After Alcatraz, it was time for a visit to a place I was really excited to go to – California Academy of Sciences. This is a Contiki Optional, but surprisingly, not many people were interested in going. This was one of the optionals that I knew I wanted to do even before our trip started, and luckily Ash and Sam decided they were keen to visit too.
The Academy is located in Golden Gate Park – we had to take a taxi to get here because it seemed too complicated to get there with public transport. Be warned that getting a taxi out front of the Academy after you finish is near impossible! We waited for ages before giving up and calling a taxi to come get us. The place is pretty big – we spent a good few hours there. It’s a place I highly recommend, definitely a must see!
There are so many exhibits at the Academy. We started off in the Planetarium, although all three of us fell asleep during the half hour show – hey it was dark in there and we were starting to feel a bit sleep-deprived from being on Contiki! Then we went through the living rainforest. This place was amazing – an actual rainforest right in the middle of the Academy. They had tropical birds and so many butterflies, it was so pretty!
Then we walked under the rainforest – yes under. At the bottom of the rainforest is a massive pool filled with fish – you walk under the rainforest through to the aquarium and the Swamp. The swamp is where Claude, the Albino Alligator lives. Claude is quite a sight to see, a pure white Alligator. The whole place is just set up so wonderfully, definitely doesn’t feel like you’re inside a building in the middle of San Francisco.
We also went through an exhibit about skulls – all sorts of animal skulls. It was pretty interesting. We also went in an Earthquake simulator and then up onto the Living Roof – the entire roof of the academy is covered in grass and plants. Much nicer than a boring concrete roof.
I could have spent an entire day at the Academy of Sciences and can’t recommend it enough!