Thursday, May 21, 2009

California Academy of Science

The third Wednesday of every month is the free day at the Academy of Science in San Francisco. In an attempt to get my brain off of crazy operas and work for an hour or two, I went to check it out. This is a brand new museum with all sorts of innovative green technologies used. Everything from the insulation (scrap denim), the water systems, the heating, the light and the roof are built with eco-sustainability in mind. The lay out was very impressive.

There are lots of interactive booths that teach about ecology and carbon footprints, endangered species, Darwin, Dinosaurs, conservation... and so on and so forth (somewhere in Kansas there is a school board member vomiting at the thought of so much science in one place)

They have two big domes inside; one is a planetarium and the other is a spiral rainforest. After waiting in the line to get in to the building at all I was disinclined to wait in another line, so I missed both. Plus the planetarium has limited passes.

In the lower levels they have many different aquariums. They have a swamp with a white alligator. They have a tropical "coral reef", a California coast, jelly fish domes et cetera, et cetera. The aquariums were in good health and interesting but somehow lacked a certain finesse that the Monterey Aquarium has. The lay out seemed a little frenetic on a scientific storyline level, but aesthetically it was all very pretty.

The South African Penguins were neat;

It surprised me that there was a lot of it that was just basically a natural history museum with dioramas and taxidermy. One interesting part was that the room that the taxidermy happens is in full view, there's a big glass window for the public to watch dead things get groomed and stuffed.

I loved the living roof they've got. It's covered with native plants and acts as a temperature regulator for the entire building. Also it helps bring down the carbon footprint of the entire facility.

All of the science here was mostly geared at elementary level scientists (ages 5-13ish) and it was very well laid out. I honestly was a little underwhealmed and can't see paying the $25 admission fee for myself. However it would be a fun afternoon trip to take kids on.

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