The Naturalist Center hosts a variety of activities and is home to thousands of specimens—from dinosaur poop to a polar bear pelt! Explore this unique, hands-on space to touch specimens, watch natural history videos, play games, solve puzzles, browse books and ask questions.
Scheduled activities include:
Specimen Spotlight - Famous Fossils (through May 5, 2013) Discover the amazing stories behind some of the most fascinating fossils from our human family tree! Learn what brings researchers to Africa, what they find there, and what it tells us about our origins. Join us in the Naturalist Center. Thursdays and Sundays at 2 pm.
Naturalist Center Craft - Join us for a fun and educational nature craft. Spark your curiosity, be creative, and explore natural history specimens and resources. Sundays, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm.
Girl Scout Living Eco-Wise Patch - Increase your eco-awareness and discover what makes the Academy the greenest museum in the world in this hands-on program. For Brownies and Juniors: Saturday, April 13, 2013, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm. For Juniors: Saturday, May 25, 2013, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm. $24.95 per person; reservations required. For tickets, call 415-379-8000 or purchase them online.
Girl Scout Rainforest Expedition Patch - Brownies and Juniors can earn this fun patch while they explore our exhibits on rainforests. To learn more click here.
Scheduled programs are subject to change; check with Naturalist Center staff when you arrive.
The Naturalist Center provides easy access to a number of high-quality catalogues and electronic resources.
The Naturalist Center provides the services listed below to members, teachers, volunteers and the general public. If you would like to access Naturalist Center services and resources without visiting the rest of our museum, please call us at 415-379-5494 to make an appointment.
- Access to a reference collection of books, DVDs, videos, CDs and curriculum guides about the natural world and sustainability.
- Access to an extensive natural history specimen collection for further study, sketching or assistance with identification.
- Help with finding answers to questions about the natural world, sustainability and our exhibits either in person, via e-mail or by phone. This also includes assistance with the identification of natural history specimens.
** Please note: If you wish to have assistance with the identification of a natural history specimen, we encourage you to take pictures rather than collecting the actual specimen. Under U.S. federal laws and the California Fish and Game Codes, it is illegal to to take, collect, capture, mark, or salvage, for scientific, educational, and non-commercial propagation purposes, mammals, birds (including feathers) and their nests and eggs, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, and invertebrates without a permit. For more information visit the California Fish and Game website.
In addition, the Naturalist Center does not provide assistance with the identification of pests (including mites, bed bugs or sick plants). Below are a few suggestions where you can get assistance.
The Naturalist Center provides access to electronic resources as one way of fulfilling our mission to promote lifelong learning, offer individualized, in-depth inquiry about the natural world, and inspire people to play a role in sustaining life on Earth.
The Internet offers access to ideas, information and commentary from around the world that can be personally, professionally and culturally enriching. However, not all sources on the Internet are accurate, complete or up-to-date. The Naturalist Center assumes responsibility only for the information provided on its web site. We do not monitor, have no control over, and do not accept responsibility for material in other sources on the Internet.
Internet access is free and available to all visitors of the Naturalist Center.
Responsibilities of Users
- All Library computer equipment and software must be used as installed. Users are not permitted to delete, add to, or modify the installed hardware or software. If you experience technical problems, ask library staff for help. Do not attempt to fix the problem yourself.
- Use of computers will be on a first-come, first-served basis. No appointments will be taken. Users will limit their time to 20 minutes if others are waiting, or at the request of the library staff.
- Children eight and under must use the computer, including the Internet, with their accompanying adult.
- Parents and children are encouraged to start their exploration of the Internet with the Naturalist Center web site, especially the Web Bibliographies section. There they will find many sites for children, chosen by Naturalist Center staff. Naturalist Center staff can also provide assistance in determining search strategies and evaluating sites.
- Access to particular kinds of activity, such as e-mail, may be prohibited or limited at the discretion of Naturalist Center staff.
- The Naturalist Center provides printing at a cost of 15 cents per page. Only staff can print documents for visitors; visitors must ask staff for assistance to print.
Unacceptable Uses of Naturalist Center Computers
- Insulting, harassing or attacking other users or Naturalist Center staff.
- Sending or displaying offensive messages or pictures.
- Gaining unauthorized access to the Library’s network or computer systems, to any other network or computer system, or violating the privacy, individual rights and privileges of other users. Damaging or attempting to damage computer equipment or software.
- Violating copyright laws or software licensing agreements.
- Modifying software or programs installed on Library Internet workstations.
- Installing personal software on Library workstations.
- Accessing Internet resources that may incur financial charges or fees to the Library’s account. In the event that such fees are incurred, either deliberately or inadvertently, the user will be responsible for payment and may be liable for criminal prosecution.
Violations may result in restrictions on Naturalist Center use. Illegal uses of computers may also be subject to prosecution by local, state or federal authorities.
U.S. Copyright law (Title 17, US Code) prohibits the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted materials (including electronic mail, text, images, programs or data) without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. Any responsibility for consequences of copyright infringement lies with the user; the Library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility resulting from such use.
Computer and Internet Use Policy adapted from Academy Library, San Francisco Public Library and Madison Public Library policies.