Saturday, March 28, 2009

California Academy Of Sciences

The Academy of Sciences looks SO amazing! I am very excited to go to Disney with the kids of course, but this place looks AMAZING and I am so stoked to take *myself* here. The kids can tag along too, I suppose ;) There is going to be a DEFINITE bonus to having 3 adults to 2 kids, I can have time to explore and read on my own if needed and catch up to the rest later.. this place looks one-of-a-kind!

African Hall

Lions, and cheetahs, and zebras, oh my! Take a virtual safari through Africa and encounter these animals —and many others—inside intricately crafted dioramas. Look closely as you wander through the hall, and you’ll find some live animals as well, including tortoises, lizards, and a colony of African penguins.

Altered State: Climate Change in California

Walk beneath an 80-foot-long blue whale skeleton, gaze up at a towering T. rex, come face-to-face with a live rattlesnake, and marvel at dozens of other California treasures. Then track the potential impacts of climate change in California and around the world, and learn what you can do to help. Measure the impact of your family’s every-day decisions on a carbon scale, help polar bears move from one ice floe to another in an interactive Artic Ice projection room, and share your ideas for treading more lightly on the planet at the Academy’s feedback station.

California Coast

It never rains at the Academy’s California Coast, an exhibit that highlights the state’s diverse marine environments. Watch waves roll onto a sandy beach, talk to scuba divers inside a 100,000-gallon rocky coast tank, play hide-and-seek with a giant Pacific octopus, and get a closer look at a Red-tailed hawk. You can even hold a hermit crab at the Discovery Tidepool and meet a 165-pound sea bass in the Tank of Giants.

Early Explorers’ Cove

Take your scientist-in-training to the Early Explorers’ Cove, a special exhibit designed for infants, preschoolers, and their caregivers. Tots can explore a 15-foot replica of the Academy’s 1905 research schooner, climb into a tree-house, tend a miniature organic garden, or crawl into a child-sized burrow. The exhibit is also well-stocked with books, toys, puzzles, and dress-up costumes.

Islands of Evolution

Visit the remote islands of Madagascar and The Galapagos through the eyes of Academy scientists, and discover why islands function as laboratories for evolution. Examine specimens collected during Academy research expeditions, including Galapagos tortoise shells and Darwin’s famous finches. Learn how scientists search for new species, and then put your new knowledge into practice, netting virtual butterflies with Wii gaming wands and setting pit-fall traps for virtual beetles.

Morrison Planetarium

Leave Planet Earth behind as you fly to the farthest reaches of the Universe inside the world’s largest all-digital planetarium. A live presenter will take you on a guided tour of the solar system and beyond, using current data from NASA to produce the most accurate and interactive digital Universe ever created. During a visit to the international space station, you’ll gain a new perspective on your home—the only planet known to support life.

Naturalist Center

Have a question about the natural world? The reference librarians and educators at the Naturalist Center can help you answer them. Bring in your leaves, feathers, rocks, shells, and other personal treasures for identification, look up the latest research on green technologies, or sign up for a special program in the adjoining classrooms and labs.

Philippine Coral Reef

Dive into the world’s deepest living coral reef tank without donning a wetsuit. Five underwater windows offer a fish’s eye view into one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Find Nemo—and 4,000 other reef fish—darting through a technicolor forest of coral, watch garden eels emerge from their underwater burrows, and admire the brilliant hues of a giant clam. Up on the surface, follow a boardwalk through a mangrove lagoon, where sharks, rays and sea turtles cruise beneath your feet.

Rainforests of the World

Step inside a living rainforest, where water dripping from the mahogany and palm trees sets the beat for a symphony of croaking frogs and chirping birds. Peer into one of Borneo’s bat caves, meet chameleons from Madagascar, and climb into the tree-tops of Costa Rica, where long lines of industrious leaf cutter ants march along vines and hundreds of tropical butterflies flutter like colorful confetti. Finally, descend in a glass elevator into the Amazonian flooded forest—the land of anacondas, piranhas, and electric eels. An acrylic tunnel allows you to walk beneath the Amazonian river fish that swim overhead.

Science in Action

Go beyond the headlines and gain in-depth information about recent scientific discoveries around the world. Live talks by Academy scientists, audio-visual displays, computer stations, and podcasts provide a reliable source of timely and relevant news about the natural world.

The Living Roof

Stop and smell the wildflowers during a visit to the Academy’s living roof, a 2.5-acre expanse of native California plants. Part of the museum’s green building strategy, the roof provides superior insulation, prevents storm water runoff, reduces the urban heat island effect, and creates new habitat for native birds, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. An engineering marvel, the seven hills of the living roof roll over the Academy’s major exhibits and echo the hilly topography of San Francisco.

The Swamp

Peer over the bronze railing of The Swamp tank if you dare—American alligators and alligator snapping turtles rule the water below. One of these reptiles, an albino gator with startling white skin, may steal the lion’s share of the attention, but it’s hard to ignore his neighbors for too long. Snakes, frogs, and salamanders live in smaller tanks nearby, and a biologist often brings a Great horned owl into the exhibit to meet visitors.

Water Planet

What does it take to live underwater? Find out in this innovative exhibit that includes more than 100 aquarium tanks filled with fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and other invertebrates. Once an hour, the lights go down inside the tanks, the room transforms into a 360-degree projection theater, and visitors are immersed in a five-minute video about the most precious resource on the planet: water.

California Bound!

Its official! I have booked our hotel in San Francisco for 7 nights early June, then our hotel room in Anaheim right by Disney for the week after. Now that the stressfull part of finding hotels is over, I can start looking for the fun stuff! You would think its not stressful, but I am really picky plus hate spending a lot of money, so that limits my options. I did go a teeny bit more expensive in San Francisco, but the hotel is literally on the ocean, on the bay, and was so beautiful I had to stay there.

The kids and I are leaving with my dad on May 27th, then driving to San Fran, and Mike will fly down the Friday night to meet us. Then he has a conference the Saturday, and then Tues-Thurs the following week. Then off to Disney in Anaheim! I think we're even sneaking in a night in Vegas on the way home where dad will watch the kids while Mike and I go explore a bit. Fun!

I am having a blast looking up things for us to see, Mike has Apple Headquaters on his list to go and get his pic in front of LOL, I have the Winchester House and the California Academy of Sciences.

I am soooo excited to take the kids and to go on all sorts of adventures as a family!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Sunday Evening

Think the wine will numb the pain of the movie? I can't believe I made Mike go out and buy it yesterday, and I even insisted on the Blu-ray too. Just so I can moon over Edward's chiseled features in high def y'know.

I can't add in the pic of the long-suffering husband who is going to watch it with me tonight. I have PROMISED him that there is some vampire fighting at the end, that's the only way I roped him into it.