Thursday, October 22, 2009

California Academy of Sciences

Last September the California Academy of Sciences re-opened it's doors after an extensive remodel. With much anticipation I have been awaiting an opportunity to take my girls to see the overhauled museum. After much research I decided that the summer months, a weekend, or any regular "out of school day" was not a great idea, at least not for awhile until the excitement of this place dies down. I have already heard of some nightmare crowd stories from a few friends and at this point with my girls still being so young I didn't think it was worth the risk of having a bad outing. But today the stars aligned and with a few very last minute changes to our schedule I was able to whisk the girls away to San Francisco on a week day to experience this wonderful place. And oh what a day it was!!!! It was one of those picture perfect Fall days in the city and the weather alone put the 3 of us in a fabulous mood. Pulling into the underground parking we found front row parking and only ending up spending $11 for all four hours - a miracle in and of itself. The crowds within the museum were minimal and because of this we were able to relax and take it all in. Here were a few of our favorite moments:

  • The Rainforest: This was just grand!!!! It was the first exhibit we hit and by far one of our favorites. The butterflies alone got my girls, and myself at times, squealing with delight. They were everywhere in the most vibrant colors and extreme sizes that you have ever seen. They flew past you within inches and would sometimes even land on visitors as they passed by. Here is a direct quote from the website describing the rainforest experience:
Step inside a living 4-story rainforest, where dripping water sets the beat for a symphony of croaking frogs and chirping birds. Peer into one of Borneo’s bat caves, meet chameleons from Madagascar, and climb into the tree-tops of Costa Rica to find free-flying birds and butterflies. Finally, descend in a glass elevator into the Amazonian flooded forest, where an acrylic tunnel allows you to walk beneath the catfish and arapaima that swim overhead.

  • The Penguins: Our second favorite stop of the day. This was great entertainment for quite sometime. The penguins put on a great show and seemed to enjoy all of us as much as we enjoyed them. This exhibit seems like it might be hard to see if the museum was crowded but since that wasn't the case today we were able to hang out (or lie down as my youngest did) and observe for quite awhile.

  • The aquariums: tons and tons of fish and underwater life!!!! Tanks of fish, jellyfish, sharks, turtles, water snakes, star fish and everything else you could imagine. Some of the exhibits were hands on, one took you in an elevator from the top canopy of the rainforest to the bottom of the ocean, and another let you walk underneath the water. All highly engaging for even the youngest crowd.

  • The living roof: We all got quite a kick out of being on the roof and seeing it look the way it did. Built with being green in mind this roof got my girls asking a lot of questions. By the end of our visit my oldest was determined that we should plant a garden on the roof of our house the minute that we returned home.

The food, the food!!! Let me tell you people our lunch in the museum cafe was a culinary delight!!! Only like San Francisco can do it they offer an amazing dining experience with oh so many options. I am so glad that we by passed my original idea of packing a lunch from home, for me lunch was a huge part of our experience. They offer both a sit down restaurant and a lunch room type cafe - we opted for the cafe because of the ease with two young children.

So there you have it. A day spent at the Science Museum in Golden Gate Park. It was a lovely day and I can't say enough about the museum. We will be going back again and probably again - it's one of those places you can visit over and over and still find new nooks and crannies to explore.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Chelsea, I am planning things to do with Nathan when he is off track in November and this is one of the places I wanted to take him.
    Thanks for the great tips and photos, this really helps!!!