Press Release

I Love You, California: A Natural History


CONTACT: Charles Schuler
Director of Communications
San Francisco International Airport


I Love You, California: A Natural History
New exhibition highlights California’s natural history and explores the diversity of species in the “Golden State”


SAN FRANCISCO -- California has the greatest variety of natural areas, flora, and fauna in North America. Many of the plants and animals that are found here are indigenous and found nowhere else.  Within 160,000 square miles, huge variations in topography and climate exist in the country’s third largest state. Elevations range from 276 feet below sea level in Death Valley to 14,495 feet above sea level at the top of Mount Whitney.

With nearly 1,200 miles of coastline, California’s nutrient rich waters support an abundance of marine life. The giant sea bass, reaching up to 750 pounds, is the biggest bony fish to inhabit the California coast and its offshore islands. In contrast, wooded forests and rugged mountain ranges, including the mighty Sierra Nevada, cover an extensive part of the state. Black bears, mountain lions, and coyotes are a few of the many animals that inhabit this terrain.

Around 6,000 species of plants grow in California. The state also has an abundance of protected and preserved public use lands and national parks. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks contain many of the oldest trees on Earth and one of the largest living single organisms by volume—the General Sherman, a giant sequoia believed to be about 2,500 years old.

Rocks, minerals, and fossils abound within the state’s borders. Gold, the state mineral, attracted legions of new settlers to California during the Gold Rush of 1849. The La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles yields species such as the dire wolf, which became extinct about 10,000 years ago.

I Love You, California explores the state’s natural history through the collections of the California Academy of Sciences. Invertebrates from abalone to deep sea squid, birds such as acorn woodpeckers and tufted puffins, plant pressings including the state flower, the California poppy, land and marine mammal skulls, fossils, and a myriad of minerals, are some of the many specimens that illustrate the diversity of the “Golden State.”

This exhibition was made possible through a generous loan from the California Academy of Sciences.

View the exhibition online

I Love You, California: A Natural History is located pre-security in the International Terminal Main Hall Departures Lobby, San Francisco International Airport. The exhibition is on view to all Airport visitors from July 11, 2015 to January 3, 2016. There is no charge to view the exhibition.


SFO Museum

SFO Museum was established by the Airport Commission in 1980 for the purposes of humanizing the Airport environment, providing visibility for the unique cultural life of San Francisco, and providing educational services for the traveling public. The Museum was granted initial accreditation from the American Association of Museums in 1999, reaccredited in 2005, and has the distinction of being the only accredited museum in an airport. Today, SFO Museum features approximately twenty galleries throughout the Airport terminals displaying a rotating schedule of art, history, science, and cultural exhibitions, as well as the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, a permanent collection dedicated to the history of commercial aviation. To browse current and past exhibitions, research our collection, or for more information, please visit


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