• reindeer california academy of sciences
    Reindeer will visit just in time for the holidays. © California Academy of Sciences
  • Scuba Santa California Academy of Sciences
    © California Academy of Sciences
  • Child at california academy of sciences
    Enjoy indoor snow flurries, all day long. © California Academy of Sciences

‘Tis the Season for Science
November 25 through January 3

The Academy’s annual holiday exhibit will delight visitors of all ages with its look into the “science” behind the season! Discover why no two snowflakes are alike, how a reindeer’s UV vision lets them find food beneath a foot or more of snow, and why Santa’s home, the North Pole, is covered in snow and ice. Say hello to 5-year-old Frosty and 3-year-old Holiday, both male reindeer, who will take up residence in the East Garden for the season. Stay tuned for special appearances by Scuba Santa diving among the corals in the aquarium!

‘Tis the Season for Science Daily Programs:

“P” is for Penguin
Through January 3 | Daily at 11 am

Find out why African penguins are perfectly suited to their rocky ocean homes during this jolly interactive program. Best for ages 10 and under.

Reindeer Rendezvous
Through January 3 | Daily at noon

East Garden
Trace reindeers’ epic 3,000-mile migration through forests and tundra to discover why they roam and how they impact their far-flung habitat.

Wild Winter Trivia Through January 3 | Daily at 1 pm
Team up and explore the winter survival strategies of different animals with this friendly game-show-style trivia contest.

The Science of Snow – and live snow flurries!
Through January 3 | Daily, starting 15 minutes after opening

Snowman Theater
Explore the science behind fluffy white snow under an immersive digital dome, followed by delightful indoor snow flurries.

Festive Holiday Performances
November 27, 28, 29; December 6; December 19 through January 3 (except December 25)
Daily at noon and 2 pm

Join us for holiday themed performances including musical concerts, song and dance performances, magic shows, and the famous Tap Dancing Christmas Trees! For a schedule of performances, please visit calacademy.org/daily-calendar.

Leakey Lecture
Cooking for Calories: Food Processing and the Shape of Human Energy Gain
Tuesday 12/8 | 7 pm
Tusher African Hall
Dr. Rachel Carmody, human evolutionary biologist, UCSF and Harvard
All human cultures process food extensively by cooking and non-thermal means, a feature that makes us unique among species. Why is food processing so universal? Does it threaten human health? In this lecture, Dr. Rachel Carmody presents evidence from diverse fields, showing that food processing increases the calories we extract from the diet, leading to competitive advantages in the past and challenges for our present and future.
$8 members, $10-12 non-members.

Habitat Earth
Daily | Showtimes vary (no show December 7)
Morrison Planetarium
Plunge below the ocean’s surface to explore the dynamic relationships found in deep ocean ecosystems; dig beneath the forest floor to see how Earth’s tallest trees rely on tiny fungi to survive; and soar to new heights to witness the intricate intersection between human and ecological networks. Narrated by Frances McDormand, our latest original planetarium show features stunning visualizations of both biological and human-built networks (and of how they intersect), taking show-goers on an incredible, immersive journey through the interconnectedness of life on Earth. Recommended ages 7+, children under four not admitted.

Ongoing Events at the California Academy of Sciences

Swamp Discovery
Daily | 3:30 pm
Learn more about these wetland ecosystems of the Southeast United States and their hidden value. Listen to sounds of swamp inhabitants as we follow the life of the American alligator from hatchling chirps to the booming bellows of mature adults, all beneath the moss-draped limbs of a bald cypress. Plus, meet Claude – the Academy’s famous albino alligator!

Family Nature Crafts
Saturdays | 10 am
Sundays | 11 am

Spark creativity with nature-inspired crafts for the whole family.

Junior Scientist Adventure
Daily | 10 am
Be a junior scientist for the day by checking out a field science backpack full of tools and activities to guide your exploration. Backpacks checked out daily at 10 am to 4 pm on a first come, first serve basis. Program generously supported by Oracle.

About the California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is home to an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and research and education programs, which engage people of all ages and backgrounds on two of the most important topics of our time: life and its sustainability. Admission to the Academy is: $34.95 for adults; $29.95 for youth ages 12 to 17, Seniors ages 65+, and students with valid ID; $24.95 for children ages 4 to 11; and free for children ages 3 and younger. Admission fees include all exhibits and shows. Hours are 9:30 am - 5:00 pm Monday - Saturday, and 11:00 am - 5:00 pm on Sunday. During peak periods, including some holiday weekends, extended hours may apply. Visit www.calacademy.org or call (415) 379-8000 for more.

Press Contacts

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Digital Assets

Hi-res and low-res image downloads are available for editorial use. Contact us at press@calacademy.org to request access.