Posted by: forgingahead | December 20, 2008

The Wonders of Science

This September the new California Academy of Sciences opened to much fanfare and acclaim. Green roof. White alligator. State of the art planetarium. Four story living rain forest. Sounds impressive, right?

Not wanting to get caught up in the initial rush we waited a while before going. We finally went last week and boy is it cool!

My hands down favorite part was watching the penguins. They are fascinating creatures. You can watch them too on the PenguinCam. These are African Penguins and since they mate for life the Academy tags the couples with matching colors. How cute is that?

Claude the albino alligator was kind of spooky and zen. Bert got a great shot of him doing what he does best. There was steam rising from the enclosure…probably to keep the poor guy warm in the cold SF weather. He’d recently relocated from Florida and no one told him just how chilly it gets here.


As we stood in line for the planetarium I spotted the Foucault Pendulum that had always entranced me as a kid. Something about the way it continually swings and then eventually knocks over a peg. I loved it then and now.


Isn’t it lovely?

The planetarium was a trip…literally and figuratively. The *old* one was kind of kitschy. It had a cutout of the SF skyline running along the edges. And for years the show was set to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album. Ah yes, memories.

This new fancy version is quite slick and impressive…”the largest all-digital dome in the world with a 75-foot diameter projection screen tilted at a 30 degree angle.” It’s good. Really. I just sort of miss the rough edges of the old one. Am I getting old and sentimental? Crumb.

A completely new addition to the Academy is the rainforest. The website says: “The Academy rainforest is contained within a spectacular 90-foot diameter glass dome. It’s the largest spherical rainforest exhibit in the world.”

Are you asking yourself the same thing I am? What makes it the largest? The fact that it’s spherical. Is some marketing person playing fast and loose with the facts? Sorry, I got sidetracked. It’s a great exhibit. The kids and the adults were all in awe. I’m pretty sure everyone who goes through that exhibit walks just a little bit softer on the earth. At least for a little while.

After running around taking in all the sights for a few hours we spotted this gentleman enjoying a nice cup of coffee.


So off we went to do the same.

Thanks Bert for sharing your gorgeous photos!



  1. Wow, that white alligator really is spooky. Sounds like you had a good day. I wish we had something like that here.

  2. That albino gator is awesome!!

  3. It’s a happy day when Bert shares his photos. I agree with Maggs, that alligator is definitely spooky. How cool that you can enjoy such a great resource close to home.

  4. I need to sit around and drink coffee like that – looks nice and relaxing 🙂

  5. Hey, did Claude used to live at the shedd aquarium in chicago? He looks familiar! Cool that he’s closer now.. I miss SF and hope to make it back in 09 🙂 Sounds like a great day!

  6. That alligator creeps me out!

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