In the midst of Golden Gate Park is the California Academy of Sciences. It’s pretty much a natural history museum complete with (1) the Steinhart Aquarium that rivals the Aquarium of the Bay in Fisherman’s Wharf and even slightly at par with Monterey Bay Aquarium (I’ll actually leave this judgment for later since I haven’t been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in a long time); (2)the Morrison Planetarium (Planet Arium South Park episode, anyone?) which I still think is one of the best places for a nap in the middle of the day; (3) a Rainforest which is basically a giant circular humid greenhouse; (4) the Kimball Natural History museum with the mammal room, and exhibits on sustaining life on earth; and oh…yeah, they have a revolving special exhibit…this time it was (5) SNAKES AND LIZARDS.
Between my boyfriend and my brother, many pranks and psychological torture were applied on me in the Snakes and Lizards exhibit. There is apparently a lizard that can leap from boulder to boulder and run at 16 mph. My brother whispers, “You can’t outrun that…” Then Boyfriend tossed a rubber lizard at me which resulted in a strangled scream which resulted in a lot of people looking at me which had my brother asking in a LOUD VOICE, “Was that scream you?”
I don’t care. I’ll scream if I want to.
After that ordeal, the rest of the day went easy peasy. We went to the Aquarium where we touched starfish and sea urchins, we napped in the Planetarium where Jodi Foster’s throaty voice lulled us into a dream filled with nuclei and mitochondria, we went to the Living Roof (my first time in over 5 visits) and froze our butts off in the freezing San Francisco summer wind, we played with the toys in the gift shop and overall had a great time!
Here’s the caveat: The California Academy of Sciences is a whopping $34.99! This hurts because the Smithsonian in Washington DC is FREE! And even the one in Los Angeles is only $12!
So, unless you really value the rainforest attraction and the planetarium, the living roof, the albino alligator, and the sustainable design of the CAS, then it’s recommended that you really plan your visit for that day instead of just randomly dropping in for 3 hours. If that was the case, then I’d say hop on Thursday nights Nightlife: 3 hours, NO CHILDREN RUNNING AMOK, wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres served — all for $12. STEAL.
Below are a few shots from Nightlife from my birthday in January: