February 13, 2009

A visit to the Academy of Sciences

Since I was a little kid, I've been visiting the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco -- I have very early memories of this amazing place. After a number of years in a temporary, downsized location on Harrison street, the Academy finally reopened in Fall 2008 at its original location in Golden Gate Park, having been completely remodeled. I still miss the original museum, and there are some things missing that I wish had been left intact. However, this new incarnation is spectacular, and full of more amazing creatures and incredible displays than they ever had before! I encourage everyone who comes to SF to check this place out, although it is still impossibly crowded on weekends and holidays.
On Wednesday I had to go meet up with someone at the Academy anyway, so I spent a few hours downstairs in the aquarium section and sketched some creatures I've just been itching to draw. These few animals were so compelling I only made it to three tanks before I had to go, but I'm so lucky that the Academy is so close to my house I can really go by there and sketch whenever I want to.

Australian Lungfish

Weedy sea dragon

Leafy sea dragon

Sea dragons are related to seahorses (you can tell by their NOZZLE NOSES!) Apparently it is so difficult to get specimens for an aquarium that the Academy had to enter a lottery and wait for a few years. Incredibly, they now have a big cylindrical tank with both species swimming around inside, and everyone who notices them is absolutely captivated by these graceful creatures. Here, learn more about them:

Leafy sea dragon

Weedy sea dragon

Overheard at the museum -- visiting schoolkids (2nd grade or so?)
Little girl (directed at tank): "Hey, clownfish, do you have a joke to tell me?"
Same little girl to friend: "See, that's a joke!"

Posted by tammy at February 13, 2009 6:51 PM