Located in Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences is one of the greenest buildings in the city and has a platinum certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The museum features the newly renovated and expanded Steinhart Aquarium, complete with a hands-on tide pool and the well-known alligator swamp. Other exciting features are the Morrison Planetarium, the four-story rain-forest dome, and the Hall of African Mammals. In addition to these educational gems, the museum features other natural history exhibits as well as exhibits about global warming. The Academy Cafe offers international cuisine, while the elegant Moss Room restaurant is the only dining option available in the park past museum closing time.
This San Francisco landmark features some of Fisherman's Wharf's best shopping and attractions. Ride the carousel, people-watch, or take in the view of the bay. There are more than 25 one-of-a-kind gift stores that carry automobile, Hollywood, and rock 'n' roll memorabilia, as well as flags of the world, Russian dolls, collectible knives, hammocks, kites, and more. But that's not all. You will find over 30 more stores, including the famous Na Hoku to shop for clothing, jewelry and toys. It is a great place to pick up high-end San Francisco souvenirs. When you're done shopping and eating to your heart's content, visit the famous resident sea lions for a prime photo op session. Pier 39 is a magnet for locals and tourists for many reasons, including their nearly year-round calendar of special attractions for the whole family like the Tulipmania tulip festival held in late February on both levels of Pier 39 or the Holiday Tree Lighting in November.
Get close to your favorite sea creatures and also some of the deadliest snakes. This aquarium in the revamped Academy of Sciences showcases piranhas, pythons, pipefish, penguins, moray eels and snakes. The Philippine Coral Reef Exhibit will have you marveling at the rainbow of tropical fish. At the Touch Tide Pool you can touch sea stars and hermit crabs. The newest addition includes the Snake Alley, which displays anacondas, African rock pythons, California king snakes and the Ball python. If you are studying biology, this is a good place to meet the aquatic biologists who look after and feed the animals.
Along the Berkeley Marina shoreline, the Shorebird Park offers a welcome space of green at the edge of the city. Ideal for families with kids as well as for weekenders looking for some peace and quiet, this pretty park offers splendid city and marina views. For recreation purposes, there are several picnic areas with barbecue facilities, a drinking fountain, hiking trails, a turf area and a children's playground with swings. Toward the further end of the park, there is also a small shoreline area with part of the beach incorporated.
Classrooms, camp groups, and children's clubs from around the Bay Area take trips to Crab the Cove Visitor Center to learn about marine and estuarine ecosystems, and the importance of their preservation. It is located in a lush green park on the beach in the Island City of Alameda. In addition to museum-like marine wildlife displays, some of which are interactive, the center offers the 'Old Wharf Classroom', where guests enjoy presentations on topics such as shoreline wildlife and the food chains of the San Francisco Bay.