Wednesday, November 5, 2008 by Dave Blum

A week or two back, I had a chance to scout the new California Academy of Sciences, in San Francisco as a Dr. Clue hunt location.  What a wonderful place!  As you walk in, the first thing you see is a huge open rotunda, enclosed in a glass box.  They call it the Piazza, a place to hang out, have some coffee, and take a break from all the stimuli. Next to the Piazza is an equally huge, multi-story sphere, with a spiral walkway a la the Guggenheim Museum in New York.  Inside is the Rainforest, with butterflies fluttering throughout.  On the rest of the first floor are a multitude of interesting exhibits, including displays about Madagascar and the Galapagos Islands, and a large area about conservation and global warming.

What we enjoyed the most (that being my wife Jen and our friends Ethan and Rachel) was the downstairs aquarium…definitely state of the art.  We all loved the lovely ugliness of the gars (which look like alligators) and the delicate sea dragons, as well as the huge glass wall of the Phillipine coral reef, with hundreds of brightly-colored tropical fish.

When you go, don’t miss the rooftop living garden, with its beautiful view over Golden Gate Park…and get to the cafeteria early if you can.  Lunch is very busy, especially on weekends and rainy days.