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California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences

Science Museum, Planetarium, and Aquarium
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
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9.2/10
4,503
ratings
  • Stars
  • Stars
    The experts at SF Weekly and SFist recommend this place
    • SF Weekly
    • SFist
  • Tips
    Safire L.
    "Every Thursday night: DJs, geeky lectures, and drinks... oh my!"(38 Tips)
    Sid S.
    "A beautiful aquarium along with the tropical rainforest tour."(36 Tips)
    Dika M.
    "The planetarium and butterfly exhibit where our favorites."(15 Tips)
    Rochie M.
    "Be sure to visit the Planetarium & the Living Roof!"(11 Tips)
Tips and Reviews icon468 Tips and reviews
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  • AFAR Media
    AFAR MediaJanuary 22, 2015
    On a Thursday evening swing by for an evening of "music, creatures and cocktails". Every week they feature live bands or DJs and various events- meanwhile cocktail bars stand ready for your serving. Read more
  • SFist
    SFistAugust 3, 2014
    A great place for kids to learn about species from around the world, featuring a bevy of animals and sea creatures. The living rooftop alone is a wonder to behold for your future little architect. Read more
    Upvoted 1 week ago
  • NASA
    NASADecember 7, 2010
    The only place on Earth with an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum, and a 4-story rainforest all under one roof! The Morrison Planetarium is the largest all-digital dome in the world. Read more
    Upvoted Oct 7
  • Valerie O.heart icon on user image
    Valerie OonSeptember 9, 2017
    Josh did such an excellent job narrating the structure of the universe prezzo (half hour show at the planetarium). I loved his enthusiasm and humor. The earthquake simulator was a great idea too!
  • Troyheart icon on user image
    TroyMarch 14, 2016
    If you live in or are going to be in the bay area this is a great place to visit. I would go at off peak time to avoid some of the crowd but even so still a great experience.
  • Ashley B.heart icon on user image
    Ashley BowlesFebruary 23, 2017
    Such an amazing museum. Take advantage of the free weekends and try to catch a planetarium show. The 4 story rainforest is amazing too!
  • The Bold Italic
    The Bold ItalicMarch 10, 2011
    Been here 5+ times
    NightLife at CAS is super popular. Get there early if you want to see the rain forest or planetarium, and buy your tickets in advance if you don’t want to wait in line outside in the fog. Read more
  • David T.heart icon on user image
    David TibbittsMarch 18, 2015
    Awesome aquarium and rainforest exhibit. Butterflies run rampant in a realistic biological setting. Took my fiancee and I about 3 and a half hours to get through everything. Worth every penny
  • Destynee A.heart icon on user image
    Destynee AutumnApril 4, 2015
    All the exhibits are good! The cafe is incredibly expensive, I would recommend bringing your own lunch. Also bring money for the parking garage there. Easier than parking on the street!
  • Sid S.
    Sid SinghMarch 8, 2015
    Brilliantly maintained museum with a massive collection of animals. A beautiful aquarium along with the tropical rainforest tour. End it off by seeing the massive sperm whale skeleton.
  • Jessie S.heart icon on user image
    Jessie SSeptember 15, 2017
    Must go to the Thursday night gig! Drink cocktails whilst you roam around the academy learning, seeing glowing fish, play interactive dinosaur games and listen to great dj's. What could be better!
  • Ale T.heart icon on user image
    Ale TowerFebruary 13, 2017
    Loved the videos in the planetarium, the greenhouse with live animals and the earthquake simulator. One of the best science museums I've ever visited, in spite of it being far from encyclopaedic.
  • Vicky O.heart icon on user image
    Vicky OApril 4, 2018
    Loved this place! A rainforest and an aquarium all in one! Go see the penguin feedings and the albino alligator! The rainforest walk is cool make sure there’s no butterflies on you after!
  • Abby C.heart icon on user image
    Abby CJuly 1, 2015
    Very interesting. Spent a lot of time in the rainforest (albino alligator etc.) Both planetarium shows are informational too. Not a huge amount of things to do but you can stay busy!
