The Academy of Sciences Grows a Rainforest
October 19, 2006 9:03 PM
Today the California Academy of Sciences is concrete, steel and construction. But soon, it will be a four-story high rainforest stirring with 1,600 live animals and more than 600 free flying birds and butterflies.
These elaborate plans for the Rainforests of the World, a permanent exhibit set to open in late 2008 at the California Academy of Sciences site in Golden Gate Park, were revealed Thursday, boasting an interactive experience.
“We don’t want a Disney-esque experience,” said Chris Andrews, director of the Steinhart Aquarium, a division of the Academy. “We want people to be able to interact with animals and exhibits to make a very different type of experience.”
One part of the dome will have a living tropical rain forest and the four other parts will house simulated rainforests from Borneo, Madagascar, Costa Rica and the Amazonian River Basin, complete with animals and vegetation from their native environment.
“They are diverse, exciting and threatened habits and it’s one of the reasons why a rainforest theme was chosen,” Andrews said.
The Bornean rainforest will have a cave of bats, and bat eating snakes and scorpions. The Amazonian flooded forest will be in a hundred thousand gallon aquarium tank with a tunnel to walk through, featuring turtles, fish and other aquatic rainforest animals.
The $220 million project will simulate “as real an environment as possible,” setting the temperature from 82 to 85 degrees and maintaining high humidity rates. Specific light bulbs will be used to ensure the proper light needed for the environment.
However, the simulated rain forest cannot be identical to their native environments, Andrews said.
“We never fooled ourselves to believe we can recreate nature,” Andrews said. “Nobody’s close to recreating nature. But we’ll provide excellent conditions for the animals to breath, grow, live naturally and reproduce.”
When the construction ends a year from now, the Academy will begin its work to create an environment suitable for the several animal, insect, bird and fish species to inhabit the dome.
A hole will be left in the roof and a tree tall enough to reach the dome’s roof will be lowered in and shortly after the animals will move in.
The aquarium will try and use animals born in captivity according to CAS biologist Ned McAllister. They will be sent to the CAS’s temporary site on Howard Street for quarantine and will spend a year or two in environments that match the one being duplicated at Golden Gate Park. Afterwards, the animals will be slowly integrated into the new museum to see how they interact with each other.
Enthusiasts who want to visit the Academy don’t have to wait for 2008. Students get in for $6.50.
A traveling dinosaur exhibit from New York is at the 875 Howard St. site until February, complete with full skeletons and “the most up to date discoveries in the field of paleontology,” said Andrew Ng, a CAS coordinator. The Steinhart Aquarium is also open.
On the third Thursday of every month from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., people can visit the Academy’s current dinosaur exhibit and enjoy music, wine and cheese.
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University