The Hall will be closed September 2–19 for exhibit changes, facility upgrades, and cleaning—reopening September 20. See what's coming »
Animal Discovery Room

Frog being held by a visitor
Come to the Animal Discovery Room and:

  • Hold and touch gentle animals
  • Learn about the behavior and habitats of exotic species
  • Try out self-guided activities and examine specimen models
  • Discover more about yourself and other organisms

Visitors of all ages can experience something new every time they visit the Animal Discovery Room (ADR). When we are open our staff members are available to answer your questions.

Summer Hours
1:30–4:00 p.m. daily, June 14–September 1, 2014.

School Year Hours
1:30–4:00 p.m., Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays including: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Malcolm X Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and Veterans Day.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.

Which animals will you meet?
Not all animals are on public view every day. See a list of animals you might meet when you visit.

Learn more about our live animals in camps, classes, birthday parties, and education programs for schools and community groups. We can even bring some of our programs to you.


Events this Season

Bugging Out!

Daily, June 14–September 1, 2014

Welcome to the world of Xtreme BUGS! Meet many live insects and animals that share their habitats with insects, like turtles, lizards and small mammals. 

Over the summer, try out our three new self-guided activities:

The Metamorphosis Challenge (June 14-30): Sift through grain and challenge yourself to identify the three different stages of a darkling beetle's life: the larvae, pupae and adult stages.  Use magnifying lenses to observe their similarities and differences.  Do they have 6 legs in all stages of their lives?  Are they all the same color?  What other questions do they inspire?

Insect Buffet (July 1-31): Did you know that butterflies suck nectar from flowers, leaf-cutter ants have strong chewing mandibles, and flies have a sponge-like mouth?  Try out different tools and see if you can figure out what kind of mouth would be best for eating certain kinds of foods, and then match them up with the insect. 

Cockroach Mazes (Aug. 1-Sept. 1): Create mazes for Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches to scurry through.  Can they get through faster than an insect robot?

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach


Exciting Animal Updates

Visit the Backyard Zoo exhibit, located near Xtreme BUGS, to take a closer look at a live emperor scorpion, blue death feigning beetles, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and a Chilean Rose-hair tarantula.  Some of these critters, like the hissing cockroaches, even have larger-than-life robotic counterparts in the Xtreme BUGS exhibit so you can discover some of their unique characteristics without even having to squint your eyes or take out a magifying lens.


Adopt Animals or Make a Donation

Adopt an Animal

There are a number of animals in the Animal Discovery Room that have served us well for many years and are now ready to retire from the world of education. In some cases, we have more of one species than we really need. We are looking for permanent homes for these wonderful animals. A small adoption fee helps ensure that each animal goes to a family that is ready to take on the responsibility of adoption. Below is a current list of adoptable animals as well as criteria for adopting them.


Sorry, there are no animals available for adoption at this time.

Sorry, there are no animals available for adoption at this time.  

Criteria For Adopting

  1. You must set up a time with the Animal Discovery Room Manager to talk about species-specific enclosure requirements and the animal's husbandry needs and history*. See Contact Us page for general contact information.
  2. You must provide your own enclosure with proper set up and food for the animal prior to picking it up.
  3. You must pay the $15.00 adoption fee for most animals. Mice are a $5.00 flat adoption fee, regardless of how many are adopted at once. Rats are $5.00 each.

*Note: Not all adoptable animals are recommended for households with small children.

Make a Donation

Many of the animals in the Animal Discovery Room (ADR) have been donated by patrons of the Lawrence Hall of Science.

We do accept donations on occasion, but due to space limitations, we carefully screen all animals before they become a part of our teaching animal collection. ADR animals must be easily handled and even-tempered, since many are used in classes with children and members of the public.  We also occasionally accept used animal enclosures as long as they are in good condition.

We house more than 50 species of animals and attempt to maintain variation in the ADR when accepting animal donations. Please contact us if you are interested in donating your animal or used animal enclosure to find out if it meets all of our criteria. 

We Care About Our Animals

Special care is taken to ensure that all of our animals are housed correctly, with the proper substrate, heat, light, humidity, and enrichment. Undergraduate Animal Discovery Room (ADR) helpers, with the assistance of teen interns, conduct daily checks of all ADR animals.  Helpers and interns are the first to notice any changes in the animals’ behavior or physical appearance. If there is a behavioral or physical change in an animal, it is monitored and may receive vet care depending on the severity of the situation. In order to monitor all of the ADR animals, we conduct monthly weight checks. New or sick animals are weighed weekly to ensure that they are adjusting well and staying healthy. When needed, we administer medicine, supplied by our veterinarians.

UC Berkeley Office of Laboratory and Animal Care (OLAC) veterinarians provide care for all our animals according to campus animal care and USDA regulations. Veterinarians are available 24/7 to provide quality veterinary care and advice. They do routine checkups on all of the animals, as well as operations and x-rays, and provide other veterinary services.