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 27, 2010

Pierre the Penguin: 1983-1987


On 16 February 1983 “Pierre” the Penguin hatched at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. His parents raised him in Maryland until he was a juvenile. In June of 1983 “Pierre” was sent to the California Academy of Sciences with 15 other African penguins to start a new penguin colony. The photo above is of one of the original African penguin exhibits at the Academy in Golden Gate Park (they were referred to as Jackass penguins at the time). Pierre is located on the far right staring into the camera.  In 1986 as “Pierre” became sexually mature and interested in females, he started to court an older female penguin that came from South Carolina. Her name was “Ursula”. “Pierre” and “Ursula” formed a long term monogamous bond, settled down and started nesting.  Their first successful chick hatched on 14 March 1987; his name was “P.U.” One year later “P.U.” was flown to Hilton Hawaiian Village as part of the African Penguin Species Survival Plan.-Pamela Schaller


Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 8:54 am

April 21, 2010

Pierre the Penguin: A True Story


“Pierre” is our oldest African penguin and has recently become the subject of a beautifully written and illustrated children’s book. The book is titled “Pierre the Penguin” and was authored by Jean Marzollo http://www.jeanmarzollo.com/books/pierrethepenguin.html and illustrated by Laura Regan http://www.lauraregan.com/book_Pierre_the%20Penguin.html Through the next few blogs I will be filling you in on “Pierre’s” life history that inspired these talented artists. If you stop by the Academy, you can see “Pierre” and his wetsuit. They are both located in African Hall.-Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 3:08 pm

April 20, 2010

Penguin Behavior: Allopreening


Put simply, allopreening is when one penguin uses its beak to clean and rearrange the feathers of another penguin. Parents also allopreen their chicks in order to keep them clean until they are old enough to preen themselves.  In our exhibit you might see two birds preening each other at the same time. This is called mutual allopreening. This happens mostly between birds that have formed their pair bond. In this case the preening is not only practical but serves to solidify the bond and is a sign of recognition between the pair. Look for this behavior between penguins in our exhibit that have matching colored bands on their wings. They are showing affection, strengthening their bond, and also helping each other to stay clean.  -Pam Montbach

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 12:23 pm

April 10, 2010

Penguin Behavior: Preening


This is a picture of “Pierre” taking care of his feathers this morning. A penguin must constantly keep their feathers clean and waterproof. This behavior is called preening. Penguins can preen while swimming or on land. They will often bite at their own oil gland located at the base of their tail, transfer the oil from their beak to their wings and then rub their head and body with these oils. Or they may just take their beaks and individually clean and apply oils to each feather as Pierre is doing. Their feathers must stay in clean condition and well oiled in order for the penguin to remain warm and insulated. Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 12:23 pm