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Ecosystems Come Indoors in Oakland

Explore seven of the state's ecosystems at the Oakland Museum of California.

Video diorama of the Cordell Bank, image
Photo caption
Oakland Museum of California visitors soak up Cordell Bank's beauty.


The coral reefs of the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, off of Point Reyes, Calif., glow in pinks, oranges, and yellows. They lie under 130 feet of water, but they're on view in video dioramas at the Oakland Museum of California's Gallery of California Natural Sciences, which reopens on May 31.

The deepwater ecosystem is one of seven in the state featured in the 25,000-square-foot space where, over the last three years, scientists, artists, and historians have made inspired use of the museum's animal mounts and artifacts, adding interactive features. Visitors can sniff redwood and sage from the Coast Range or create a stop-motion animated film about the future of Oakland and its wildlife.

"You don't have to go to some far-off place to engage with the natural world—it's right here," says Don Pohlman, the museum's senior exhibit developer. "Even city dwellers are living in nature." (510) 318-8400,

Photography courtesy of OMCA/Shaun Roberts


This article was first published in May 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.