California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse Drive
San Francisco CA 94118
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Opening Hours

  • Mon: 9:30am-5pm
  • Tue: 9:30am-5pm
  • Wed: 9:30am-5pm
  • Thu: 9:30am-5pm
  • Fri: 9:30am-5pm
  • Sat: 9:30am-5pm
  • Sun: 11am-5pm


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There aren't many places where you'll find roughly 40,000 animals in the same building, but the California Academy of Sciences is one of them. Located in Golden Gate Park, the academy is a museum of natural history showcasing the history and envisioned future of life on earth and the environment. The various venues of the museum include a living four-story rain forest, a planetarium dome, and an aquarium housing a variety of marine exhibits.

Best and worst time to go to the California Academy of Sciences
Try to avoid going on school holidays or weekends as the museum can get pretty packed with parents and their children. Weekdays during the school week are ideal, especially in the afternoon since most school field trips come in the morning and are gone by then.

Must see/do at the California Academy of Sciences
Everybody loves penguins, and you can see a colony of them frolicking in the African Hall. Everybody also loves the extremely popular Morrison Planetarium, which is the third-largest completely digital planetarium dome in the world. While everybody make not love humid weather, the immersive experience of the rainforest is worth the sweat.

Admission to the California Academy of Sciences
The cost of admission ranges from $24.95 to $34.95 depending on age, and gives access to all of the museum's exhibits and attractions. Children under 3 are free. The museum also has various days throughout the year that are free of charge. Check their website for more information.

Parking and public transportation at the California Academy of Sciences
There is a city-operated parking garage nearby but is subject to rates imposed by the city and often fills up quickly, so public transportation is your safest bet. The #44 O'Shaughnessy bus stops in front of the building, and the #5 Fulton bus stop just outside of the park. The Amtrak Station at the Ferry Building is also less than a 10-minute walk away.

Food at the California Academy of Sciences
The museum offers two restaurants for food: the Academy Cafe, featuring local favorites, and the Terrace, which puts an upscale spin on fast-casual dining. Both locations offer a variety of dishes that won't break your wallet, with prices ranging from $2 to $17.

Insider tip for visitors to the California Academy of Sciences
Shows at the planetarium require separate tickets, free of charge, that get gobbled up very quickly. If you arrive in the morning, head to the planetarium first to get your tickets before venturing into the museum to be sure you don't get shut out.

Author's bio: Dennis Biles is a freelance journalist who was born and raised in the Bay Area. When he's not writing he can often be found losing his mind at Oakland A's games in the Right Field Bleachers.