• Reindeer at the California Academy of Sciences
    Reindeer return to the Academy this holiday season. © California Academy of Sciences
  • Snowman theater at the California Academy of Sciences
    The Snowman Theater takes its place in the Piazza. © California Academy of Sciences
  • Snow flurries at the Academy
    Twice-hourly snow flurries fall in the Piazza. © California Academy of Sciences
  • Scuba Santa at the California Academy of Sciences
    A scuba diver dressed as Santa plunges into the Philippine Coral Reef. © California Academy of Sciences

Festive Programming

‘Tis the Season for Science: Life on Ice
Open November 22, 2019 through January 5, 2020
The Academy’s annual holiday exhibit will be in full swing to bring the science of the winter season to life! Learn how plants and animals thrive in the extreme ecosystems at our planet’s poles, frolic in twice-hourly indoor snow flurries, and meet a pair of live reindeer when these nomads of the north return to the East Garden. See below for details on some of our seasonal offerings and visit here for all of our daily holiday programming.

Scuba Santa
December 12 – 25 | 11:30 am
Philippine Coral Reef

Come get merry with some marine science! Watch as a diver dressed as Santa plunges into the Philippine Coral Reef—the world’s deepest indoor coral reef—to answer all of your reef-related questions.

Festive Live Performances
November 29 – December 1, December 21 – 24, December 26 – January 5 | 12 pm and 2 pm Piazza
Enjoy festive performances from musicians, cultural groups, and more—including tap-dancing penguins, the Manuia Polynesian Revue, and the San Francisco City Chorus! All performances are free with Academy admission.

Reindeer Rendezvous
Daily | 12 pm
East Garden

Meet our amazing antlered visitors and discover how special adaptations allow reindeer to migrate up to 3,000 miles each year!

Snow Lab
Saturdays & Sundays | Drop-in between 10 am and 4 pm
Project Lab

Stop by the Project Lab to explore the science of snow through hands-on experiments and demonstrations! Activities include building your own snowflakes, making “blubber” gloves to see how Arctic animals stay warm, and more.



Holiday Bazaar NightLife
Thursday, December 12 | 6 – 10 pm
Find the perfect gift or stocking stuffer from local artists and artisans at this merry marketplace curated by San Francisco Bazaar! Enjoy seasonal music, activities, and festive craft cocktails. NightLife is 21+ with ID. Visit here for more information and to purchase tickets.



Benjamin Dean Astronomy Lectures
Humpback Whale Song as an Intelligence Filter for SETI
Monday, December 2 | 7:30 pm
Morrison Planetarium

How complex is the “language” of humpback whales, and how does it compare to ours? Learn how humpback whale songs could be key to deciphering extraterrestrial intelligence signals from SETI Institute astrophysicist Laurance Doyle, PhD. Tickets are $15 per person ($12 for Academy members and seniors). Advance reservations required. Visit here for more information and to purchase tickets.


Ongoing Events, Exhibits, and Daily Programming

Closing soon! Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity
Open through January 20, 2020
Forum Gallery, Second Floor

Uniquely personal yet universal, skin is a remarkably beautiful and sophisticated organ that is the living interface between organisms and their environment. Explore the science behind how skin varies across the animal kingdom through rarely seen scientific specimens, and learn how understanding the origins and persistence of racism can help us build a more equitable, colorful future. See this acclaimed exhibit before it closes on January 20, 2020.

About the California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution dedicated to exploring, explaining, and sustaining life. Based in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it is home to a world-class aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum, as well as innovative programs in scientific research and education—all under one living roof. Hours are 9:30 am - 5:00 pm Monday - Saturday, and 11:00 am - 5:00 pm on Sunday. Admission includes all exhibits, programs, and shows. For daily ticket prices, please visit www.calacademy.org or call (415) 379-8000 for more information.

Press Contacts

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Digital Assets

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