Get in on 'Tis the Season for Science special events at the California Academy of Sciences

Don’t miss ’Tis the Season for Science, from November 23, 2011 - January 16, 2012. Experience indoor snow flurries, get up close and personal with live reindeer, and learn how some of our most beloved holiday symbols and traditions are connected to the natural world. See where cinnamon comes from, learn little-known facts about mistletoe, and find out if partridges really live in pear trees. The science behind the food, plants, and animals we associate with the holidays may just surprise you!

Note: The Academy will be closed on December 25, 2011.

Daily at 12:30 pm

Gather 'round for an up close and personal experience with live reindeer, known as Nomads of the North. Learn about their fascinating adaptations including an annual migration of up to 3,000 miles per year, and why they are so important for ecosystems of the far north.

Daily at 12:00 pm from December 1-16
Daily at 2:30 pm from December 17-January 2

Planet Earth goes through remarkable changes every winter, and through Google Earth software we can take a close look at how seasonal phenomena like the winter solstice affect life. Explore how life has adapted to Earth’s unique quirks, and even investigate the possibility of life on other worlds!

Daily at 1:30 pm

Play the role of an Academy researcher travelling to remote parts of the world in search of the wildlife that inspire some of our favorite seasonal traditions. In this fun, interactive game-show-style program, explore the globe, gain a new perspective on holiday plants & animals and the places from which they come, and perhaps even win a prize.

Daily at 12:00 pm from December 17-January 2

Cranberries are a staple food of winter feasts, and like all other life, they also contain DNA. Have you ever wondered what DNA – "the essence of life" – would look like in the palm of your hand? In this 15-minute program, we will crush up cranberries and extract their DNA for all to see up close, without the aid of a microscope. Join in the investigation, and discover why some scientists call DNA the most extraordinary molecule on Earth.

Throughout December, check website for schedule

The Academy has invited a variety of talented musicians, dancers, theater troupes, cultural groups, comedians, and others to join its celebration of this festive time of year. Enrich your family’s Academy visit with art and music from some of the Bay Area’s greatest talents, including Dance Along Nutcracker, Un-Scripted Improv Group, Yuletide Carolers, and more.
New Schedule!
Daily at 2:00 pm, as conditions permit

Get up close and personal with rescued birds of prey including a Barn Owl, Swainson’s Hawk, and Turkey Vulture. Learn about these magnificent raptors' special hunting strategies and migratory habits from biologists providing their daily care. Free with Academy admission.
New Schedule!
Monday – Friday at 11:00 am from December 1-16
Weekends at 11:00 am from December 17 – January 2

Throughout history, California has been home to some of the most unique landscapes and amazing wildlife found in North America. Join us in the Altered State: Climate Change in California exhibit for a special look at some of these animals, including the grizzly, the mountain lion, and the condor. Free with Academy admission.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Celebrate the sights, sounds, and smells of the holiday season with Ghirardelli Chocolate Company! Steve Genzoli, VP of Chocolate Development at Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, will share the art and science of chocolate – from bean to bar. Enjoy complimentary samples from Ghirardelli Chocolate & Ice Cream Shop, talk a walk in the spice forest, and learn more about the ingredients in your favorite treats.

PENGUINS + PAJAMAS SLEEPOVER (ages 5-17, with adult chaperones)
Friday, December 30 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 am

Why count sheep when you could count geckos, butterflies, sharks, and penguins? Now kids can camp out for a night at the California Academy of Sciences—and see the museum in a whole new light. Sleepovers include after-hours access to Academy exhibits, a special penguin talk, live animal demonstration, planetarium show, story time with cookies and milk, parking, breakfast, and more. Tickets $99 per person ($79 for Academy members), available at



California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park
(415) 379-8000
Admission: $29.95 adults; $24.95 ages 12 to 17, Seniors ages 65+ and students with valid ID;
$19.95 for children ages 4 to 11;  free for ages 3 and younger.

[Back to Top] [Back to Index]


Powered by WSI Inc. in partnership with Monte Gifford Design.