Planner Renzo Piano’s 2008 milestone LEED-guaranteed green structure houses 40,000 creatures in a four-story rainforest, part level aquarium, and planetarium, all under a ‘living top’ of wildflowers. Inside, butterflies flutter around in the glass Osher Rainforest Dome, penguins waddle in the African Hall, and Claude the pale-skinned person crocodile follows the mezzanine swamp. Try not to miss the new Giants of Land and Sea display, where you can overcome a quake recreation, for all intents and purposes climb a redwood and lose all sense of direction in a haze room.
After the penguins fall asleep to rest, the wild uproar begins at the children just Penguins+Pajamas Sleepovers ($119 including tidbit and breakfast; ages five to 17, or more grown-up chaperones; 6 pm to 8 am) and the more than 21 NightLife Thursdays ($15; 6 pm to 10 pm), when rainforest-themed mixed drinks support unusual mating ceremonies. Children likewise burrow the storm cellar Steinhart Aquarium, where they can dodge inside a glass air pocket to enter an Eel Garden, discover Dorys in the tropical fish tanks and pet starfish in the hands-on Discovery Tidepool.