Living roof

San Francisco (September 21, 2018)—The California Academy of Sciences will soon celebrate an exciting milestone in the institution’s illustrious, 165-year history: the tenth anniversary of the museum’s groundbreaking new home in Golden Gate Park. An award-winning green building that opened on September 27, 2008, the Renzo Piano-designed museum was the first in the world to earn a Double LEED Platinum rating from the US Green Building Council for its sustainable architecture and operations. But the building was just the beginning. Through its pioneering programs of scientific research, education, and public engagement, the Academy has spent the past decade redefining what it means to be a 21st century science museum. During that time, the institution has welcomed nearly 15 million visitors through its doors—and has engaged billions around the world through digital programs—in support of its mission to explore, explain, and sustain life on Earth.

“As we reflect on the Academy’s impact over the last ten years, we deeply thank our visitors, supporters, community partners, and city officials for helping to bring our mission to life inside this spectacular, one-of-a-kind building,” says Ike Kwon, the Academy’s Chief Operating Officer and Head of Government Affairs. “The Academy’s next chapter will undoubtedly be our most exciting yet and we look forward to continuing to serve and engage San Francisco and beyond with the power of science and the wonder of nature.”

On Tuesday, September 25, the Academy will host a morning commemoration of this anniversary with a public celebration on the museum’s front concourse, featuring remarks by Academy Board Chair Liebe Patterson, Trustee Emeritus Mark Buell, California State Senator Scott Wiener, and a performance by the San Francisco Boys Chorus. Additionally, as a thank you to the Bay Area community, the museum will welcome thousands of visitors during Community Free Days from September 23-25—a three-day free admission celebration that sold out at record speed. The Academy will also host a special anniversary edition of its weekly NightLife program for adults 21+ on Thursday, September 27 (the museum’s actual anniversary date), as well as a hands-on, family friendly Nature Day on Sunday, September 30.

As the Bay Area’s home for science with a deep commitment to providing access to a world-class museum experience for all, the Academy has welcomed more than two million visitors through free and reduced admission programs over the past decade as part of the Academy for All initiative. The museum has also connected over 1.2 million youth—and counting—to the wonders of the natural world through free and subsidized school field trips, inspiring a lifelong appreciation for science during the most formative early education years.

A Decade of Discovery: By the Numbers

Over the last ten years, the Academy’s programs of scientific research, environmental education, and public engagement have reached far beyond our walls. Here are just a few of the ways we’ve made an impact:

  • Graduated more than 100 Careers in Science interns, 70% of whom have gone on to secure a STEM career.

  • Embarked on over 500 scientific expeditions to study threatened ecosystems around the world.

  • Partied after dark with nearly one million NightLife revelers (and counting!) during weekly adults-only events.

  • Inspired more than one million visitors to care about the health of our oceans during daily coral reef dive shows.

  • Watched more than 100 species of native California plants thrive atop our 2.5-acre Living Roof.

  • Transported over 5.2 million planetarium-goers on a journey through space and time inside one of the world’s largest all-digital planetariums—and millions more internationally through licensing of Academy productions with partner planetariums.

  • Developed six original, award-winning planetarium productions—venturing to the outer reaches of space, inside the cells of a leaf, and to the depths of the ocean’s coral reefs.

  • Logged more than 12 million iNaturalist observations of global plants and animals, helping scientists to better understand and protect thousands of species around the world.

  • Discovered and described more than 1,500 new species, adding new branches to Earth’s Tree of Life​.

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 on Earth. 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.

Press Contacts

If you are a journalist and would like to receive Academy press releases please contact

Digital Assets

Hi-res and low-res image downloads are available for editorial use. Contact us at to request access.