While some of the TechTalk staff had the opportunity to be at the Moscone Center during the Intel Developer Forum, the real treat of the trip was in Golden Gate Park. The California Academy of Sciences new building is almost ready for it Grand Opening on September 27, 2008. Thanks to Helen Taylor, the TechTalk staff had the opportunity to see much of the new facility. The general consensus from those in attendance…WOW!
The skylights are concave to maximize the natural light. The rock separating the sections gather rainwater run off from the panels and is reused throughout the building. There are also motion sensors and cameras to monitor the development of the roof and also as a security measure.
The four-story living rain forest recreates the conditions in Borneo, Madagascar, Costa Rica and also supports an Amazonian flooded forest that actually floods…inside the building. Visitors traverse a spherical staircase through the exhibit that moves through informational areas on each habitat into an open view of native plants and animals. This includes dozens of birds that will live throughout the exhibit.
Dioramas in the African Hall were recreated to showcase the different habitats and ecosystems around the coast of the African continent. This hall is the only hall to be recreated in its original form from the previous building. Even casts of the ceiling tiles and crown molding were used to keep it as close to the original as possible.
Visitors can stroll along the Savannah, past mountain gorillas around the Cape of Good Hope where penguins native to South Africa and Nambia greet guests and send them back up the opposite side of the continent.
Soooo much to see and do…
We have not even talked about the glass ceiling tunnel in the Steinhart Aquarium, the Morrison Planetarium, the lecture hall that plays 3D movies…and there is a good chance I am still leaving something out.
Thanks again to Helen Taylor for taking the time to give us a tour and all of the great information she provided.
After 12 months of operation, the facility is currently on track to receive LEED Platinum certification. An outstanding achievement for all involved.
Here are a few links of interest for upcoming CAS events and general information:
CAS Home – the organization’s website. Pictures and videos of construction, exhibits and information for visitors.