The California Academy of Sciences is a world-class scientific and cultural institution based in San Francisco, driven by a mission to explore, explain and protect the natural world. Originally founded in 1853, the Academy recently opened a new 400,000 square foot facility that houses an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and four-story rainforest all under one roof. The U.S. Green Building Council awarded the building a LEED Platinum certification for its sustainable features, the highest rating available. The Academy is also home to a staff of world-class scientists, an education department that provides a wide range of student and teacher services, and an extensive collection of more than 26 million scientific specimens and artifacts. Lectures and programs are offered year-round, featuring experts on the biological sciences, climate change, astronomy, and a range of other engaging topics.