55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
Regular Hours:


9:30 am – 5:00 pm


11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:


8:30 – 9:30 am


10:00 – 11:00 am

Please note: The Academy will be closing at 3:00 pm on 10/24 (final entry at 2:00 pm). We apologize for any inconvenience.

Parking and traffic in Golden Gate Park will be congested the weekend of Oct. 3–5. Save $3 on Academy admission when you take public transportation.

Jimmy Kirk

Jimmy is the Chief Engineer at the Steinhart Aquarium.


Briefly describe your job and your area of expertise. The development, interpretation, coordination and enforcement of methods and procedures relative to the operation and maintenance of large physical plant installations; making regular contacts with other departmental personnel, outside organizations and the general public in connection with plant maintenance and operation activities; preparing, checking and reviewing important and detailed operational records and reports. Supervision includes local administrative control and work assignments of craft personnel on extended or temporary assignments. Craft general foremen will supervise their respective workmen in those matters pertaining to craft or trade techniques or methods.

What got you interested in working at an aquarium? Working with Large Mechanical devices and systems has been my life long passion. How things work has always been of great interest to me. Water is one of life must important elements, its ability to support life, dissolve any element generate electricity, and its ability to change states make it an interesting combination of chemicals.

What do you like most and least about your job?  The people I get to work with make my job both challenging and demanding, and is one the likable parts of may job. Not having enough time and money to make all the improvements and research I would like to do.

What college did you go to and what degree did you receive?  I spent 12 Years in Military service with the United States Navy Engineering Division, I have attended Navy College (navy campus for achievement Pensacola Florida) , Cal State Hayward (Cal State East Bay) I maintain a Water Distribution system Supervisor Grade Two certification, and a General Mechanical Contractors License. I am an active Member of the American Water Works Association and AALSO (Aquatic Animal Life Support Operators)

What influenced your job choice and when?  I love science and animals, and the opportunity to work with all the things I love Is a dream come true. This is the driving force in accepting this path in September 2005

Do you have pets at home? What and how many? No Pets

Advice for someone wanting to go into your field. Working as a Life support systems Engineer requires dedication and professionalism, and a commitment to always learn. Geometry, Electricity, pump dynamics, physics math, refrigeration, plumbing. Are just a few of the skills needed to do this job.

More about Engineers


What is a Stationary Engineer?

The Steinhart Aquarium Engineers are part of Local 39 which is an International Union of Operating Engineers.  The normal duties of a Stationary Engineer are to operate and maintain boilers, HVAC, hot water generators, fire and life safety systems, refrigeration machinery and its associated auxiliary equipment.  In addition to these responsibilities, our engineers also maintain life support systems for the aquarium.  Since the shift towards buildings like ours relying on digital controls, the engineers work with a Building Management System.  Engineers of today need to be more computer literate to work with these complex and integrated systems.