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

The Academy will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Planetarium will be closed Sep. 22, 23, 24

Live Penguin Cams 

May 26, 2010

Penguin Behavior: Alternate Stare


Ever wanted to ‘keep an eye’ on someone hanging around in your vicinity? Sometimes that can be more difficult than it sounds.  Penguins have little to no binocular vision, so the alternate stare acts as a method of focusing on threatening objects.  These stares are given by penguins protecting their territory.  You will see the birds moving their heads slightly from side to side in an effort to let unwanted visitors know they are being watched.  In the event of a confrontation, the head is placed in such a position that it affords ample time to strike with the bill.- Vikki McClosky

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 12:32 pm

May 18, 2010

Pierre the Penguin:2009-2010


In 2009 “Pierre” molted again (replaced his feathers)and he made a nest with his mate “Homey”. On 13 August 2009 another wetsuit wearing penguin made the news.  Quoted from a news release from Marwell Wildlife, in Hampshire, England:  “Ralph, a nine year old Humboldt penguin, lost all of his feathers in one day, exposing his pale pink skin to the sun. The wetsuit will protect Ralph’s sensitive skin until his new feathers have grown through…” “Ralph’s keepers made the wetsuit out of the leg of an adult wetsuit donated by a member of our staff.” http://www.marwell.org.uk/ralphthehumboldtpenguin.asp  In 2010 a book was written by Jean Marzollo and illustrated by Laura Regan about “Pierre” titled, “Pierre the Penguin, A True Story”. The book describes “Pierre’s” lack of feathers and the solution of a penguin wetsuit. “Pierre” and “Homey” are currently located in the African Penguin exhibit in African Hall. Their nest is located on the left side of the exhibit. They have matching blue wingbands. “Pierre” is banded on his right wing and “Homey” is banded on her left wing. Two of “Pierre’s” grandchildren are also sharing the African Penguin exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences; they are named “Dyer” and “Adasha”. The photo is of Pierre and Homey in Golden Gate Park.-Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 1:14 pm

May 11, 2010

Pierre the Penguin:2007-2008


During 2007 “Pierre” began to show signs of balding, his feathers were slowly falling out and breaking. His feathers did not replace as they normally do annually. Medical tests were performed without any conclusion as to why he didn’t molt. Several therapies were tried yet none proved successful in re-growth of his feathers. With a wetsuit, a surgery and a new home: 2008 became a momentous year for “Pierre”. From January-February 2008 Pamela Schaller and Celeste Argel worked closely to make patterns and prototype suits in order to keep “Pierre” warm. They drew from their cooperative knowledge of penguins, tailoring and a dog raincoat enclosure design to finalize a suit that was functional and safe for a penguin. In February 2008 a neoprene wetsuit was sewn for “Pierre” from the patterns and prototypes designed at the California Academy of Sciences. “Pierre” was fitted with the wetsuit and a series of in-house custom tailoring occurred at the Academy until the wetsuit fit him perfectly. From February 2008-April 2008 the wetsuit provided “Pierre” an insulative layer that kept him warm while swimming and on land. Within 6 weeks of wearing the suit he molted (replaced his feathers). He no longer needed to wear the suit. By May 2008 “Pierre’s” eyesight was failing and he was diagnosed with cataracts. He underwent surgery to remove the cataracts. The surgery proved successful and his eyesight improved. On 27 May 2008 “Pierre”, “Homey” and 18 other African penguins were introduced to their current home in Golden Gate Park. -Pamela Schaller


Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 4:14 pm

May 4, 2010

Pierre the Penguin: 1987-2006


Over the next 16 years “Pierre” and “Ursula” had 17 chicks, 22 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. These chicks were often sent on to other facilities to have offspring of their own. Many of their offspring currently live throughout the United States including: New York, Ohio, Georgia, North Dakota, Connecticut, Kentucky, Colorado, California, Idaho and Pennsylvania.  After a fruitful and long term relationship, “Pierre” became a widower in 2003 at the age of 20 years old. In 2006 “Pierre” started courting a younger female penguin named “Homey”. They formed a bond and set up a territory and nest together. The photo is of the Golden Gate Park African penguin exhibit in 2003, Pierre is swimming looking under the water. -Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 12:27 pm