A look at the outer realms of the solar system, cool stories about space, and indoor “glamping” mark the highlights in May at the California Academy of Sciences
© California Academy of Sciences
Benjamin Dean Astronomy Lecture
Monday, May 9 | 7:30 pm
Professor Renu Malhotra
Department of Planetary Sciences, University of Arizona
Discovered less than 100 years ago, Pluto was first designated as the ninth planet in our solar system, then unceremoniously reclassified as a “dwarf planet,” meaning it cannot clear objects out of its path. This lecture will cover how scientists’ understanding of the history of the solar system has undergone a revolution in recent years, owing to new theoretical insights into the origin of Pluto and the discovery of the Kuiper Belt (in which Pluto exists) and its rich dynamical structure which produced the final solar system architecture that we live in today. Dr. Malhotra will review this new view of our solar system's history, describe the astronomical evidence, and critically assess current theoretical models. $8 members, $10-12 non-members.
Penguins + Pajamas Sleepover
Friday, May 27 | 6 p.m. until 8 a.m. the following day
Memorial Day weekend may be the start of the summer camping season, but you can ease into it with overnight “glamping” at the Academy’s Penguins + Pajamas Sleepover. This memorable event for kids 5 to 17 (accompanied by an adult) includes Academy admission both the evening of plus next-day admission, snacks, bedtime stories, breakfast the next morning and best of all…the opportunity to “camp out” with your sleeping bag in front of the penguins, the swamp or one of the large aquarium tanks. Tickets sell out, so grab them fast!
Interstellar Story Time
Fridays through June 3 | 10:15 a.m.
Blast off!! Grab a seat in the Science Today Station to hear out-of-this-world stories about stars, moons, suns, galaxies and all things space-related!
The Curious Case of Homo naledi: What We Do (and Don't) Know About Our Newest Extinct Relative
Tuesday May 3 | 7 p.m.
Dr. William Harcourt-Smith
Presented in Partnership with the Leakey Foundation
Join Dr. William Harcourt-Smith as he explores the significance of Homo naledi, the early human relative recently discovered deep within Rising Star cave in South Africa. This find, consisting of over 1500 fossil fragments, is arguably one of the most important fossil discoveries of the last half century. In this talk, he will discuss what makes Homo naledi so unique, where it may fit within the human lineage, and what consequences this groundbreaking discovery may have for our current understanding of human evolution. $12 members, $15 non-members.
Clair Matzger Lilienthal Distinguished Lecture
Is Earth Approaching a Tipping Point?
Friday, May 20 | 3:30 p.m. with reception at 4:30 p.m.
Dr. Elizabeth Hadly, Paul S. & Billie Achilles Chair of Environmental Biology at Stanford University
Based on a new book written by her and her husband, Professor Anthony Barnosky of University of California Berkeley—titled Tipping Point for Planet Earth—How Close Are We to the Edge?—Dr. Elizabeth Hadly will examine if Earth is on the brink of a societally dangerous tipping point. She will discuss how alarming events such the Zika virus, the migrant crisis, climate change, ISIS, food scarcity, drinking water contamination, and other news seems like a string of unrelated crises, but they are, in fact intimately intertwined. How do we know that planetary tipping points happen? Why are we close to one? What can we do individually to help the world tip in a direction that is good for people and the planet, rather than one that will forever harm both? Free with paid general admission to the Academy.
Coming Soon! – Twilight Zone: Deep Reefs Revealed Exhibit Opens June 10
Step inside a realm known as the twilight zone—a narrow, dimly lit band of the world's oceans more mysterious to scientists than the surface of the Moon. In this groundbreaking new aquarium exhibit, discover the beauty and importance of the little-known reefs that exist between 200 and 500 feet below the ocean's surface.
Ongoing Events at the California Academy of Sciences
Incoming! Planetarium Show
Daily | Showtimes vary
In this new show narrated by George Takei, audiences will discover how asteroids and comets have collided with our planet throughout history, changing the course of life on Earth and shaping the world we know today. From the comfort of a planetarium seat, viewers will embark on a dynamic journey on the trail of asteroids and comets, get an up close look at the advanced technologies that allow scientists to detect asteroids before they reach Earth, and visualize historic space events billions of years in the making—all within an immersive, all-digital dome that brings the captivating story of our cosmic origins to life like never before.
Monday – Friday | 11 a.m.
Join Academy experts on the museum’s famous living roof to hear how birds, bees and other creatures pollinate and keep both plants, animals and even humans thriving and healthy.
3D Earth: Rainforests
Daily | Showtimes vary
Explore stunning views of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest like never before with 3D Earth: Rainforests, a new, live 3D show in the Academy’s Forum Theater. From towering canopies to the lush forest floor, put on a pair of 3D glasses and follow Academy scientists as they explore the vast biodiversity within these rich, tropical environments.
The California Academy of Sciences is home to an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and research and education programs, which engage people of all ages and backgrounds on two of the most important topics of our time: life and its sustainability. Admission to the Academy is: $34.95 for adults; $29.95 for youth ages 12 to 17, Seniors ages 65+, and students with valid ID; $24.95 for children ages 4 to 11; and free for children ages 3 and younger. Admission fees include all exhibits and shows. Hours are 9:30 am - 5:00 pm Monday - Saturday, and 11:00 am - 5:00 pm on Sunday. During peak periods, including some holiday weekends, extended hours may apply. Visit www.calacademy.org or call (415) 379-8000 for more.