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Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity

Presented by the California Academy of Sciences

A new exhibit, opening June 14


Discover the shape-shifting, color-changing, and ever-evolving nature of skin. Uniquely personal yet universal, this complex organ forms a living interface between organisms and their environment. In this immersive new exhibit, explore dynamic displays of Academy scientific specimen from thick-skinned armadillos, rhinoceros, and turtles to colorful insects and birds and learn how scientists study their unique physical traits to better understand our evolving planet.

Explore the “superpowers” of skin with hands-on multimedia experiences that bring to life how animals heal and regenerate in extraordinary ways, how camouflage can be used for protection or predatory advantage, and how skin receptors across many species can help detect danger or prey. Interactive elements throughout the exhibit invite visitors to stimulate their own skin’s array of senses to uncover how we perceive the sensations of temperature, vibration, and pressure.

Dive deeper to explore the layers of meaning humans have associated with skin color throughout history and how this shapes the way we view, interact with, and identify ourselves and each other in a modern world.

Skin will also be interpreted in several languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino.


Plus, explore all that the Academy has to offer at the world’s only aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and natural history museum—all under one living roof.


Buy ahead and save at calacademy.org.