Family Science

Archive for February, 2013

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.

Plants and Buying Local

by rockprogram on Feb. 12th, 2013 No Comments


Plants are an important part of our everyday lives. Spend some time taking a closer look at the plants that help us survive by making a field journal of all the plants you encounter. Sketch, take notes, and observe like a plant scientist, known as botanists. Plants provide materials for the places we live in and medicines we might need, but they are also one of the greatest sources of food.

At the Academy:

  • Step into the shoes of a botanist by visiting the Naturalist Center on the third floor to inspect plant specimens from the Academy’s collection.
  • Visit the Living Roof and observe the densest concentration of native plants in San Francisco with 1.7 million native plants!
  • Head to our exhibit, Rainforests of the World, and observe plants that grow in a rainforest environment? How are they similiar or different to those you observed? Is the temperature the same as it was outside on the Living Roof?

At Home:

  • Take a field trip to a local farmers market to find seasonal fruits or vegetables and you can thank the plants and the people who help grow them. You might even have the chance to talk to a local farmer about how different produce grows and learn about the farm where it comes from. Visit California Certified Farmers’ Market to find one in your area.
  • Not only can seasonal vegetables be used to cook a delicious meal, they can also make great works of art. Use turnips or brussels sprouts as stamps to decorate paper or make your own vegetable dye paints from red and yellow beets.

Knowing more about plants, and specifically how our food is grown, can help us make choices that are more sustainable for the environment and healthier for ourselves. There are great benefits from buying local. Buying local produce reduces the distance food is transported and often the amount of packaging needed by reducing the amount of fossil fuels burned and carbon emissions emitted into our air. Our food didn’t travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to get to you.

In return, not only are you are helping to protect our environment but you also receive the freshest produce, picked just hours before. Local food may also be more nutritious because it is picked at the peak of ripeness. Fruits and vegetables that travel long distances are picked before they are ripe and lose nutrients the longer they are separated from the plant. In addition, many local farmers grow their crops using organic fertilizers (like composted manure) rather than chemical fertilizers. Organic fertilizers release nutrients in the soil gradually over a period of time, allowing plants to absorb them for longer. Enjoy your trip to your Farmers’ Market in your neighborhood, today.

Learn the top ten reasons to shop at a farmers markets near you.