By BobP

We visited the recently renovated California Academy of Sciences museum in Golden Gate Park (San Francisco).  It is so much prettier than the former version! Construction began on the new $500 million dollar building on September 12, 2005, while the exhibits were moved to 875 Howard Street for a temporary museum.  Renzo Piano, the famous architect, was in charge of the renovation, which was completed in 2008.

My favorite part was Rainforests of the World.  In a dome, we stepped inside a living 4-level rainforest, where dripping water sets the beat for a symphony of croaking frogs and chirping birds. As we walked up the ramp, we peered into one of Borneo’s bat caves, met chameleons from Madagascar, and climbed into the tree-tops of Costa Rica to find free-flying birds and butterflies. Finally, we descended in a glass elevator into the Amazonian flooded forest, where an acrylic tunnel allows you to walk beneath the catfish and arapaima that swim overhead.

The living roof is also of great interest.  Renzo Piano’s masterstroke of design lies in making the park’s environment such a visible part of the building itself. The rooftop’s seven undulating green hillocks pay homage to the iconic topography of San Francisco and blurs the boundary between building and parkland.

This museum is highly recommended!

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