ever wondered how botanists, scientists who study plants, press flowers for their collections? Or maybe you’ve always been curious to dissect an owl pellet! Join the Naturalist Center this summer where you and your family can learn and develop Naturalist skills and explore the natural world together.

Naturalist 101: Botany Basics
Saturday, June 22 at 10:00 am
This program is for adults and families with children ages 10+.
The Bay Area is home to a dizzying array of native plants. From monkey flowers to lizard tails, how do you begin to identify them? Get started by examining the common parts of flowering plants and discovering differences among major groups. Then, explore the grounds around the Academy, where more than 70 local species grow.

Reservations: Members $10; Non-Members $15; Reservations required; space is limited. To reserve a place today, buy a ticket online or call 1-877-227-1831.
Please Note: Meet at the Business Reception Desk located on 75 Nancy Pelosi Drive (formerly Middle Drive).

Junior Academy: Naturalist Know-how
Sundays at 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
New program for ages 8-11 starting Sunday, June 30th, 2013!
Learn how to be a naturalist! Each month a new nature skill will be presented. Simply stop by the Naturalist Center (Level 3 across from the Planetarium exit) a half hour before the program begins in order to register.

This program is free with Academy admission. Youth must be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited to 20 youth with attending adults.

Free Family Events in March

by rockprogram on Feb. 28th, 2013 2 Comments

Free Sunday is here! On March 3rd, The Academy is free to everyone! Admission is on a first-come, first served basis, and early arrival is recommended. The museum will be open from 9am-6pm. This would be a perfect time to check out our new exhibit, Human Odyssey.


Have you thought about what your kids will be doing this summer? Why not join the summer fun at The Presidio! Check out the Open House on Saturday, March 2nd, from 9:30am-12:30pm at the Presidio Dance Theatre. Plan for a great summer by visiting Presidio organizations and register your children at the event! Organizations such as La Petite Baleen, Presidio YMCA, SF Recreation and Parks, and more will be waiting to meet you and your children!

San Francisco families with children of all ages are invited to the Summer Resource Fair on Saturday, March 9th from 10am-2pm. Get information about summer classes, teen programs, and camps. The Resource Summer Fair will take place at Everett Middle School located on 450 Church Street.


But wait, there’s more! As most of you may know, The Exploratorium is making its move to Pier 15, April 17th. They will be on the road, Sunday, March 10th from 11am-10pm at three different locations for On the Move: An Exploratorium Roadshow. Times vary in location. Visit them at Embarcadero across from Pier 15 in partnership with Sunday Streets, in the Bayview at Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre, and in the Mission at Buena Vista School. There will be dissections, food, filmmaking, performances by Los Chiles Verdes,and much more! Enjoy!

How the Journey Began

by rockprogram on Feb. 25th, 2013 No Comments

Human Odyssey Title card

Ever wonder where our ancestors lived and what they looked like? Now you have the opportunity to interact with them as well! Come check out the new Human Odyssey exhibit, in African Hall, located on the first floor.

At the new Human Odyssey exhibit, you’ll be able to learn about when and where the first human predecessors walked the Earth in an upright fashion. In addition, see how fossil skulls can tell the story of how a specific individual lived his or her life. Then, witness how Academy researchers and engineers have recreated what a fleshed out version of the skull might have looked like.

Come visit Lucy, a modern chimp and a close relative of humans, and see how she has been able to help us understand how early locomotion worked for humanoid species.

Also check out an interactive touch screen map, which helps us understand where human migration began and how many years this migration took.

Lets learn more about us!

At the Academy Uncover the history of humans their ancestors:

  • Learn more about how scientists use fossil exploration, DNA analysis and modern technology to uncover the history and mystery behind fossils on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00 am at the project lab.
  • From Monday through Friday at 11:00 am, you can learn more about how we are similar or different compared to our ancestors at the African Hall.
  • Also, visit the Naturalist Center to learn more about our human family tree!
    In our Naturalist Nook, you’ll discover the history of the human body. From goosebumps to ear wiggling, check out the direct links to our animal relatives!

    At the program “Specimen Spotlight” (2 pm on Thursdays and Sundays), you’ll unearth the amazing stories behind some of the most famous fossils. Learn what brings researchers to Africa, what they find there, and what it tells us about our origins.

    Cairo to the Cape: Explore photographs from the 1925 expedition that was the first to travel the entire length of Africa as a single journey. Related specimens such as zebra and lion skulls are also featured.

    The Naturalist Center is located on Level 3 across from the Planetarium exit.

On the Web Here are some other great resources to learn more about how we became the modern human!

  • Debunk some myths and misconceptions of humans and their ancestors right here.
  • The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History helps us understand what it means to be human.