Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The Science of Night Life
My niece asked me out for a date the other night, just us, no spouses or children allowed. We went to the weekly Thursday night party at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. It was a blast.
Full of hipsters and dating couples and tourists and families, with bars strategically placed to keep you moving through the various spaces, the Academy makes science fun. We had dinner at the acclaimed Moss Room, where the silvery guy up above swam through the under-stair aquarium. The larger aquarium below the main level allows you to walk between and under the tanks.
And the most famous resident of this watery world is the albino alligator (or is it crocodile...my science is deserting me I'm afraid) who moved in from his previous home that this new Academy building replaced.
We saw a show in the planetarium, walked through the room containing dioramas of African animals (I've loved dioramas since my parents took me to see the ones at the New York Museum of Natural History in the Dark Ages) and avoided the snakes (I'm squeamish.)
I'm stretching the French connection here, but the Academy has a Foucault pendulum, not quite as impressive as the one in the Pantheon in Paris, but cool nonetheless.
Docents were stationed here and there demonstrating various things and we stopped by to hear a fellow who was enthusiastically displaying some items on the cart in front of him. "Hold this" he asked virtually everyone who stopped by, handing them a large bone, sort of like a badly warped baseball bat. "What do you think it is?" You know where this is going, don't you, dear reader?
It was a display of penises; the bat had once been the treasured member of a long dead walrus.
On that note, we went home.