California Academy of Sciences

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55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA, USA

California Academy of Sciences San Francisco Reviews

52 reviews
Get dizzy in the planetarium Dec 22, 2011
I actually had a great time in the museum. The only thing what wasn't good, was the planetarium. The movie called 'life' was really pretty, but you get dizzy and I even got nauseous because of the planetarium.

It was a very busy time of the year, but still you can see a lot and read the signs. I was there early, so then you have more luck, but if you don't during the holidays, then you have to stay in a few lines and you can't read most of the signs, because most of them are normal size (and that's not big). I do think it is a beautiful museum and I want to go there again in a few years if I'm in San Francisco again to do it over and then go to the planetarium last.

What was good in my opinion, was the 'jungle' bowl. A don't know the real word for the bowl. But it was a bowl with tropical/exotic animals in it. There are butterflies and an alligator, but also spiders, frogs and chameleons in cages.

The prices are less good, but if you do want a souvenir. You better buy a key chain instead of the cute things, you'll pay too much for them.
The front
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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timhardin timhardin
5 reviews
Some rare stuff and very sci-fi building May 24, 2010
Loved the building which reminded me of some old sci-fi TV-series. Very classic museum building but with the domes and grass it's completely alien at the same time.

The rainforest globe with all topic layers of the rainforest is very clean but I didn't think that's a bad thing. I've been to a few trying to simulate a real rainforest and most of the time it's mostly dark and stuffy. This is better for understanding.

Albino alligator and a few of the corals was rare and in very good condition.
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Glynnes says:
Great! Thanks
Posted on: May 24, 2010
Dolphintrekker Dolphint…
11 reviews
"But trees give life. They make the clouds, the water, the air" Nov 26, 2008
The Academy has been closed for nearly 10 years...has it really been that long? Come to think of it, my last visit there was in junior high…yup, a while ago! I really don’t even remember how the old Academy looked like or how it was architecturally set-up. And I barely recall the announcement for the opening of this new one. In any case, as a friend and I brain stormed on how to spend a lazy afternoon, it occurred to us that we haven’t seen the new Academy. Well, that was my second choice; my first choice was to visit the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum Golden Gate Park to see the Little Puffer miniature steam train. However, I did hear of the Rainforest Exhibition being held and hosted by the Academy…sounded exotic. One of my dream destinations is the Amazon…

Being a native San Franciscan, you would think that I would know my way around the city…yah, NO. We got lost inside Golden Gate Park, but we considered it to be a part of the adventure. I guess I envisioned the new Academy to be a high-tech facility. I figured if they can house a Rainforest, then the facility must be huge. Well, not quite…the facility is basically an open space. So much so, that it felt empty. I guess it’s because of the light and airy environmental quality that the building expresses, which is structurally surrounded by glass. So, if the architects were trying to draw inspiration from nature, then I suppose they go it.

Focusing on the The Rainforest Exhibition. Again, I was looking forward to strolling along rainforest-paved pathways…not quite. The exhibition is contained in a literal glass bubble. Instead of dirt littered pathways (like you would find in a hiking trail), you ascend into the top of the dome on a spiral ramp, and you will soon feel the temperature rise as you walk 4-stories up. The interaction with the habitat is indirect and neatly sectioned: Madagascar, Costa Rica and the Amazon, etc. The animals were also contained behind glass cages/wall. The animals who had free reign of the place were the butterflies and birds, which was awesome, as well as, the different tropical fish merrily swimming along a gigantic water tank at the bottom of the dome. Where, when you finish the self-guided tour, you will descend (via elevator) pass the bottom of the pool so you can view the fish closer.

The Rainforest exhibit was educational (off course), but a bit disappointing. It’s really because of the romantic ideation that I created in my head, and how I envision the real Amazon. What an expectation…! It’s the best that can be accommodated in a modest, out-of-Brazil environment. But to maximize the exhibitions of the new Academy, visit as a family, especially if you have siblings or kids in high-school or younger. Now, next visit…5 yrs? Just kidding, I do want to visit the planetarium…

Exhibits in The Academy:



Living Roof

Islands of Evolution

Water Planet

~ First of all, all these trees go. Then come your highways, then your parking lots, your convenience stores, and then... Price check on prune juice, Bob. Price check on prune juice.~ Batty Koda
Jurassic Age - California Academy …
The Rainforest Exhibition - Califo…
The Rainforest Exhibition - Califo…
The Rainforest Exhibition - Califo…
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
sylviandavid says:
Congrats on being featured.... Sylvia
Posted on: Nov 30, 2008
poohstanggt says:
Congrats on your feature! Wish I would've realized it had been closed for 10 years...that explains why GG Park was insanely packed on Friday when we tried to visit. was nuts!
Posted on: Nov 30, 2008
X_Drive says:
Congrats on your third featured review!! :D
Posted on: Nov 30, 2008

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