Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Free Day at the Academy of Sciences

PhotobucketHaving nothing better to do this morning, I determined to get back into the California Academy of Sciences on their free Wednesday of the month. This is an extremely popular day, & I have been deterred by the crowds before. This time I arrived at 8:45am for the 9:30am opening. There were at least 200 people in line ahead of me already, mostly families. By the time the line started moving, I could not see the end of the line, which looked like it was going down JFK Drive. They take pictures of everyone entering the museum & hand you a card with a code with which you can retrieve & purchase your picture at the end of the day.

San Francisco SkylineOnce in the museum, I headed for the line for the planetarium show passes. Once I had my pass, I got into line for entrance to the planetarium show itself. The show is a barely half an hour & is simply a movie about star formation. On my way out I had a brief chat with the young woman operating the show. She told me that on non-free weekdays the show is longer & includes a live segment in which she points out things we can see in the night sky that week. I was also surprised to learn that the old-school analog projector, which is no longer in use, actually projected sharper star images than the fancy digital projector.

As I left the museum, people were starting to line up at the cafeteria. The line outside was still hundreds of people long. I went across the street for a visit to the de Young Museum's tower, where I waited in line for the elevator up. People on vacation are so patient.


Immanuel Gilen said...

haven't they done the 'free by zip code' thing to reduce the masses of people standing in line?

I guess that's annoying if your museum companion lives in another zip code though...

Axel Feldheim said...

Well, why didn't you tell me about that zip code trick before? I see that I can go a weekend in June & a weekend in October based on my zip code. I will just have to make sure that my museum companion is also a neighbor.

y2k said...

People on vacation are so patient.

I'd say, people on vacation are so patient, especially when it's free.

We visited the Academy last May on a regular weekday, and it was crowded even then! It almost feels like going to Disneyland where you have to line up for everything after you get in.

Axel Feldheim said...

My morning absolutely felt like a day at the amusement park. I did not even mention the line for the biosphere thing. Admission is indeed high, so I don't blame families for taking advantage of the free day. The museum has been enormously successful since it re-opened, so I am not totally surprised that it was busy on a regular day in May. I have been to one of their adult-oriented after hours events, & that was just as crowded.