Rainy Day of Science

As I mentioned in my last post, I took the kids out on Monday to the Academy of Sciences. The AoS is an amazing center that “explores, explains and protects the natural world”. I think they do a pretty good job doing it!

We coordinated the kids to have their school friends come so it was another nanny, five kids and I. It was the cutest thing when they saw each other for the first time, the kids got really shy and slowly warmed up in the matter of five seconds.

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This is my second time being here since they tore down and remodeled the original Academy. I used to come all the time since I lived across the street when I grew up, so it’s nice seeing what additions they put. As cool as this one is, I miss the old one a lot! Nostalgia came back in full effect.

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The old Academy had an African/animal exhibit, planetarium and aquarium, which this place also has, plus more. They also kept Claude, the 13 year-old albino alligator, who I remember seeing since I was 10! Crazy to think they having a living alligator just hanging out, I haven’t seen him move once; he always just sits there relaxing on his rock.

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A new addition they added is a four story domed rainforest, which is the larger rainforest exhibit in the world. It’s suppose to be a real life experience, where the temperature is 82-85 degrees and the humidity is 75%+ as you keep walking up the spiral. They also have over 600 free flying birds and butterflies, reptiles and a cave full of bats. That’s not including the 100,000 gallon tank of tropical fish.

Each level represents a rainforest around the world: Borneo, Madagascar, Costa Rica and the Amazon. It’s really cool, but it’s hard to keep the attention of 5 children under the age of five so we skipped it this time. I’ll come back during Nightlife, where it’s open on Thursday night for adults over 21.

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They also opened an Earthquake exhibit that we didn’t get to check out, due to the young age of one of the kids. Also, 40 minute wait + five hyper active children = a bad time.

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We did get to watch a really cool and informative 15 minute video about Curiosity on Mars. The whole thing was done on a high tech projector controlled by an iPad. It was really interactive and one of my favorite parts of the day.

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They have animals all over the place: giraffes, dinosaurs, ostriches. When I went to Nightlife last time, they had live baby ostriches running around. I was hoping I could show the kids but they didn’t have the exhibit open.

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One of the kids suggested an early lunch, which I was completely happy with. The kids had a Chinese pork bun (they talked about it the whole way there) and I tried the tandoori chicken, cafeteria style. Everything was surprisingly good, I had no complaints.

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Everyone’s attention was running thin, so we wanted to show them the aquarium before we left.

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This Coral Reef exhibit kept the kids busy for a while, so the grown ups got to take a breather for a little bit. If you remove the other 50 people that was there, I’d say this was a really tranquil place to relax. One person was even sleeping next to us, which was pretty impressive with all the noise going on.

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On our way out, we walked by a talk about the animals of Madagascar, the two hosts did a really good job entertaining the kids. All five of them wouldn’t budge so we let them stay until the end, they even brought out a live snaked for everyone to touch.

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All in all, I would thoroughly recommend anyone with children, as well as a group of adults to check out the Academy of Sciences. It’s a really cool place to spend the day in the beautiful Golden Gate Park (the West Coast Central Park) and well worth the admission price, which isn’t anything too crazy.

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Farewell, Academy! Tomorrow, we will visit the SF Zoo!

Do you have any educational and interactive centers in your neighborhood? What would you like to see most at the Academy of Sciences?

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