Teachers’ Lounge

Homeschool Day: January 27, 2010

by megan on Jan. 8th, 2010 No Comments


Wednesday, January 27, 2010
9:30 am – 5:00 pm

Join us on this special day of presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on programs, when we invite homeschooling families to explore the museum at reduced admission prices. For your reference, I suggest your print the Registration Guide, which contains all of the information listed below.


San Francisco Homeschool Families
Two adults may attend with their children (ages 4-17) for free.

Homeschool Families from outside San Francisco
Two adults may attend with their children (ages 4-17) for only $4.95 per person.

Free Admission for Infants and Toddlers
Children ages 0-3 are free, but please include them in your reservation so that we may monitor attendance.

Additional Chaperones
Reservations for additional adult chaperones may be made at general admission prices ($24.95 for adults; $19.95 for college students and seniors).

Reserved Programs
Most programs are drop-in, but a few involve pre-registration due to capacity limits. The majority of the day’s offerings are covered in the price of admission; however some instructor-led classes involve a participation fee to cover the cost of materials. Fees are per participant, and adult attendance is required.


Individual families may register beginning Tuesday, January 12, 2010.

Pre-registration is required for all attending family members for general admission and any reserved programs. Walk-ups will not be admitted at these discounted rates. Bring your email confirmation as proof of registration to gain admittance.

Fill out the attached Registration Guide with key information before placing your call to the Contact Center at 800.794.7576. Follow the “school reservations” prompt. Registration is not available online or via email.

Should the phone system be busy, do not hesitate to call back later in the day!


Take your time exploring our exhibits. Note special hours for the following:

Rainforests of the World
Level 1, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm
Morpho butterflyExperience what it’s like to walk in a living rainforest. Our dome contains 1,600 live animals, including 600 free-flying birds and butterflies, 100 exotic reptiles and amphibians, and a cave of bats. You’ll descend in an elevator to the Amazonian flooded forest on the Lower Level.

Morrison Planetarium: Journey to the Stars
Level 1, 10:30 am – 4:30 pm on the half hour
Journey to the StarsTravel through time and space to experience the dramatic lives and deaths of stars. Witness supernova explosions and dive into the heart of the Sun. Passes are handed out on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit the kiosk at the Planetarium entrance to select your show time. For ages 7+. Ages 3 and under not permitted.

Naturalist Center
Level 3, 10 am – 5 pm
Naturalist CenterWith books, specimens, and online access to our research collections, this space is a great place to learn more about the natural world with one-on-one help from Academy naturalists. Visitors with shared interests can sit, connect, and converse, and Academy Members have the privilege of checking out books, DVDs, and curriculum guides.

Early Explorers Cove
Level 1, 10 am – 5 pm
Early Exlorers CoveIn this space reserved for toddlers and their parents, kids experiment and interact with displays, including a California backyard garden and an Academy schooner. For focused learning with your child, check out a Nature in your Noodle Box. For ages 5 and under.

Project Lab
Level 1, Throughout the day
Project LabThe Academy was founded in 1853 to conduct scientific research. With over 10 active research departments, our scientists continue to contribute new knowledge about life’s diversity. Read the interactive panels to learn more about each field of study, and watch science happen as curatorial staff, visiting researchers, or local graduate students catalog, prepare, or analyze our diverse collections.


Discover with Docents
Level 1, Throughout the Day
DocentBe on the lookout for enthusiastic, knowledgeable docents in orange lab coats. Investigate specimens up-close, watch a volcano explode, build an ice-cold comet, or meet a live animal ambassador. Docents stationed on the floor are ready for your questions, and some are set to host impromptu tours. You’ll find most docents on Level 1; visit others at the hands-on Discovery Tidepool on the Lower Level.

Penguin Feeding
10:30 am and 3:30 pm in African Hall
PenguinDid you know that 17 species of penguins exist on the globe, and most do not inhabit Antarctica? Where are our penguins from? Meet Pierre, Ocio, and the rest of the African penguin colony. Aquarium biologists field visitor questions as they feed and care for the birds.

Specimen Spotlight
11:30 am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm in the Naturalist Center
SpecimenLearn about a different Naturalist Center specimen in each of these focus talks. Note that seating is limited. Recommended for ages 6+.

Coral Reef Dives
11:30 am and 2:30 pm at the Philippine Coral Reef
DiverTalk with a diver who descends into the exhibit to introduce you to the world’s deepest living coral reef exhibit. What question will you ask? Bring along a Coral Reef Color Wheel, or try your hand at some Fish Family Identification.