  • Silvia E.heart icon on user image
    Silvia EdgellApril 5, 2015
    Way more than I anticipated. The place itself is a work of art. Thumbs up. My fav was the rainforest with all the butterflies and wild birds flying free.
  • David R.heart icon on user image
    David RApril 14, 2017
    Nightlife on Thursday evening is good for dates. Get there early to secure a planetarium pass (free) and walk the rainforest before it closes (7:45pm). Downstairs with the fish is cool.
  • Ahmed S.heart icon on user image
    Ahmed SiouaniMarch 3, 2013
    Take a tour at the Morrison Planetarium and buy a ticket for a digital show :) It's definitely worth it. You can also stay at the Aquarium or walk around the different levels of the Rainforest.
  • Adena B.heart icon on user image
    Adena BrenowitzMarch 22, 2019
    This place is already crowded especially on weekends but if you get there first thing in the AM it's not too bad. Also if you live in SF they do free neighborhood days so look into that to save $$.
  • Nikhil C.heart icon on user image
    Nikhil ChandranJuly 14, 2017
    The planetarium is world-class. And also try to read as much of the info posted in the exhibits. Very well-written and informative. Plus so many activities for kids and juniors!
  • Ashley M.
    Ashley MillerMarch 13, 2015
    Incredible aquarium...incomparable to the Aquarium by the Bay. NightLife is a fun way to see it on Thursday nights. It's 21+ w/ cocktails available all over the museum and special exhibits and themes.
  • Maria D.
    Maria DemochkoApril 19, 2013
    This place is amazing. It combines museum, aquarium, zoo, planetarium :) while visiting you can discover new things and become familiar with very rare butterflies, fish etc. Children are very welcome!
  • PILAR P.heart icon on user image
    PILAR PRENDESDecember 2, 2016
    Great place!!! The acuarium is incredible!!!! And they have a adult special evening on thursdays!!! Drinking allowed!!! And a Star Wars night!!! Great great great!!!
  • Eleanor R.heart icon on user image
    Eleanor RigbyJuly 10, 2017
    Perfect place to visit with the kids. That have a lot of activities like the planetarium, the earthquake simulator, roof garden, aquarium, birds area and a white alligator...
  • Raed A.heart icon on user image
    Raed AlSaeedJanuary 6, 2017
    Worth the ticket price, try to be there early as it will need few hours to cover the whole place!
  • Matthew L.
    Matthew L.November 30, 2012
    Been here 10+ times
    Hands down my favorite place to visit in the city. The exhibits are amazing, and right now the baby ostriches are so cute! A must see for everyone! My favorite are the penguins though :)
  • Barry J.heart icon on user image
    Barry JennerApril 4, 2017
    Seems quite a steep entrance fee but it was well worth it with a plethora of excellent displays and hands on areas. Be prepared to spend more than a couple of hours just wandering.
  • Nancy C.heart icon on user image
    Nancy ChenNovember 26, 2014
    Been here 25+ times
    Wonderful place to learn about nature. Weekends are full of kids. Night life is a whole other crowd. Can't get enough of CalAcademy. Oh yea, I'm a docent there, so this isn't biased at all.
  • Aaron D.heart icon on user image
    Aaron DodgeMay 27, 2017
    So many cool things to see while also sipping on delicious cocktails. Very friendly staff and presenters everywhere. Highly recommend for a no kids, fun experience.
  • Sheena W.heart icon on user image
    Sheena WongSeptember 25, 2012
    Been here 100+ times
    Buy tickets online, print them at home or bring them on your smartphone to save time and possibly money. Be sure to check when Free days are to avoid paying altogether. Or to avoid Free Day.
  • Suja R.
    Suja RamachandranAugust 29, 2012
    Been here 50+ times
    Great tourist spot to check out. Make sure to catch some of the films (Earthquake, and Planets). The cafe is FANTASTIC. Fresh and delicious. Beat the tour buses and get some yellow curry.
