50 shades of Green

What’s grey all over, but totally green from top to bottom?  – The Californian Academy of Science’s building in Golden Gate Park!  It’s a place I have been itching to visit and I feel very fortunate to have finally had the chance; it was a spectacle to behold.  The building, which also incorporates the Steinhart Aquarium and a Planetarium, was designed to be one of the greenest museums in the world – and it is, and not just from an environmental friendly point of view.

Looking around all the exhibits, I was particularly interested to explore the use of educational interactives and touch screen video screens to enhance the learning experience in the aquarium. However, the highlight of the visit was witnessing the fantastic indoor rainforest which spans 4 floors, from the dark green flooded forest basement exhibit to the emerald tropical rainforest canopy – every shade of greenery in between is all contained within a microclimate controlled, naturally-lit biosphere!

Before leaving I also got the opportunity to go up to the 2.5-acre undulating green roof. Standing on the roof itself feels like your on another planet, but it incorporates the magnifying windows for the rainforest (pictured), sixty-thousand photovoltaic cells to provide electricity from solar energy, and it also absorbs nearly 3.6 million gallons of rainwater per year to help save water. Pretty cool.

The Academy of Sciences itself is an international center for scientific research and is at the forefront of efforts to understand and protect the diversity of Earth’s living things. It has over 50 professional educators and Ph.D.-level scientists, supported by more than 100 Research and Field Associates and over 300 Fellows.  The Academy’s research collections, which are among the World’s largest, include more than 26 million specimens.

 

         ACADEMY OF SCIENCES                                      GOLDEN GATE PARK

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