California Academy of Sciences

#2 in Best Things To Do in San Francisco
California Academy of Sciences picture
Anne Petersen/Flickr

Price & Hours

$35.95 for adults; $25.95 for kids 4-11
Mon-Sat 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. | Sun 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Details

Museums, Zoos and Aquariums Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
5.0scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 5.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere
Attention all traveling families: recent visitors said this is the perfect place to bring kids in San Francisco. The California Academy of Sciences brims with plenty of things to see, including an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum and even a rainforest. 
The Steinhart Aquarium is home to about 40,000 animals representing more than 900 different species, including a penguin colony from Africa, a swamp with an albino alligator, a shark lagoon and a separate 100,000-gallon tank that mirrors the ecosystem of the California coast. Meanwhile, the Osher Rainforest houses 1,600 animals, including 250 free-flying birds and about 100 reptiles and amphibians in its four-story complex. The Morrison Planetarium is known for its 75-foot-diameter screen, which screens "Tour of the Universe" shows daily. And the Kimball Natural History Museum boasts dinosaur fossils, an interactive science exhibit and a unique earthquake simulator. 
On top of all of the permanent exhibits, each attraction features its own program of presentations and activities. Travelers suggest sticking around for the coral reef dive at the aquarium or venturing into the Shake House, the earthquake simulator found at the Kimball Natural History Museum. Admission may be pricey to some (adult tickets start at $34.95; entrance for children costs between $29.95 and $24.95, depending on age), but travelers say their experience was worth the cost. Visitors were impressed with not only the quantity of things to do, but the quality, with those young and old saying they left amazed at what they were able to see and do in a day. And a day is what you'll need to see everything, so make sure to pick and choose ahead of time if you're on a tight schedule. 
You can find the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, along Nancy Pelosi Drive. There are multiple public transportation links around the park, but the closest to the California Academy of Sciences is the Irving St. & 9th Ave. Muni metro stop. The academy is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. For more information on the California Academy of Sciences, consult its website.   

Attention all traveling families: recent visitors said this is the perfect place to bring kids in San Francisco. The California Academy of Sciences brims with plenty of things to see, including an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum and even a rainforest. 

The Steinhart Aquarium is home to about 40,000 animals representing more than 900 different species, including a penguin colony from Africa, a swamp with an albino alligator, a shark lagoon and a separate 100,000-gallon tank that mirrors the ecosystem of the California coast. Meanwhile, the Osher Rainforest houses 1,600 animals, including 250 free-flying birds and about 100 reptiles and amphibians in its four-story complex. The Morrison Planetarium is known for its 75-foot-diameter screen, which screens "Tour of the Universe" shows daily. And the Kimball Natural History Museum boasts dinosaur fossils, an interactive science exhibit and a unique earthquake simulator. 

On top of all of the permanent exhibits, each attraction features its own program of presentations and activities. Travelers suggest sticking around for the coral reef dive at the aquarium or venturing into the Shake House, the earthquake simulator found at the Kimball Natural History Museum. Admission may be pricey to some (adult tickets start at $35.95; entrance for children costs between $25.95 and $30.95, depending on age), but travelers say their experience was worth the cost. Visitors were impressed with not only the quantity of things to do, but the quality, with those young and old saying they left amazed at what they were able to see and do in a day. And a day is what you'll need to see everything, so make sure to pick and choose ahead of time if you're on a tight schedule. 

You can find the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, along Nancy Pelosi Drive. There are multiple public transportation links around the park, but the closest to the California Academy of Sciences is the Irving St. & 9th Ave. Muni metro stop. The academy is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. For more information on the California Academy of Sciences, consult its website.   

See all Hotels in San Francisco »

More Best Things To Do in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Park
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 26
#1 Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge's vaulting, orange arches amidst the rocky seascape of the San Francisco Bay have made it one of the West Coast's most enduring symbols and the city's most popular tourist attraction. The bridge's name, "Golden Gate," actually refers to the body of water it spans (the Golden

Read more
John Lund/Tom Penpark/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in San Francisco »

Explore More of San Francisco

Recommended

The 21 Most Beautiful Waterfalls to See Around the World

Discover which stunning falls offer once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.

Kyle McCarthyApril 25, 2019

The 20 Best Michigan State Parks

Two peninsulas, four Great Lakes and innumerable natural highlights elevate Michigan's state parks.

Zach WatsonApril 18, 2019

50 Awesome Vacation Ideas for Every Type of Traveler

Consider these vacation ideas for your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonApril 11, 2019

The 13 Best National Parks in California

You won't regret adding one of these national parks to your California itinerary.

Rachel CenterApril 10, 2019

10 Beautiful Places to Visit in the South of France

Plan a getaway to these special destinations to soak up culture, cuisine and quaint atmospheres.

Gwen PratesiApril 8, 2019

Best Carry-on Luggage of 2019

U.S. News rated the best carry-on luggage, considering recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerApril 3, 2019

The 11 Best Utah National Parks and Monuments to Visit

From birding to bouldering to boating, Utah's national parks have it all.

Zach WatsonApril 2, 2019

The 30 Best Zoos in the U.S.

Get an up-close look at wild creatures in natural settings at America's top animal parks.

Kyle McCarthyMarch 28, 2019

15 Scenic Train Rides to Add to Your Bucket List

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

Christine SmithMarch 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019