San Francisco is packed with amazing things to do, and the California Academy of Sciences is a standout. This is the only place in the world where you’ll find an aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and natural history museum all under one roof. It’s a delight of discovery and exploration of the natural world.
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Top things to see and do at the California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences promises a thrilling journey through the wonders of Earth and the cosmos. Here are the top things to see and do:
- See the world’s deepest indoor living reef at the Steinhart Aquarium. Over 900 animal species live here, and there’s even an exhibition dedicated to the secrets of creatures that bite, stun, and sting.
- Explore enthralling dioramas of African landscapes and learn about the history of humans at the Kimball Natural History Museum. You can also see the museum’s own colony of African penguins, a vital resource for research by the Academy’s biologists.
- Take a virtual tour of the solar system at the Morrison Planetarium. Stars, planets, and whole galaxies are projected onto the 75ft (23m) dome, providing an immersive cosmic experience.
California Academy of Sciences street parking
Located in San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences is a fairly straightforward drive from the city proper. And there’s no need to worry about parking; both street and paid garage parking are available.
California Academy of Sciences parking is easier than you might think. Free street parking is available throughout Golden Gate Park. It can get busy, especially at weekends and during holidays, so it’s best to arrive early if you want to find a good spot.
There’s 3-4 hour free parking on Martin Luther King (MLK) Drive between Crossover Drive and Kezar Drive. You can find more 3-4 hour free parking on Nancy Pelosi Drive between MLK Drive and John F Kennedy Drive. And around Stow Lake there’s all day parking.
For accessible California Academy of Sciences parking, head to the Golden Gate Bandshell Parking Lot, which has 20 free, accessible blue zone parking spaces. Enter on MLK Drive, between Music Concourse Drive and Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive.
California Academy of Sciences garage parking
Just steps away from the academy’s main entrance you’ll find convenient garage parking at the Music Concourse Garage. This is a secure, accessible, underground parking facility. From the north, enter via Fulton Street/10th Avenue, and from the south at Music Concourse Drive/MLK Drive.
The Music Concourse garage is open from 7.00 to 19.00 daily. It’s $5.25/hour on weekdays, and $6.25 at weekends and after 17.30. Like the California Academy of Sciences street parking, Music Concourse garage can fill up quickly, so get here early to secure a parking spot.
California Academy of Sciences tickets
The California Academy of Sciences offers a complete day out. You can spend hours exploring its natural environments, captivating exhibits, and interactive science displays. There’s so much on offer here, as well as elsewhere in San Francisco, that careful planning is required to make the most of your time.
For general admission with instant ticket delivery, choose a California Academy of Sciences: Admission Ticket. These tickets provide daytime admission including all shows and exhibitions. Interactive programming is covered too; Swamp Talk is a perennial favorite.
For an alternative insight, try a California Academy of Sciences: Nightlife Ticket. These afford unique after-hours access to the venue’s glories. On Thursday evenings the academy buzzes with special talks, demonstrations, and performances. There’s even live music and DJs. Just remember that entrance is restricted to over 21s.
California Academy of Sciences combi tickets
When planning your visit to the Golden Gate City, it’s important to make the right ticket choice.
The San Francisco City Pass is the perfect option if you know you want to see the best of the bay and its attractions, but want a bit of flexibility too. This California Academy of Sciences ticket option includes daytime entrance and a bay cruise. With these California Academy of Sciences tickets, you can visit two further attractions from a selection including the Exploratorium and SFMOMA. Especially good for families, this ticket choice works for tots as well as teens.
California Academy of Sciences for families
The Academy’s mix of education, entertainment, and hands-on experiences make it a top destination for families. Nature enthusiasts will love seeing the wide range of flora and fauna, from rainforest vines to tropical birds and butterflies. Budding scientists and explorers are amply served by vast galaxies and exhibits that combine learning and fun.
Look out for the kid-sized entrance to the Children’s Eel Garden, Head to the East Garden when little ones need to run off a bit of steam. Don’t forget the Academy Cafe has plenty of child-friendly food options too.
What’s great about the California Academy of Sciences?
Nature, science, and sustainability blend seamlessly here. Biodiversity is big – and small. You can immerse yourself in California’s enormous natural phenomena including giant redwoods. Or watch the life cycle of tropical butterflies and moths, in the form of chrysalises and cocoons. The Academy even has a living roof, providing insulation, handling storm water, and giving a home to local wildlife. As well as being a fascinating natural environment, the living roof also affords great views across Golden Gate Park – and beyond.
California Academy of Sciences tickets provide a visit to another world, where education, conservation, and sustainability come together to inspire and educate visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a science enthusiast, nature lover, or simply a day tripper looking for a fun and educational day out, this San Francisco gem guarantees you an exciting experience.