The California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences is not only among the world’s largest natural history museum, it is a pretty awesome place to visit. The Academy has a long and varied history that includes helping out during World War 11 (they repaired and fixed the US Navy’ optics). It houses a rainforest dome, Steinhart Aquarium, Africa hall, Planetarium. There is Foulcault pendulum, geophysical exhibits including an earthquake simulator. There is a project lab where one can watch scientist’s doing scientist stuff in a scientist lab. All topped off by a living roof.
I actually went to see the Color of Life exhibit that is currently running. That was a majorly cool exhibit . It was about how color is important to life and not only for the obvious things that we all know from watching animal planet. You know, helping an animal to disappear from predator or to help it find prey. They had binoculars ( well, actually fancy View Masters) that you could look at the tiger or a small family of giraffes in different places, such as a forest, your living room etc. When you see this stuff on tv it does not do it justice with the camouflage.
Another part of the color of life was, of course, all about attraction or deflection. Many animals use color to attract their mates. Flowers use color to attract those who can be beneficial to them. Such as bees or birds that pollinate or even actually feed the plant. For deflection, plants and animals use color to warn about potential dangers to those who wish to eat them. They use bright colors to warn of poisonous. Some creature will actually mimic other creatures that are poisonous as a form of protection. It does not always work though. There are some that will eat poisonous animals and then they to become poisonous. I think the coolest thing is there is a bird, the Gouldian Finch, whose young has fluorescent colors in their mouth. That way the parent can see the mouths and know that there is a baby that needs to be feed. Truly ingenious.
The other parts of the museum were just as cool. I took pictures in many of the areas. Unfortunately the Whales exhibit ( Did you know that whales have boney hands inside of their flippers?) and the rainforest ( that was way cool it took you from the forest floor up to the treetops) were no photography zones. Although there were many people who ignored the employees who told them to please don’t photograph, I listened and followed their wishes. The butterflies and birds were beautiful and would have been very easy to photograph. Instead of me yapping forever I shall just post the pictures.