Sunday, April 11, 2010

California Academy of Sciences (SF Day 5)

After visiting the Conservatory of Flowers, we walked to the California Academy of Sciences which is also in Golden Gate Park. We have been to a lot of museums and we almost didn't go to this one because it was pretty expensive. But, we were glad that we went.

The museum was divided into several main areas. Besides the planetearium (which we didn't visit) and the aquarium (which we really enjoyed), there was a large exhibit about the Galapagos Islands. Although it was heavily evolutionary, I discussed the exhibit with Alex from a Creationist viewpoint. I loved that it didn't just have displays about the turtles and finches, it also had a lot about the different insects on the islands.

We were getting tired, so we sat down to have a snack. (A great tip if you are traveling!) I was suprised to see these bins in their cafe. They say "recycle", "compost", and "landfill" and they have drawings of what can go in each bin. Alex enjoyed searching for where each item went and we were surprised by some of them.

Next we went to the four store rain forest exhibit. It has a winding ramp that you walk up on the outside of the glass room.

They had lots of tropical plants, like this canivorous pitcher plant.

And, these epiphytes. From a sign at the exhibit: A canopy is crowded with plants needing access to the sunlight. With space at a premium, many plants grown on other plants. They collect water and nutrients from the air or the tangled plant mat on tree branches. Plants that anchor to other plants are epiphytes, and inlcude airplants and orchids.

There were a lot of birds flying around the rainforest exhibit.

And butterflies!

Our last stop at the Academy was The Living Roof. The entire Academy building was built to be incredibly eco-friendly. In fact, the insulation is recycled denim! And, their rooftop is "alive." It has 7 hills that are covered with wildflowers... and solar panels. A neat exhibit we viewed explains how scientists are studying the wildlife (plants and insects) on the roof compared to in the park. They are finding it more diverse!


  1. Looks like a great place. I really liked the photo of the pitcher plant. My girls are just fascinated with them. That "Living Roof" was just the coolest. Who would have thought that denim could be used for insulation?

  2. I like the Living Roof. Goes well with CM's Living Books :-) Actually, I am quite serious about this: we need to go back to a much more sustainable and living society in which children learn about life through 'living' examples of green-cities. Good photo's.

  3. What a cool place! I especially loved the living roof.
    I think places like this are the most interesting to visit.