This holiday season, your winter wonderland is in the heart of San Francisco. Frolic under indoor snow flurries, learn about animal life at the poles, and meet two impressively antlered reindeer in the East Garden.

‘Tis the Season for Science: Life on Ice, the Academy’s annual holiday exhibit, explores the remarkable adaptations that allow Arctic and Antarctic flora and fauna to thrive in such extreme ecosystems.

This year, you can marvel at one such live animal without having to travel to the tundra: See how reindeer are uniquely equipped to migrate incredible distances each year—on foot, contrary to popular belief…

This exhibit will reopen in November 2020. 

2 reindeer explore the East Garden

The reindeer are back!

Celebrate the return of the “nomads of the north!” Sporting the largest antlers relative to body size among all living deer species, these majestic mammals (also known as caribou) migrate vast distances every year. Learn more at Reindeer Rendezvous, daily at noon.

Mother and son explore the Tis the Season for Science exhibit

Why ice is nice

Investigate the survival strategies of the plants and animals that call some of the planet’s most hostile environments home—and see how you stack up next to life-size models of polar bears and emperor penguins.

2 young girls delight in snow flurries at the Academy

Fun in the flurries

From twice-hourly snow flurries in the Piazza to reindeer encounters in the East Garden, a mix of hands-on programs and live performances will entertain and educate audiences of all ages. See program details below.

Giant Snowman Theater in Tis the Season for Science exhibit

Season’s screenings

Get cozy inside Snowman Theater—a giant snowman-shaped digital dome theater—for Roaming with Reindeer, a kid-friendly short film about how reindeer are specially adapted for life in frigid northern latitudes.

Generously supported by:
Kaiser Permanente logo