California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, Sneak Preview

Time for a Swim
The penguins are back! More Photos Here.

This weekend the California Academy of Science reopens to the general public in Golden Gate Park. After setting up in temporary quarters down on Howard Street for a number of years, the Academy, the oldest natural science museum west of the Mississippi, is back in all it’s splendor and all it’s glory. The restoration reportedly cost $488 million.

I had an opportunity as part of a member preview day yesterday to visit the Academy before its premier to the general public this weekend and I have to say I was very impressed with the new museum.

I made a set of 100 photographs from yesterday’s visit that you can check out here.

The new Academy of Science is home to both the Morrison Planetarium and the Steinhardt Aquarium.

For me personally, the highlight of the new museum was the restoration of the wonderful natural history hall, now redubbed the Tusher African Center with 21 amazing dioramas and of course, the penguins.

The penguins are back in all their beauty, playfulness and zest for life. It was so much fun shooting them and watching them play with children who would follow them with their hands as they raced around in the water excited to be interacting with their new playmates.

Well WishersUsed to the SpinOn a New Plane, Plate 2Color Me Impressed

The new museum also includes numerous balconies with scenic views, including a rooftop balcony with a living green roof (the building breathes), a spacious new modern architectural interior, a cafe, and a giant 90 foot diameter dome which features a living rain forest inside. The old pendulum also made it’s way back into the new museum.

Art is also mixed into the museum with some *fantastic* animal portrait photography on the third floor as well as an outstanding collection of Warhol contemporary animal themed prints on the second floor.

The museum opens to the general public this Saturday. It will open at 9:30am and stay open until 9pm in the evening. My advice would be to get to the museum very early to get in line if you hope to get in and to take public transportation if you can. The Muni N train line takes you very close the museum just outside Golden Gate Park. If the opening of the de Young a few years ago across the plaza from the new museum was any indication, opening day visitors had to wait up to several hours in order to get into that museum.

Admission is free on Saturday only.

You can find out more about the Academy at their website here. A detailed article about the museum project from the San Francisco Chronicle here.

Update: Interesting slide show of images from Alan Morris here.

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19 Comments

  1. Bill says:

    Thanks for posting these Thomas, I’m really looking forward to going now.

  2. Alan Morris says:

    Great pictures. For a different look check out my slide show at http:/www.lakemercedphoto.com/slideshows/academy

  3. Brad says:

    Cool… Can’t wait to go and check it out…

  4. DigiDave says:

    Awesome pictures. I’m glad they didn’t kick you out for taking photos 😉

  5. BEAUTIFUL – these make me wish I were in the Bay Area – sending to my sis in the Berkeley Hills!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Robyn Hawk
    http://dailyjewel.blogspot.com

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