Culture in San Francisco

California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is among the largest museums of natural history in the world. The academy began in 1853 as a learned society and still carries out a large amount of original research, with exhibits and education becoming significant endeavours of the museum during the twentieth century. Located in Golden Gate Park, the building was remodeled in 2008.

Prior to being replaced, the old academy building attracted approximately 500.000 visitors each year. As has been the case from the start, the main thrust of the exhibits is natural history. As such, the public areas of the academy are divided into three general areas:

  • Steinhart Aquarium which takes up most of the basement area, as well as a four-story dome that emulates a rainforest.
  • Morrison Planetarium which is devoted to things astronomical.
  • Kimball Natural History Museum which, in addition to its African Hall and a Foucault pendulum, includes a variety of changing displays covering a variety of subjects.

The academy buildings were damaged significantly in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Subsequently, the Bird Hall building was closed to ensure public safety. The inadequately engineered Steinhart Aquarium suffered dramatic seismic damage from the 1989 earthquake as well. As plans were made to repair the damage and make the buildings seismically stable, it was realized that a considerable amount of work would be needed to bring the buildings up to modern standards. This led to the idea of giving the academy a complete overhaul, thus motivating the closing of the main site.

Since February 12, 2009, the academy hosts a NightLife event every Thursday night from 6pm to 10pm, open to adults aged 21 and older. In addition to the regular snacks, alcoholic beverages are served and music is played throughout the event.

External links

Official website


Museum, Science, Golden Gate Park, Earthquake, Planetarium