55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
Regular Hours:


9:30 am – 5:00 pm


11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:


8:30 – 9:30 am


10:00 – 11:00 am

Please note: The Academy will be closing at 3:00 pm on 10/24 (final entry at 2:00 pm). We apologize for any inconvenience.

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Live Penguin Cams 

April 20, 2011

African penguin Reproduction: Fertile Eggs


The process of candling eggs is an important part of our African penguin reproductive program at the Academy. It allows the staff to determine fertility early enough to predict hatching and plan for rearing chicks. Candling eggs was reviewed in the penguin 20 October 2010 blog post. Candling eggs requires a steady hand and experience as the embryo is developing important parts of their body every hour in the first few days. While candling we look for blood vessel development inside of the egg. The embryo develops an embryonic lung system that looks like an intricate network of blood vessels which allows the embryo to exchange gases through microscopic pores in the egg shell. The upper third of the egg above shows the characteristic vessels of development at day 9 of incubation.-Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 2:38 pm

April 5, 2011

African penguin Reproduction: Burrow Cam


Our African penguins have successfully hatched out 108 chicks since 1983. As a participating member of the African penguin SSP (Species Survival Plan) http://www.aza.org/species-survival-plan-program/ , we have been able to watch many of these birds grow and move on to other facilities. We are a breeding facility and have recently been observing some of newer couples begin to nest. We will be experimenting with the biologist cam placement in one penguin burrow to observe penguin reproduction. The couple we are monitoring is “Agulhas” and “Jahzara”.  You can join us while we watch this first time couple try to set up a nest and pair bond. Penguin burrows can be constructed out of guano, sand, dirt or whatever is available in the wild. Our burrow is fiberglass and allows for both adult penguins and penguin chicks to nest. It also has an entrance to the exhibit. The camera will move inside of this burrow on occasion and will get coated with salt and leaves that the birds bring into their burrow. We hope that the camera view is minimally obstructed, but this may be possible at any time. -Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 2:01 pm

March 19, 2011

African penguin Reproduction: The Love Shack is open


We currently have 15 birds housed in our African penguin exhibit plus two birds that have entered our Love Shack to spend some quality time together. “Pete” (pictured above) and “Adasha” are both 3 years old and are showing behavioral signs of sexual maturity. African penguins form very close pair bonds that last their entire life. They usually start to form these bonds between 3 and 4 years old, with successful reproduction occurring between 4 and 5 years old. “Pete” has been establishing territories by laying down in certain locations on exhibit and fighting other males to maintain those locations. He has also been bowing his head to some female penguins that walk by his territory. “Adasha” has been following male penguins around, also bowing her head in greeting to certain males on exhibit. Because these birds seem ready to start committing themselves to other birds, we have placed them in a room that has it’s own pool, nest and land space to encourage these two birds to interact. We can only wait to see if they may be willing to pursue a lifelong bond.-Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 11:38 am

February 26, 2011

African penguin Feeding: Feed Times Are Changing


Hello to our avid penguin feed watchers and to our first time viewers. We have normally fed our birds at 10:30am and at 3:30pm. However, we are now changing the feed times as of Monday 28 February 2011. The feed times will permanently change to 10:30am and 3:00pm. African penguins feed on two types of fish in the wild (anchovies and sardines) and we simulate their diet at the Academy by offering sustainably caught herring and capelin. We also supplement our fish with vitamins on a daily basis; including vitamin B-1, E and a multi-vitamin. For the first time in years we are making a small change to their feeding routine. I expect this will not be noticed by the colony, but we will monitor their food consumption as we always do. Visit us in person or on-line to watch our biologists educate our visitors and feed the birds.-Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 5:55 pm

January 26, 2011

Pierre the Penguin Book: Questions from A Kindergarten Class


Pierre the Penguin Book has won five awards including A Gold award from the California Reading Association. See the awards as posted by the illustrator Laura Regan Wildlife Illustrator Laura Regans Website 

Recently a Kindergarten Class at Marshall Lane School in Saratoga, California submitted a list of questions about the book to me. Here are their questions with my responses.

What do you do at the Cal Academy? My job is to care for the animals in the Aquarium, including the African penguins, Lake Malawi Cichlids, Alligator Gars and I am also on the Swamp Team that works with Claude our Albino Alligator.

Is Pierre a good penguin or a badly behaved penguin? Pierre is an excellent parent, steady mate to his girlfriend and interacts with the other penguins through normal healthy “good” behaviors.

Is Pierre fully healthy now? Yes, he is the healthiest I have seen him, swimming and nesting like he used to when he was much younger.

What kind of fish do penguins eat? African penguins mainly eat Anchovies, Sardines and Gobies.

How did you make the wet suit? I had a lot of tailoring help from Celeste, another person that works at the Academy. We worked together to get the suit to fit Pierre perfectly. We measured him and watched him every day to make sure he was comfortable.

How did you get the material for the wet suit? The neoprene, a rubbery material, was donated by Oceanic, a wet suit company for Pierre’s first wet suit. I purchased the material for his second wet suit. (Yes, Pierre has two).

Where can we see the wet suit? There is a display in front of the penguin exhibit in African Hall at the Academy. One of his wet suits is on display in it.

How did you put the wet suit on Pierre? I would place Pierre on a table, hold his wings out, place one wing through one hole, stretch the suit across Pierre’s chest and then place his second wing in the other hole. I finally would close the wet suit with velcro across his back.

What is your dog’s name? Tigris, like the river.

What store did you get your dog’s raincoat from? I purchased Tigris’s raincoat from Boat US, a company that makes lots of gear for people who like to sail.

Thank you to the Students in Mrs. Tolbert’s Kindergarten Class for your questions! Keep reading and learning!-Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 10:03 am
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