* Warning This Entry Contains Images And Written Content That May Be Too Much For The Squeamish*
Last weekend my parents came up to visit. I always try and think of a few activities for us to do together while they are here in the City. This trip I thought it would be great to visit the newly opened California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. I have heard great things about the Academy from the amazing Rainforest exhibit to the Planetarium to even the food.
Since the Academy only recently opened, it often sells out and is very crowded. Because of this I knew I needed to buy the tickets in advance. Done and done.
Second, I also knew that once inside there would probably be long lines to get into each exhibit. Check!
The only thing I didn't know was that you needed separate "Time" passes for some of the exhibits. The passes had to be picked up once inside the Academy. Not done and not done. No check!
As suggested on the Academy website, we arrived early in the morning. As soon as we got in the door I grabbed the visitor map and declared we would immediately proceed to the Rainforest!
There was a forty five minute line to get into the Rainforest dome.
Once inside the Rainforest dome you walk along a circular path that starts at ground level and works its way up into the canopies of the trees. As you walk along the path there are birds and butterflies flying about. In the photo above, a beautiful blue butterfly landed on my mom's shoulder.
Guests are asked to gently brush the butterflies off if they land on you. You are also warned numerous times that you CAN NOT take the butterflies with you when you leave. See sign below.
Now maybe I missed the whole concept that this was a "Science" museum. But I was a little shocked when we were waiting in line to get into the Rainforest and right next to the line was a glass room "Research Lab" that had volunteers dissecting animals.
OK, fine; it's a science museum and you are going to dissect animals. But do you have to then project up close images on giant flat screen TVs of the dirty deed?
Don't believe me? Check it out below!
The funniest part about the whole thing was that the volunteers who were doing the dissecting weren't necessarily even looking at what they were doing. It was like a regular ladies social hour. They were all chatting away and laughing as their hands continued to rigorously separate the skin from the body.
Also, there was a sign that said all research animals were donated to the Academy. Well, they kinda looked like the same squirrels and birds that were outside in Golden Gate Park. I wanted to immediately go outside and say, "Run Squirrel Run!"
After the Rainforest we rode the elevator down into the Aquarium. It is a pretty good aquarium and even has a tidepool area where you can handle some of the creatures.
We then went to the Cafe for lunch. There is quite a variety of food to choose from and everything tasted good.
During lunch we had heard some other guests discussing what time their "Passes" were for the Planetarium. Hmmmm. We didn't have "Passes." Maybe I shouldn't have rushed us so quickly to the Rainforest.
So after lunch we went in search of the elusive "Passes" only to discover that all the "Passes" had already been given out for the day. That meant that we would not be able to see the Planetarium or the 3D Bug Movie. I was a little upset about this, but not as upset as one guest who started yelling at the worker.
So without any "Passes" there were still a few other things we could look at. We went up to the Living Roof. The entire roof of the Academy is a 2.5 acre expanse of native California plants. Currently it was pretty much just grass.
Above are a couple more pictures from the Aquarium.
So the lesson of this story? Get to the Academy early. Immediately get your "Passes." Don't look over at the glass room Research Lab while in line for the Rainforest. Finally, if you are an animal who resides in Golden Gate Park, RUN!
The Song Of The Day - Disco Science by Mirwais