Natural wonders are closer than you think. Embark on a Local Expedition with Academy scientists and experience the greater San Francisco Bay Area's biodiversity like an insider.

Academy donors and community science staff explore tidepools at Pillar Point

Leadership and Director’s Circle supporters are invited to join Academy scientists throughout the year on exclusive Local Expeditions to unique, scientifically important sites in the Bay Area. Friends Circle supporters at $10,000+ are invited to join one select Local Expedition annually. From marveling at meadows of California-native wildflowers to observing elephant seals at Año Nuevo, discover the ecological richness of our region—and learn how your support is helping to regenerate it.


Past Local Expeditions

Petrified ammonite fossil

Journey Back in Time
Winter 2024

Friends Circle donors at a giving level of $10,000 and higher, are invited to join Academy scientist Dr. Peter Roopnarine and Academy Trustee Dr. Lisa White for an afternoon of exploration and time travel. Discover fossils normally submerged beneath the sea to better understand climate, time, and geology.

Seal at Farallon Islands

Wondrous Whale Watching
Fall 2023

Donors enjoyed a captivating full day at sea, witnessing the wonder of whales and wildlife in one of the most spectacular and biodiverse marine ecosystems in the world—the Farallon Islands.

Matthew Turner brigantine in San Francisco Bay

Call of the Sea
Spring 2023

Donors joined Academy scientists for a remarkable morning at sea on the Matthew Turner, a sustainably-built, historical brigantine. Guests learned more about the Academy's Thriving California initiative and documented the biodiversity in the San Francisco Bay, and enjoyed a catered lunch.

Scorpion on black background

Mt. Diablo: Spiders, Scorpions, Bats, and Stars
Fall 2022

Donors enjoyed a special evening under the stars with Academy scientists on a Local Expedition to Mt. Diablo. Guests encountered tarantulas and scorpions, detected bats and owls, and marveled at the awe-inspiring starry night with the Academy’s astronomy experts.

Sea otters floating on their backs in Elkhorn Slough, California

Elkhorn Slough
Spring 2022

Academy scientists and donors explored this marine estuary teeming with seals, sea otters, and birds and enjoyed a beautiful catamaran ride, delicious lunch, and guided walk—all while learning more about the Academy’s Thriving California initiative.

Academy botany curator Sarah Jacobs among wildflowers at Russian Ridge Preserve

Russian Ridge Preserve wildflowers
Spring 2021

One of the jewels of the Peninsula, Russian Ridge Preserve is famous for its dazzling spring superbloom. Donors, along with Academy scientists, Development staff, and Executive Director Scott Sampson, enjoyed a guided hike through this wildflower wonderland of poppies, lupines, and more.

People observing elephant seals at Ano Nuevo Preserve

Año Nuevo seal viewing
Spring 2020

Just 55 miles south of San Francisco is the Año Nuevo Coast Natural Preserve, home to one of the world’s largest colonies of northern elephant seals. Donors, along with Academy scientists, Development staff, and Executive Director Scott Sampson, made a pilgrimage to see these incredible pinnipeds molt, bask, and breed in this beautiful coastal habitat.

Donors planting trees at Blue Oak Ranch Reserve

Blue Oak Ranch Reserve tree planting
Fall 2019

California’s blue and valley oak woodlands are home to hundreds of ecologically important plants and animals. Donors, along with Academy scientists, Development staff, and Executive Director Scott Sampson, explored Blue Oak Ranch Reserve’s protected woodlands—usually accessible only to researchers—and helped plant trees to support regeneration efforts at this vital, at-risk ecosystem.


Junior Expeditions

Two children look out to sea at Ano Nuevo Preserve

Donor Circle supporters at giving levels of $25,000 and higher are invited to bring the children in their lives on two exciting Junior Expeditions each year. From animal encounters to hands-on projects, these unforgettable adventures are designed for the whole family to enjoy—and introduce your young naturalists to inspiring Academy scientists.

Image of Engineering Our Coastlines activity

Engineering Our Coastlines
Winter 2023

Leadership Circle Donors plus children or grandchildren are invited to join us before Friends Family Breakfast for a hands-on Junior Expedition where we will be taking on the role of engineers who are working with community members to design a shoreline that is safe for people and wildlife. This activity is limited to Leadership Circle Donors, please RSVP by Nov. 27. 

Contact us
Questions about Local Expeditions or Donor Circle benefits? We're happy to help. Contact us today!
Leadership Philanthropy Coordinator