Swamp Talk
1:00 pm at the Swamp
swampLearn about some of the Academy’s most popular animals. You’ll find out what it takes to care for the albino alligator and the alligator snapping turtles, which are native to swamps in the southeastern United States. By the way, how did we get the turtles into the exhibit? Check out this video from last August!

Chat with a Scientist
1:30 pm at Science in Action
BeetleAcademy scientists explore every corner of the globe, studying the diversity of life and how to protect it. Join in the conversation as Dave Kavanaugh discusses his beetle research, its relevance to climate change, and his efforts on monitoring the upcoming large-scale restoration of the Elwha River in Washington state. Recommended for ages 10+

Live Birds of Prey
2:00 pm, conditions permitting, in the West Gardens
Raptor ShowResidents of this outside enclosure include a Barn Owl, a Swainson’s Hawk, and a Turkey Vulture. Get a peek at these magnificent raptors, and watch a biologist providing care.

Crafts in the Gallery
10:00 am – 2:00 pm outside Early Explorers Cove
PencilsYoung students, and those with an urge to build, will enjoy these science-themed crafts. Make an amphibian-inspired bag puppet or build a lightweight flyer.

Giveaways in the Gallery
2:30 pm – 4:30 pm outside Early Explorers Cove
GiveawaysPick up a free parting gift, as supplies last. We’ll display posters, cards, educational games, stickers, and more!

Please note that access to Altered State: Climate Change in California may be limited through February due to exhibit reconfiguration. Also, the Bugs! 3D show is on hiatus, as we are installing a brand-new exhibit in the auditorium space.


These programs involve pre-registration due to limits on room capacity. In addition, some instructor-led classes involve a participation fee to help cover the cost of materials. Out of respect for other families that may be interested in participating, please register each of your children in no more than 1 reserved program.

Notes: At least one adult must accompany each student. Fees are per participant, and are due upon registration. Registration is subject to availability.

Morrison Planetarium: A Tour of Our Solar System
Level 1, 9:30 am
SaturnFind out what makes up a planet, and get a close-up view of the planets in our solar system. Examine features that they have in common, as well as those that make each planet unique. This show is presented live by Academy staff. For ages 7+. Free.

California Geology
Level 3, Education Lab, 10:00 am and 12:00 pm
Geology LabWhat rocks and minerals are found in our state, and how do humans use these natural resources? Learn the physical properties used by geologists to describe rocks and minerals, and then observe and describe specimens of an unidentified rock from California using two different microscopes. Discover the differences between the three major classifications of rocks, practice your map-reading skills, and leave with a greater appreciation for the Earth beneath us. For ages 9-11. $12/person.

African Skulls
Level 3, Classroom, 10:15 am and 11:30 am
African SkullThrough drawing, measurement, and interpretation, you’ll investigate and identify a mystery skull from an African animal, just like a researcher would in the field. Does it belong to a predator, or prey? Where does it live? How large might the entire animal be? Follow up with a visit to African Hall, and you’ll notice the diverse biomes found on this continent! For ages 8+. $6/person.

Evolution of Fish Game
Level 3, Classroom, 1:00 pm
Evolution GameWatch the drama of evolution over time unfold in this exciting board game. Learn the importance of adaptation and see how species are affected by changes in the environment. Will your species of fish survive through the Early Cretaceous period? Only time will tell! Participants have the honor of serving as an advisory group for this newly revised educational product. For ages 12+. $8/person.

Outrun the Owl Game
Level 3, Classroom, 2:30 pm
Owl GameLearn about a food web involving barn owls and their prey, explore the resources animals need to survive, discover the impacts of natural and human activities on animal populations, and learn some fascinating trivia. Participants have the honor of serving as an advisory group for this newly revised educational product. For ages 6+. $8/person.

Citizen Science
Level 3, Education Lab, 3:00 pm
SpiderHow can your family contribute to the scientific record, just by heading outside? Discover how you can act as citizen scientists, collecting data (and even live specimens!) for ongoing projects tracking populations of ants and spiders in the Bay Area. Learn about these invertebrates, and study them under a microscope. Participants will receive a simple collecting kit to take home. For ages 9-11. $12/person.


What time should we arrive at the museum?
If you have reserved seats to the A Tour of Our Solar System show, please be in line at Door 2 by 9:15 am. Likewise, if you have reserved seats for morning programs in the Classroom or Education Lab, it behooves you to arrive early to allow time for entry. Because Homeschool Day lasts until the museum closes, with drop-in programs throughout the day, all other families need not be in line for opening at 9:30 am sharp.