  • Avaheart icon on user image
    AvaAugust 26, 2015
    Been here 5+ times
    I've been coming here since I was a small child but still love it in my early 20s. lots to see—give yourself time
  • Juston P.heart icon on user image
    Juston PayneAugust 17, 2018
    Buy tickets in advance and arrive before opening. You'll be rewarded with having the aquarium nearly to yourself.
  • AskMen
    AskMenApril 15, 2011
    Hit up the California Academy of Sciences on Thursday nights. They always have great live music, creative cocktails and there is always a diverse, hip crowd hanging out and enjoying the scenery. Read more
  • Karina L.heart icon on user image
    Karina LopesDecember 4, 2014
    The tropical forest inside is simply wonderful. It is very warm but you can find lots is butterflies flying free
  • Eric P.heart icon on user image
    Eric PanApril 21, 2021
    Been here 10+ times
    Bike parking in front and in the underground garage but bring a hefty lock and know it’s high risk 😬
  • Kirstie O.heart icon on user image
    Kirstie O'DonnellJanuary 15, 2015
    Planetarium amazing. Spend a day here well worth it. Good food also. When we were there Galapagos was a highlight.
  • David M.
    David McGuireMay 5, 2014
    California tank has great leopard sharks, and the Philippines coral reef tank is not to be missed! Nightlife for singles is the ticket- especially the Sharktober event with Shark Stewards.
  • Tablet Hotels
    Tablet HotelsFebruary 26, 2013
    Renzo Piano designed this green building. While the admission price is a bit steep and it's often crowded, the Rainforest Dome and Water Planet Exhibit are well worth it.
  • Bennett W W.heart icon on user image
    Bennett W WongNovember 13, 2014
    Been here 10+ times
    Perfect for kids, teens, adults and seniors. If you're studying biology and astronomy, then this is the perfect venue to enhance your knowledge in these subject fields.
  • Peterheart icon on user image
    PeterJuly 22
    Arrive early for Nightlife and line up early for the Planetarium show. It can get very crowded. Also wear an N95. It’s Covid city in there
  • Hanan M.heart icon on user image
    Hanan MalSeptember 12, 2019
    Awesome museum! The aquarium is amazing! Unfortunately the forest was closed when we visited.
  • Eric N.heart icon on user image
    Eric NakagawaSeptember 15, 2019
    Live in SF and have kids? Get the membership. They’re a 501c3 and you can write off membership fees.
  • Olena P.heart icon on user image
    Amazing place for children and adults!!!! Chose program about stars in Planetarium, you won’t regret it
  • Xavier R.heart icon on user image
    Xavier RobertsApril 23, 2014
    Need to visit in the day, but Nightlife at the Academy was awesome! Where else can you have a drink, enjoy good music, and check out an aquarium?!
  • Hostelling International
    Indoor rainforest, planetarium (don't miss this show, it is amazing) and an aquarium. Located in Golden Gate Park it is near the De Young museum and the flower conservatory, also very worth seeing.
  • Pleyis
    PleyisJune 21, 2016
    Excelent planetary experience. Aquarium beautiful! There are discounts for students presenting your credentials, no matter if it is foreign.
  • Arthur C.
    Arthur ChangAugust 15, 2011
    Been here 25+ times
    There's free WiFi! Outlets are a bit scarce, but come during the week when there's no freakishly large crowds. My favorite is hanging out in front of the reef tank.
  • Citrus Lane
    Citrus LaneAugust 16, 2011
    Expose baby to colorful fish and splashing tide pool water! When you both need a break, the big, plushly carpeted baby playroom (with age-appropriate toys) offers a quiet place to snack or even doze.
  • Joyce T.heart icon on user image
    Joyce TompsettJuly 14, 2019
    The aquarium is great. Always good films in the planetarium. The rain forest is cool and don’t forget the roof!!
  • CollegeFashionista
    CollegeFashionistaJanuary 14, 2014
    Every Thursday night the Academy of Sciences becomes 21+ and there is an open bar along with live music and a DJ! It's a fun, different and surprisingly enough educational night out!
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