|Location||San Mateo, California|
|Land area||3 acres (1.2 ha)2|
|Number of animals||1003|
CuriOdyssey, formerly Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education, and Coyote Point Museum, is an experiential science and wildlife center for children and families. Located at 1651 Coyote Point Drive in San Mateo, California, it is part of the Coyote Point Recreation Area, which overlooks the San Francisco Bay.5 The museum was founded in 1954 as the San Mateo County Junior Museum, and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
The animals at CuriOdyssey have all been injured or imprinted in such a way that they would not survive in the wild. Most of the animals are native to California, though there are some animals that are housed here as part of the museum's Animal Ambassador program.3
Coyote Point was originally an island with the San Francisco Bay on one side and tidal flats on the other. In the 1800s the tidal flats were filled in for use in dairy farming, and these are now a golf course.6 In the early 1900s the land was turned into an amusement park, but this park was abandoned in 1923.7
During World War II, Coyote Point was home to a U.S. Merchant Marine Cadet School, which eventually became the first campus of the College of San Mateo. In 1962 the county bought the land, and in 1963 the college moved to its current location and the county park was established.67
The museum was founded in 1954 by the Junior League of San Francisco as the San Mateo County Junior Museum, and was housed in a Quonset hut on the point. It was renamed "Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education" in 1974, and the main museum building opened in 1981. In 1991, the museum opened its Wildlife Habitats to show live animals that represented the ecosystems of San Mateo County 16
In July 2006, the museum made its mounting $745,000 deficit public. In August, it announced that it was considering two proposals to save the museum: one from "Campaign to Save Coyote Point Museum," and the other from the "11th Hour Project," which proposed to scrap the museum and build an education center for global warming. In 30 days, the Campaign to Save Coyote Point Museum had raised $540,247 in pledges from 776 donors, with an additional pledge from the Tomkat Foundation of $500,000 over four years. In September 2006, they officially took over management of the museum.28
Rachel Meyer, formerly executive director of the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo and Chief Curator of Exhibits at the Exploratorium, was named the new executive director of CuriOdyssey (then Coyote Point Museum) on March 19, 2007.9 With Meyer's arrival,the organization re-oriented to focus on young children, offering them direct, life-charting experiences with science and nature.
On January 15, 2011, Coyote Point Museum officially unveiled its new name, CuriOdyssey.10
The museum has several interconnected areas that are intended to give young visitors an introduction to the sciences and natural history of the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Main Concourse Science Exhibits – hands-on science exhibits designed specifically for young visitors invite children and families to explore and experiment with natural phenomena.
- Wildlife Habitats and Animal Ambassadors – 25 naturalistic habitats house over 100 non-releasable animals native to California, including two bobcats, river otter, snakes, golden eagles, Channel Island fox, banana slugs, turtles, owls, snowy egret, Western toads, herons, turkey vultures, raccoons, badger, porcupine, coyote and others. Visitors can wind through a tunnel that lets them see into dens and interior enclosures, and then walk back around the outside to see how the animals live in the wild.6 Week-end wildlife shows introduce individuals from the 50 additional Animal Ambassadors that keepers bring out directly for young visitors to see and (sometimes) touch. These education animals include birds of prey, snakes, opossum, a blue-tongued skink, and much else.
- Aviary – 4,000 sq ft (370 m2) walk-through facility that houses over a dozen non-releasable, native California birds.11
- The Invertebrate Corner houses a live beehive and a variety of native invertebrates including a California blond tarantula, black widow spider, dermestid beetles and others.
- Gardens – 1.3 acres (0.53 ha) of primarily native plants. They include a hummingbird garden and butterfly habitat.
CuriOdyssey is available to rent for special events such as weddings, banquets and conferences. The 3-level Redwood Hall has views of the Bay, audio-visual capabilities and capacity for up to 300 guests reception-style. The outdoor gardens can also be used after hours for cocktail parties or intimate wedding ceremonies. Event guests may explore the indoor interactive exhibits, outdoor animal habitats and trails, or by special arrangement, even feature an animal ambassador in their event.12
The museum offers a range of hands-on programs designed for school and group educators in the sciences, as well as programs for the general public that help visitors explore, discover, and interact with nature and natural phenomena.1 The CuriOdyssey Mobile Museum and Animal Ambassadors regularly visit public parks as well as schools and other sites by special arrangement.
- "About Us". Coyote Point Museum. Retrieved 11 April 2010.
- Softky, Marion. "New life for Coyote Point Museum". The Mountain View Voice. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- "Animal Habitats". Coyote Point Museum. Retrieved 11 April 2010.
- "List of Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Retrieved 11 April 2010.
- Department of Parks (2012). "Coyote Point Recreation Area". County of San Mateo. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
- Finacom, Steven. "Coyote Point Museum Offers Rewarding Excursion". The Berkeley Daily Planet. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- "Coyote Point Museum in San Mateo, California". City-Data. Retrieved 11 April 2010.
- Finacom, Steven. "Group taking over Coyote Point Museum". Revisioning Museums. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- Gordon, R. "Coyote Point Museum has someone new in charge". The Contra Costa Times. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- Mike Rosenberg (17 January 2011). "'Curious' new name highlights changes at Coyote Point Museum". The San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
- "Our Animals". Coyote Point Museum. Retrieved 11 April 2010.