Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cal Academy's Eel Exhibit Will Shock You -- Literally

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 10:16 AM


There are certain truths we hold to be self-evident about San Franciscans: We love learning new things, and we love mild, non-lethal electrocution. Thankfully, deep within the moodily-lit Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences, through the Amazon Flooded Forest and nearly hidden in the shadows of the Northern California Coast exhibit, is a big ol' electric eel that satisfies both cravings.

Since allowing patrons to reach into the tank would be a tad unhygienic, the Aquarium provides the next best thing: an electric eel simulator on the wall, complete with the irresistible words: "How does an electric eel catch dinner? Touch the eel for a shock."

Granted, it's a picture of an eel with two electric small plates attached -- and it most likely is not the prey-stunning 650 volts the sign says eels are capable of...

...but when you touch them with your thumb and forefinger, bzzzzap! You suddenly become aware of the muscles in your finger as a non-damaging electrical charge surges through them for an instant, and you'll very much understand how electric eels catch their dinner. Learning is fun!

When you're done with that, you may want to check out the the anaconda arm-squeeze simulator nearby. Y'know, if you're into that sort of thing.

We're not here to judge. This is San Francisco, after all.


Sherilyn Connelly is a San Francisco-based writer. She also curates and hosts Bad Movie Night at The Dark Room, every Sunday at 8pm.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF (follow Sherilyn Connelly on Twitter at @sherilyn) and like us on Facebook.

  • Pin It

About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"