Teachers’ Lounge

Homeschool Day: September 1, 2010

by megan on Aug. 2nd, 2010 4 Comments

Homeschool Day CraftsHOMESCHOOL DAY

Wednesday, September 1, 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 Academy at reduced admission prices.

Download and print the FAQ and Registration Guide, which includes everything you need for planning your experience and reserving a spot for your family.


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
Although most Homeschool Day events are drop-in and covered in the price of admission, our reserved programs involve pre-registration due to capacity limits. These instructor-led classes involve a participation fee to cover the cost of materials. Fees are per participant, whether child or adult.


Individual families may register beginning Tuesday, August 10, 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, but we will continue to register interested families through August 31, 2010.

Print-at-home tickets will be issued to you by email, and your confirmation will list any reserved programs. Bring these printouts with you on the day of the event to gain admittance.

Fill out the Registration Guide with key information before placing your call to the Contact Center at 800.794.7576. Registration is not available online or via email.


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, 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 and chat; Academy Members have the privilege of checking out books, DVDs, and curriculum guides. Scavenger hunts available upon request.

Early Explorers Cove
Level 1, 10 am – 5 pm
Early Explorers 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.

Extreme Mammals
Level 2, last entry 4:30pm
PangolinFeaturing spectacular fossils and other specimens from the Museum’s collections, this exhibition examines the ancestry and evolution of numerous species, ranging from huge to tiny, from speedy to sloth-like, and displays animals with oversized claws, fangs, snouts, and horns. Check in at the exhibit on Level 2 for access. Appropriate for all ages. Exhibit ends September 12, 2010.


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.

P is for Penguin
12:00 pm in African Hall
P is for PenguinA chance to meet Pierre, Howard, Ocio and the rest of the African Penguin colony. Learn more about these amazing birds by playing a fun spelling bee game and learning the special mystery word-of-the-day. For children ages 12 and under.

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?

Coral Reef Discovery
1:30 pm at the Philippine Coral Reef
Coral Reef FishLearn about the Academy’s Philippine Coral Reef tank, the world’s deepest exhibit of living coral. An exhibit expert will introduce you to the unique fish and corals and answer all of your reef-related questions.

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.

Extreme Life Mysteries
12:30 pm at Science in Action
PangolinExtreme animals aren’t just a thing of the past! Join us for this fun exploration of curious and extraordinary animals living today.


These programs involve pre-registration due to room capacity. While the A Tour of Our Solar System show is a seated presentation in the Planetarium, all of the courses taking place in the Classroom and Education Lab are hands-on activities designed for both individual and group learning.

Registration is subject to availability. Any associated fees are per participant and due upon registration.

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. Adult attendance required. Families should line up by 9:15am. For ages 7+. Free.

Introduction to Natural Selection
Level 3, Classroom, 10:30 am and 11:30 am
ladybirdNatural selection is one of the primary processes responsible for evolution – the change over time of populations of living things. Through careful observations of real specimens, students will understand how variation fuels this process. Then, activities will model how predation and fitness can affect a population over time. Join us to be introduced to these basic elements of natural selection! For ages 10+. $7.95/person.

Build an EcoHouse
Level 3, Classroom, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
RecycleHow can we make a home more energy efficient? Which flooring is most sustainable? How will we conserve water? What about the landscaping? Following an introduction to green building practices, we’ll work together in teams to choose building materials and implement sustainable strategies as we design our own Eco-dollhouse! For ages 10+. $7.95/person.

Owl Pellets, for the little ones
Level 3, Education Lab, 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Barn OwlAfter learning about how, where, and what barn owls hunt, students will dig into a regurgitated owl pellet. This hands-on exploration is accessible to young learners, and loads of fun. Parents can help to identify any found creatures using a dichotomous key based on the characteristics of animal skulls. Each participant (adults included!) may take home their collection of discovered bones! For ages 5-7. $7.95/person.

Owl Pellets, for the bigger kids
Level 3, Education Lab, 11:45 am – 12:45 pm
Barn OwlStudents will learn how to use the scientific method to answer questions, collecting class data from their owl pellet dissections to determine the diversity and percent composition of species preyed upon by barn owls of the Pacific Northwest. Each participant (adults included!) may take home their collection of discovered bones! For ages 8+. $7.95/person.

Waste and Water Challenges
Level 3, Education Lab, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
WasteConfused about how to sort waste into trash, recycling, and compost? Or are you an expert? Test your skills in our sorting relay race! Then, students will design efficient reusable water scenarios in a wet, hands-on challenge using household materials. Join us for activities related to the thoughtful use (and reuse!) of natural resources. For ages 8+. $7.95/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. All other families can arrive at their convenience; drop-in programs are scheduled throughout the day!

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.

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.

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 should our family prepare for the museum? Where can we find scavenger hunts?
pencilsThe Academy website features information on our exhibits and the scientific disciplines explored by our researchers. We highly encourage homeschool families to check out our lesson plan database full of activities fit for the museum and the home. Extreme Life Scavenger HuntHere is a handy list of sample activities:

Ready-to-go Worksheets

» Animal Safari Cards
» Predator-Prey Hunt
» Extreme Life Hunt
» Tracking Turtles and Tortoises
» Lemurs and the Like
» Animal Adaptations Hunt
» Our Chart of Body Parts
» Colorful Coral Reef
» Ocean Life Opposites

Galapagos Tortoises Hunt
 Worksheets accompanying Lessons

» My Expedition to Africa
» Mystery Mammals
» Polygon Poetry
» Prove Me Wrong
» Evolution and the Galapagos Tortoise
» Mapping Mockingbirds
» Threatened Biodiversity
» Comparative Physiology of Invertebrates
» Fish Family Identification

How do I register with my child to attend one of the reserved programs?
Tell us the program name and the number of family members that you would like to register. You can register a child for more than one program, assuming age-appropriateness. Adult attendance is required for the A Tour of Our Solar System show, and optional for hands-on programs.

What are the expectations for adult participation?
If you choose to register for a program with your children, we expect you to be an active participant. You’ll get to use all of the materials, too! Attendance is encouraged for programs designed for younger students; alternatively, you may check your child in for a Classroom or Education Lab program and return when it ends.

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 for check in.

My child is advanced for his/her age. Can I sign him/her up for a program designed for older students?
Please follow the suggested age ranges listed when registering your children, understanding that the makeup of the class may be 35 students and adults of various ages. We’ll learn together!

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.

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.

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! Don’t hesitate to leave comments and questions for us below.

4 Comments So Far

  1. Eileen on Aug. 8th, 2010 at 9:43 PM

    Will you have another homeschool day in January 2011 or the spring of 2011?

  2. megan on Aug. 9th, 2010 at 8:46 AM

    Great question, Eileen! The next Homeschool Day is planned for early February 2011. So, for those of you who can’t make it in September, we hope to see you in 6 months!

  3. Karla on Jan. 21st, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    Can you tell when is the next homeschool day??

  4. michelle on Jan. 24th, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    Hi Karla! Our next Homeschool Day is February 2nd, 2011. Head on over to our Teacher’s Lounge February 2nd, 2011 Homeschool Day entry for more information on what will be offered on this day and how to register. We hope to see you there!

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