For some reason, I have kept this post waiting for a long time. I'm not sure, there is no real reason for it. So lets go visit one of the world's biggest natural history museum: The California Academy of Sciences.
The museum is located in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, so it is easy to find if you are visiting the city. This museum has a very long history. The academy was established in 1853 and the first museum opened in 1874. After that, it has changed its name, moved the location and gotten a new building several times. The museum was almost completely destroyed by the big fire after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. After that, it was opened in a new location in Golden Gate Park, but even that building got damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. Then a decision was made to completely renovate the museum. The current museum building was planned as ecological as possible, and it is known for its green grass rooftop.
Among all the nature things you can see in the museum, there is also a planetarium, aquarium and a rainforest in it. In the natural museum one can visit exhibits from all over the world. One interesting section is the part where they showcase evolution. Another popular spot is the earthquake simulator where people can feel what it would be like in a major earthquake.
Our favorite is absolutely the rainforest. In a hot and steamy tropic room you can see all kinds of animals from poisonous frogs to beautiful butterflies. You might have to stand in a line for a while to get in, but it is well worth it!
Another one that we like is the Steinhart Aquarium which showcases one of the world's most diverse coral reef. I could stay in the aquarium for hours to watch all the sea creatures. Kids and adults too can get close to ocean critters in a touch pool where the staff will tell you about what you are looking at. I also love the colourful, tropical fish. Kids usually love to watch penguins getting fed, and they also have an albino alligator which would not survive in nature.
We have visited the California Academy of Sciences multiple times and it is always fun. A day goes really fast there and every time we learn something new. It is a perfect place if you get tired of sightseeing or if it is raining. I can truly recommend a visit!
TIPS FOR VISITING THE CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENcES
- If you want to avoid standing in line, you can buy your ticket ahead of time online. You should also google some discount tickets that can often be found.
- Going through the museum takes hours. So bring comfortable shoes and reserve a lot of time for your visit. Take a program with you from the door so you can check when the different shows start.
- The museum has a nice cafe where you can buy both food and snacks.
- There is a big parking garage next to the museum but especially on the weekends the parking fills up fast. The earlier you arrive, the easier it will be to find parking.