Published June 16, 2015
Volume 23, Number 6

Hacienda Discounts for California Academy of Sciences
California Academy of Sciences

By Zoe Francis

No other museum in the world offers everything under one roof that is available at the California Academy of Sciences.
Hacienda employees and residents get an even better deal because they get 15 percent off any ticket to visit this one-of-a-kind museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
“In our museum, we have a natural history museum, planetarium, aquarium and a four-story rainforest,” Cyd Antang, Cal Academy’s associate director, said. “That’s the only place in the United States or even in the world where you can find a museum that unique. The other museums may have a planetarium and a natural history museum. We have all those features and exhibits in our museum, all in one.”
The Academy, as it is called, was founded in 1853. The original building in Golden Gate Park was demolished and completely rebuilt, opening with a brand-new facility in September 2008.
“It’s the greenest museum in the world,” Antang said proudly. “We are a double LEED-certified platinum building. That’s the highest rating you can get for any type of green certification.”
LEED – Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design – is a green building certification that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. While the Academy is green throughout, its most striking green feature is its living roof, complete with rolling hills and live native plants.
The museum’s regular exhibits include the Morrison Planetarium, Kimball Natural History Museum, Steinhart Aquarium and Osher Rainforest.
“The four-story rainforest represents four different countries – Madagascar, Borneo, Costa Rica and the Amazon,” Antang said. “There are insects and reptiles and fish of those different rainforests. It’s 78 degrees inside the rainforest. You slowly walk up the ramp. The birds and butterflies are flying over your head.”
In addition to standard exhibits, the museum offers special exhibits that draw big crowds and keep regular guests coming back for new experiences. The current special exhibit is “Whales: Giants of the Deep.”
The traveling exhibit from New Zealand features loads of information about whales, including a life-sized model of a blue whale heart and the complete skeleton of a sperm whale. That exhibit will run through November 29.
Guests can get special VIP tickets that take them off the beaten path.
“We have still lots of specimens that are being stored in our building, so we rotate our exhibits,” Antang said. “When we do the behind-the-scenes tours, guests will be able to go into the research areas.”
Thursday evenings from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. are reserved for guests age 21 and older.
“We theme our NightLife events towards that audience,” she noted, adding that tours include cocktails and special information on that evening’s theme.
Adult VIP tours include up to 60 people, making it ideal for companies that want to treat employees to something special.
“They go on a tour that is not accessible to the general public,” Antang said. “We have a lot of companies that do that. They may want to do team building or do something special for their employees.”
In addition to exhibits, the museum is a working research. Research teams working in the Philippines recently discovered more than 200 new species.
“We’re trying to explore, explain and sustain the eco system,” Antang said. “Our research teams go out and do their field research, write their papers and share their information with other institutions, universities and museums. There are a lot of graduate students from different universities all over the world who are working at the museum.”
Learn more about Hacienda’s Special Offers and Cal Academy discount tickets at hacienda.org/form/details/california%20academy%20of%20sciences.
Learn more about the California Academy of Sciences at calacademy.org.


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