Albino Alligator.

Albino Alligator

Field review by the editors.

San Francisco, California

The California Academy of Sciences is an impressive city science museum and aquarium, with well-funded and designed exhibits and animal habitats. The domed roof, visible in satellite views and accessible by an observation terrace, is Green-smart and covered with grass and plants ("seven undulating green hillocks"); animals are sometimes allowed to wander "The Living Roof." Most of the displays inside are educational, responsible, uncontroversial.

But that doesn't stop the Academy from grasping the value of a funky animal star -- even one that's a freak. Claude the Albino Alligator is a popular draw to the "The Swamp." Claude is a teenaged, all-white reptile who spends most of his time in sleepy languor, like all alligators. The gift shops sells Claude the Alligator plushy toys.

Contents of a Tiger Shark's stomach.

We saw a couple of other oddities, though as minor exhibits they may be cycled out over time: 1) a display of the contents of a Tiger Shark's stomach, including a California license plate, a can of SPAM, and a couple of Barbie dolls; 2) a discolored replica of a human foot underwater, helping to explain the medicinal value of leeches.

Albino Alligator

California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse Dr., San Francisco, CA
California Academy of Sciences, 19th Ave. to the east side of Golden Gate Park, across from the De Young Museum of Art.
M-Tu 9:30 am - 8 pm, W-Sa 9:30 am - 5 pm, Su 11 am - 5 pm. (Call to verify)
RA Rates:
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Giant Safety PinGiant Safety Pin, San Francisco, CA - < 1 mi.
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Hippie HillHippie Hill, San Francisco, CA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Robin Williams Rainbow Tunnel, Sausalito, CA - 5 mi.

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