Day in the Life: Happy Earth Day!

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Would you want this fella wrapped around YOUR leg?

This week Ana and I had a chance to meet up with this 25-pound (yes, I said 25 pound) Red Boa Constrictor named Balthazar and Christopher Andrews, PhD, Director of Public Programs and the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

Here are five things that I learned about Balthazar and/or the Academy of Sciences.

  1. After hours every Thursday night the Academy turns into a “Nightclub at the Museum” with lectures, live music, and demonstrations geared towards 20 to 40 year olds. In 2008 it was voted Best Place to Flirt by a local San Francisco news rag. AND you can get into the museum for just $10 versus the normal $25. IT’S A STEAL! Forget the flirting, go for the discount. Hel-lo!
  2. There’s a Naturalist Center on the third floor that is open to the public. It’s like a big library and research center with scientists on hand to answer any questions. I had no idea!
  3. There are over 40 full-time scientists on staff working on research projects around the world.
  4. There are over 2 million specimens in the Academy’s collection dedicated just to research.
  5. Balthazar is carried around and transported in a laundry bag and a bucket, not a fancy cage or snake carrier. Nothing could have surprised me more.

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We also had a chance to meet Balthazar’s size-challenged companion—a gopher snake. Much smaller in comparison and MUCH friskier.

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We’ll be doing a story on the Academy for our upcoming Summer (fun) Guide, but in the meantime, it was one of the most fun interviews I’ve done in a long time. Those snakes were a hoot, such talkers. We couldn’t shut those guys up. Yak, yak, yak! So many stories, so little time.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the Academy yet, definitely take the time to do so—it’s well worth it for the entire family.

California Academy of Sciences. 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco. (415) 379-8000. calacademy.org

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