Is parking available at the Academy?
The Music Concourse Parking Facility is a public lot that often fills to capacity early in the day, and tickets cannot be validated by the Academy. However, free street parking is available in Golden Gate Park. Note that many spaces are limited to 3-4 hours. An adult can certainly leave the building to move the family car — just remember to receive a hand stamp at the Guest Services desk for re-entry. Map and Directions >>

What if we bring more people than originally stated on our reservation?
If you arrive with more people in your group than indicated by your reservation, you will be asked to pay the full admission price for these individuals at the door. Even though infants and toddlers aged 0-3 attend for free, capturing their attendance is helpful for managing visitor capacity.

What should we do for lunch?
You may carry your own bag lunch or purchase food from the Academy Café. No food or drink is allowed on the exhibit floor, but tables are provided in the central Piazza, the West Garden, and the East Garden.

Do I need to stay with my child(ren)?
Yes, children must be accompanied at all times. If you have two children who are attending two different events at the same time, just must make sure that an adult is responsible for each.

How should our family prepare for the museum?
The Academy website features information on our exhibits and the scientific disciplines explored by our researchers. The Interactive Exhibit Map allows computer-savvy kids to browse exhibit elements and create a Favorites list so they’ll know what to look out for.

Where can we find scavenger hunts or other museum worksheets?
We highly encourage homeschool families to check out our lesson plan database full of activities fit for the museum and the home. From ready-made scavenger hunts to exhibit-inspired research projects, lessons cover learning objectives that can be adapted for students of various ages.

What other services might be helpful to know about?
Wheel-chairs are available at the Coat Check for those in need. For lost children or first aid, please go to the Security Office located near the Swamp or flag down the closest security guard in the exhibits. Restrooms are available on all levels next to the staircase/elevator leading to the Living Roof, as well as in the basement-level Aquarium. A spacious family restroom is located on the main floor near the Swamp.

How might our family benefit by becoming Members of the Academy?
Family membership includes many benefits, including free admission for all kids and grandkids, free lectures, special discounts, and borrowing privileges from the Naturalist Center. Members-Only Hours are the quietest at the museum, and therefore make for great educational visits! And this February, we say “thank you” to members with additional promotions. However, note that due to the heavily discounted rates for Homeschool Day tickets, these purchases may not be applied toward a conversion to a Membership plan.

How do I register with my child to attend one of the reserved programs?
Inform the call center representative that you would like to add a reserved program. Indicate the program code and the number of family members that you would like to register.

Can my child attend more than one program?
Out of respect for other families that may be interested in participating, please register each of your children for no more than 1 reserved program. With the exhibits and drop-in programs, there’s plenty to do!

My child is advanced for his/her age. Can I sign him/her up for a program designed for older students?
No. Please follow the age ranges listed above when registering your children. Several of the programs for older children require children to be of a certain height or to have appropriate hand-eye coordination.

What are the expectations for adult participation?
The hands-on classroom and lab programs require active adult participation. We know you are experts at contributing to your students’ education! Remember to stay with your children at all times.

Can you accommodate children with special needs?
The nature of these programs complements a variety of learning styles and abilities. We encourage you to indicate any special needs, whether physical or academic, upon registration. Don’t hesitate to indicate how best to accommodate the student(s). Wheel chair seating is available in the Planetarium, too.

Where are the Classroom and Education Lab located? When do we meet?
Line up on the Level 3 balcony next to the Naturalist Center, and don’t forget to bring your Confirmation Letter as proof of registration. Please arrive 10 minutes early so we can check in participants and begin the program promptly.

What is the difference between the A Tour of Our Solar System show and the Journey to the Stars show?
A Tour of Our Solar System is a program delivered live by Planetarium staff, runs at 9:30am only, and requires reservations. Journey to the Stars is a production narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and runs every hour on the half-hour from 10:30 am – 4:30 pm. Passes are picked up for this show on the day of your visit.

I have reserved seats for A Tour of Our Solar System. Where and when do we line up?
You will enter the Planetarium immediately upon being admitted to the museum. Be sure to stand in the designated line at the Entrance (Door 2) by 9:15 am, and don’t forget to bring your Confirmation Letter as proof of registration.

How do we get passes for the Journey to the Stars Planetarium show?
Passes are handed out on a first-come first-served basis. Visit the kiosk at the Planetarium entrance to select your show time. If you are an Academy Member, we recommend returning on a Sunday morning when the 10:30 am show is reserved for you!

Is there an age limit to attend a show in the Planetarium?
Yes. Please note that the Planetarium shows take place in a darkened environment, with imagery and sounds that some children may find disorienting. For these reasons, we strongly discourage entry for children under the age of seven. Children 3 and under are not permitted.

We hope you can join us!

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