Tis the Season exhibit wall

SAN FRANCISCO (November 5, 2019)—Starting Friday, November 22, visitors to the California Academy of Sciences can revel in the wonder of ‘Tis the Season for Science: Life on Ice, the museum’s annual holiday exhibit that explores the science behind the winter season. Plus, visitors can meet a pair of live reindeer, experience indoor snow flurries, step inside a giant “Snowman Theater,” and much more. Inside the museum, the Academy’s annual exhibit will explore our planet’s polar regions—from the North Pole to the South Pole—and the animals that call them home. Interactive displays will educate visitors on the adaptations that allow polar bears, Antarctic penguins, and other polar-dwelling animals to survive and thrive in frozen ecosystems. Plus, the Snowman Theater, a suite of hands-on daily programs, and a dynamic line-up of live performances on select dates will return to delight visitors of all ages this holiday season. The Academy is open 365 days a year! Holiday hours are 10 am–3 pm on November 28 (Thanksgiving Day) and 11 am–5 pm on December 25 (Christmas Day).

Highlights of what visitors can enjoy at the Academy this winter:

  • A pair of live reindeer who will take up residence in the museum’s East Garden through January 5, 2020

  • Indoor snow flurries twice an hour

  • A “Snowman Theater”—an immersive digital dome shaped like a giant snowman, which will play a family-friendly show on the science of reindeer, titled Roaming with Reindeer

  • Life-size models of polar bears and Antarctic penguins that invite guests to learn about and examine these fascinating animals up close

  • A stage for special programs and live performances featuring musicians, cultural groups, and more

See below for a schedule of daily and special programs at the Academy during ‘Tis the Season for Science:


Daily at 12 pm, East Garden

Sidle up to meet a pair of live reindeer and discover how these “nomads of the north” are well-adapted to migrate 3,000 miles each year.


Daily at 11 am, Piazza

Find out why African and emperor penguins are perfectly suited for their ocean homes, from tuxedo-like feathers to super swimming skills. Waddle over and show us your best penguin bray! This interactive program is recommended for children 10 and under.


Monday-Friday at 10:15 am, Science Today Theater

Join us for an interactive storytelling experience that brings to life The Mitten, a children’s book by Jan Brett based on a Ukrainian folktale.


Performances at 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm on November 29-December 1, December 21-24, December 26-January 5

Live on the Academy’s Piazza stage, enjoy fun performances by musicians, cultural groups, and more on select dates this season. All performances are free with Academy admission.

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