Bring your wild things to the Academy between March 24-April 23 for a bouquet of science programs, games, and demonstrations that will connect your family to the beauty, wonder, and whimsy of the natural world.

Spring has sprung—and what better way to seize the longer days than with some fun-in-the-sun at the Academy! Special programs and events abound both outdoors and in, from boat design and water play with Riveropolis in the East Garden to hands-on activities and touchable specimens in the Naturalist Center. Plus, chat with Academy experts and learn how our Thriving California initiative is helping us regenerate biodiversity, adapt to a changing climate, and build a movement for nature in the Golden State.

Spring Festival is March 24 through April 23. Schedule and programming subject to change—check back frequently for updates!

A young girl plays at the Riveropolis water table at the Academy


Build a boat at this winding water table with multiple elevation changes—perfect for kids and adults to design, tinker, and explore the physics of water. Daily, 10 am-4 pm; East Garden.

Kids watch a puppet show in the East Garden of the Academy

Song of the Salmon

In this adventure-filled puppet show, you’ll journey upriver with a cute cast of characters to learn about salmon’s important role in the health of California ecosystems. Daily, 11 am; East Garden.

Young girl and mom play with science games in Naturalist Center

California connected

Touch a real California condor wing, put your senses to the test with a tactile guessing game, and discover the incredible diversity of our state. Daily, 11 am-4:30 pm; Naturalist Center.

Father and son play a large percussion instrument in the Academy's East Garden

Pop-ups & partners

From birdwatching to insect collecting to music-making, a colorful array of facilitated and DIY activities await your exploration. Scroll through the slideshow below for details. Daily, times vary; East Garden.

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    Insect Investigation

    Insects are awesome! Learn how to collect insects safely using everyday tools at the Academy or in your own backyard. 

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    Create With Nature

    Nature is an incredible artist. So are you! Create unique works of art and engineering using natural items like pinecones, leaves, and stones.

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    Find our Feathered Friends

    When you're a birdwatcher, every day can become a rewarding scavenger hunt. Search for hidden birds and learn how to identify them.

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    Nature Music  

    Drum up some bandmates and make some noise using simple percussion instruments and the sounds of the natural world.

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    Partner Potpourri

    The East Garden is abuzz with our community partners: Planet Bee, River Otter Ecology Project, Nature in the City, local artist Danielle ZornGolden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and Point Blue.

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    Nature Arcade

    Test your balance on a spiderweb and toss “food” to some California critters in these self-guided activities.