Discover Nature and Science
Animal Room Open Saturdays Only: Beginning the first week in September, the Randall Museum live animal exhibit at the Mission Arts Center will no longer be open on weekdays, only on Saturdays from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
Come take a look at California. Not just any look, but a deeper look, and you will discover how connected our world really is. Randall Museum exhibits highlight similarities and differences, causes and effects and how it all comes together in nature and science. The animal room showcases four diverse habitats in the Bay Area and hosts live animals that live there. Then, take a sound-filled walk down through the Redwoods to the depths of the Ocean. While submerged in the lower level, discover how many ways the rocks and minerals beneath our feet shape habitats and our own lives in the exhibit, “Foundations.” Visitors will emerge from the basement through “Riding the Rails,” an expansive model train layout and interactive play space on how trains and humans shaped the West.
Inside the Animal Exhibit you will be visiting several of California’s diverse habitats. From rich riverlands to sparse, dry deserts to towering redwoods each habitat has it’s unique set of animals and plants that are especially adapted to living in these distinct places. We invite you to look deeply into nature by watching the animals in an intimate setting, enjoying our study station activities, and conversing with our animal keepers. We hope that by learning about California’s wildlife and flora you’ll be inspired to visit these places yourself.
We live in earthquake country. Other people live with tornadoes, lightning, avalanches, or hurricanes. In the Bay Area, earthquakes happen every day – but most are small and only a seismograph can detect them. Learn more about the earth beneath us in this exhibit.
Check out our Ocean exhibit located inside the Animal Exhibit and find out how much you do by playing our “How will you help the Ocean” game. Learn how we can all preserve our most precious resource. Anemones, sea stars, crabs and urchins are all affected by how we humans live our lives. Discover the many simple changes we can make in our everyday lives to stop polluting and start preserving the ocean and its inhabitants.
Toddler Tree House
Come and enjoy this play and learning space for our youngest visitors. The Tree House has a safe and fun carpeted climbing structure, plus age-appropriate books and toys. The Tree House is open for drop-in play Tuesday through Saturday, and from 10 am to 5 pm.
Riding the Rails
Visit Riding the Rails, featuring the Museum’s scale model of a caboose and model train exhibit. Come climb on the caboose and pretend to be riding the rails, or guide model trains on railroad tracks around models of San Francisco landmark buildings in the urban rail exhibit. While visiting the exhibit, explore a relief passenger car with interactive panels about the Transcontinental Railway. Riding the Rails will be on permanent display in the lobby entrance of the Golden Gate Model Railroad.
Art Commission Installations
Consisting of over 500 freely-rotating directional arrows, Windswept transforms a blank wall into a large-scale observational instrument that reveals the complex interactions between the wind and the environment. The artwork was funded by the Art Enrichment monies generated by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s capital projects.
The art of collecting reveals the beauty of diversity. Specimen collection can range from a hobby or a profession. No matter the degree by which you collect examples of your favorite items, methods and ethics of collecting have changed greatly over time. Responsible collecting practice makes sure that the activity of gathering specimens does not have a negative effect on the environment, habitat or species as a whole.