The Old Academy of Science

Remember this place? Everybody’s all gaga about the new one, but I lament that youth of today, on their field trips, won’t get to eat lunch with their buds in that central fountain courtyard.

I remember one of my classmates bought an Aerobie Orbiter at the gift shop, and we all watched in horror as he started flinging it right there in the courtyard. We were sure it’d be on the roof in seconds flat, but somehow it never happened. He managed several epic orbits before a security matron shut him down with a big “NO BOOMERANGS!” We went back to our carrots and juice.

On a later trip, I was a 7th grader, but somehow I’d managed to make friends with our class’ 8th-grade T.A., and I ditched some dumb tour to hang out with her in the courtyard and talk about skateboarding and Primus. That was cool.

(I was cleaning up my desktop just now and found this screenshot I took a few years back.)

[Image by Google Maps]

17 thoughts on “The Old Academy of Science”

  1. The new museum is fresh! But I’m so glad someone else pointed out the tragic loss of that courtyard. I think my favorite part of visiting the old museum was seeing the courtyard and remembering field trip lunches.

    Celery & peanut butter, nature valley granola bars, tunafish sandwiches…

  2. i was in 4th or 5th grade on a trip there. it was st. patrick’s day. i was sitting with some friends on the steps at the back of the courtyard, waiting for the st. patrick’s day festivities to begin. the festivities included snakes. as they carried these huge boa constrictors out the doors behind me, they lugged them over our heads. one of the snakes took a gigantic crap on my shoulder and head.

    i loved that courtyard.

  3. If I were a billionaire, I would stage an “action” at the place: pay a bunch of clever people to go in and quickly assemble a “child-eating plant” display, place a screaming and well paid child actor inside its giant maw, and turn on my Flip Video.

    Just sayin’

  4. The new courtyard acts more as a part of the system, as a vent for removing hot air from the building, than as an essential space, a place people want to hang out. All around you you can see the museum exhibits happening, but there is nothing to see in the courtyard itself.

    The main thing I miss about the old academy is that it felt like a museum, and the new academy feels like a discovery channel documentary. The pendulum, the earthquake exhibit, the aquarium room where you were surrounded by circling fish, and the old alligator room. The planetarium now is basically an Imax. The old planetarium had the one-of-a-kind projector, made by hand at the academy. I forget what they did with it. Basically a few things that I miss.

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