Monday, February 15, 2010

The Rainforest

Last weekend we took a drive up to San Francisco's Museum of Natural Science in Golden Gate Park. We half expected a lot of rain, but the skies opened and the sun broke through. This brought out park visitors in droves. After 30 minutes of driving around and around and around, we slipped into a parking spot about a mile away from the museum and set off for a sunny walk to the museum.

One of the main attractions to us was a walk through the rainforest. We entered the huge rainforest sphere, walked up the ramp that ascends to the top of the fourth story, and discovered the mysteries of rainforests from around the world. Read more about this museum within a museum here: Rainforest

There are over 1600 animals in the rainforest exhibit, some are free and some are in terrariums such as these poisonous frogs!

Butterflies abounded, requiring us to check our hair and clothes for hitchhikers before leaving the dome.

They were even still enough that we could capture some close-ups:

Far below we caught glimpses of the aquarium -- and the people walking through the acrylic tunnel going right through the fish tank!
There were snakes, bats, chameleons, and these squabbling parrots:

From the top floor we desended via an elevator ride through the forest to the basement to the "flooded forest" where the aquarium awaits. The rainforest had been hot and humid, so the cool air in the basement was welcomed. Now it was our turn to walk through the tunnel with the fish swimming all around us.

I especially enjoyed watching this huge turtle swimming by:

From there we returned to the main floor where we visited the "swamp". This is the home of Clyde, one of only 50 living albino alligators that we know of. He looks fake, and we began to second guess if he was, but a museum guide assured us he was real -- and about that time he decided to move around a bit!

Here is a youtube of Clyde's arrival at the museum, as well as information about the museum in general: Clyde.

People in the aquarium section peering into the swamp:

There were several other displays in the museum:
Can you imagine a flower this big?
Entering the arched ceiling hall of natural history -- this was an older section and I remembered visiting this years ago:

In this hall there are diaramas of many animals, such as these lions:

Feeding the penguins was a popular show:

Stay tuned as I'll be posting photos from the Living Roof and Japanese Tea Garden next!

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