The facility stands out as the only one in the world with a planetarium, an aquarium, a natural history museum, and a top-level research institution in one venue.
On Thursday, the museum was opened for a special press and members-only preview, and several hundred people were allowed in for the first time to visit all the exhibits.
While many of the different areas of Academy of Sciences are wonderful, perhaps the most special element of all is the building's living roof, a 2.5-acre, wildflower covered, wildlife paradise. It has seven hills, inspired by San Francisco's famous topography, and is home to many species of butterflies and birds. The roof also collects rain runoff and filters it to the massive rainforest below.
Here, the museum is seen from the observation deck of the de Young museum, which was also badly damaged in the 1989 earthquake, and re-opened after its own major makeover in 2005.
The new Academy of Sciences was designed by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano.
September 19, 2008 4:00 AM PDT
Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET News
| Caption by: Daniel Terdiman
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