Left: Reindeer are seen at the California Academy of Sciences on Dec. 5, 2013.Right: Children skate around the new ice rink at the academy on Nov. 21. (Courtesy Kathryn Whitney/California Academy of Sciences)

Academy of Sciences replaces reindeer with ice rink

Santa’s reindeer may be too busy flying the globe this year to attend the California Academy of Sciences.

That’s one possible takeaway, since it opted not to feature reindeer for its holiday festivities for the first time since 2010, according to the museum.

In past years, the reindeer on the academy’s grassy “living roof” were accompanied by a costumed Santa. Kelly Mendez, an academy spokesperson, said though the furry winter companions were much loved, it was time for a change.

“After several years of highlighting reindeer biology and adaptations in this exhibit, we decided it was time for a fresh new spin since we like to continually refresh exhibit experiences for our guests,” Mendez said.

This year, the academy has opted to offer a skating rink instead of the holiday-themed animals, which opened the day before Thanksgiving.

Though Golden Gate Park oft-plays host to roller-skating dancers on its car-free Sundays, this will see the only ice rink amid the 3-mile stretch of green, according to the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, and perhaps the only ice rink on The City’s west side.

The academy spent $350,000 on the rink’s installation and daily operating staff, out of its general operations and exhibits budget, though it expects ticket sales to cover those costs.

The academy’s new exhibit,“’Tis the Season for Science: Life on Ice,” highlights the Earth’s polar regions and the animals that call the poles home.

The exhibit still features “indoor snow flurries” twice an hour, as well as a digital dome shaped like a giant snowman playing a short documentary about snowflakes, puppet shows, life-size models of polar bears and penguins and the ice rink, which is open for 55-minute skate sessions at $12 per person.

“[The reindeer] were always popular with guests and served as wonderful ambassadors for their species during their time here,” Mendez said.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Legal challenge halts SFPD jurisdiction over dog attacks on federal land

Dog owners beware — canine attacks are now consequence-free on federal land… Continue reading

49ers battle with the Saints lives up to its billing

Kittle’s 39-yard catch-and-run had placed San Francisco in prime position for a game-winning field goal as the 49ers trailed 46-45

SF police shoot burglary suspect in Mission District

Man allegedly attacked officers before being shot in first on-duty SFPD shooting since June 2018

Not even heavy rain can stop the 25th annual SantaCon

Jolly, drunken fun event for Santas is the ‘least wonderful time of the year’ for many locals

Ronen says $100M service expansion is ‘going to fix’ SF’s mental health crisis

Compromise mental health plan has backing of mayor, full Board of Supervisors

Most Read