California Academy of Sciences part 1: subaquatic trails

The month of May was full of adventures. We had a super moon and a partial solar eclipse and they were great fun, especially as the eclipse was my first. We capped off the science fun with a trip to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. We took so many photos that we had to divide them up. Part one begins with the Steinhart Aquarium.

A Tyrannosaurus Rex greets the visitors at the entrance
A Tyrannosaurus Rex greets the visitors at the entrance

Founded in 1853, it was originally named the California Academy of Natural Sciences, but changed to its current name in 1868. After outgrowing the original museum and losing the second to the Great Earthquake of 1906, the Academy moved to its current site in Golden Gate Park. The Academy continued to grow over the years and people came from all over the world to visit. The Academy survived the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989, but with considerable damage. Later, with part of the museum closed for safety reasons, it was decided that the old building required far too much work to make it seismically safe. A new museum was needed.

The California Academy of Sciences is a name that truly suits it. The new Academy, designed by Renzo Piano, is a testament to sustainable architecture. I will delve into that topic a bit more in a later post. For now, we’re going to wander around the swamp, the reef lagoon, and the Steinhart Aquarium.

The first area we went to was the reef lagoon, located next to the planetarium.

From there, we wandered over to the swamp.

In the swamp exhibit, we found one of the museum’s more famous residents. It was Claude, the albino alligator. Since he’s sensitive to flash photography, it’s not permitted. However, the Academy of Sciences provides photos for download. The following is courtesy of the Academy.

California Academy of Sciences
Bald cypress in the swamp
Academy of Sciences
Claude on his warming rock. He’s quite a handsome devil. Photo by Ron DeCloux.

Next to the swamp was the entrance to the Steinhart Aquarium. According to the Academy:

Steinhart Aquarium, the Living Collection, is home to 38,000 live animals from around the world, representing more than 900 separate species. Come nose-to-beak with an African penguin, watch sharks and stingrays cruise beneath your feet, check out the set of teeth on a piranha, and learn about the critical, life-sustaining role that water plays on Earth.

In addition to those mentioned above, the aquarium is also home to a variety of reptiles.

This last photo was taken looking up out of a tunnel into the rain forest above. The rainforest will be our destination for part 2.


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5 Replies to “California Academy of Sciences part 1: subaquatic trails”

  1. wow, i’ll have to make this place a “must see” next time i get out to sf. i really like it when you can have such fun and learn so much.

    1. Definitely! The other must see is the DeYoung Museum in GG Park. The nice thing about that one is that it’s the sister museum to the Legion of Honor at Land’s End. The entry fee for one covers the other if you go on the same day.

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