It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since our fabulous trip to San Francisco. It was sort of a whirlwind vacation, but we were able to see many things in just a few short days. See, with good planning anything is possible (I knew my organization skills would come in handy one day). One of the major highlights of our trip was our visit to the California Academy of Science, which is located inside Golden Gate Park. I had done a little online research ahead of time and decided to take the Behind-the-Scenes Tour. Best decision of the trip.
Let me start off by saying that if you are staying by Union Square, it’s probably not the best idea to walk. So, as we sprinted into the building, just making our 11:00am tour time, we were greeted by a tour ambassador who led us to our briefing room. We were then assigned a guide who would take us on our very cool journey. The tour was a little under two hours and took us into some “secret” places throughout the Academy. Well they probably aren’t all that secret, but you need to take the tour to gain access.
Let me start off by saying that this is one amazing structure, not only does it have one of the highest LEEDS ratings, but it is also considered to be the greenest museum. They use recycled denim for insulation and have created an actual living roof. The roof is 2.5 acres and contains 1.7 million native plants. It is an impressive sight to see.
One of the major highlights for me (besides seeing the stunning albino alligator) was to be able to see one of the original BIRDS OF AMERICA books by John J. Audubon.
It was an impressive sight and upon further research, I learned that the actual size of the book is approximately 39″ x 26″. It is estimated that around 200 were made and the book is over 170 years old. Audubon’s intention was to illustrate every bird in America and can you believe between then and now six have already gone extinct. In 2010, a copy of the book was auctioned off and brought in $11.5 million. More recently in 2012, a copy was sold for $7.9 million. I am proud to say that I had the privilege of viewing this masterpiece, or should I say a page of the masterpiece. The Academy, at the risk of damaging the very old book, only periodically turns a page. So, the more times you visit, the more of the book you can expect to experience.
Our visit to the Academy is actually one of the coolest things I have ever done. I was very happy with the decision to take the tour and get a closer look at the facility. They do great work and I would love to be a part of their team one day. Just when I didn’t think San Fran could get any better….if you are in the area, please go check it out, you will not be disappointed.
For more information about the California Academy of Science, follow them on Twitter @calacademy.