California Academy Of Science, San Francisco

4.5 out of 5 stars 16 Reviews

55 Music Concourse Dr. San Francisco CA 94118 (415) 379-8000

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  • Landscaped Green Roof
    Landscaped Green Roof
    by atufft
  • De Young Muse from Roof of CA Academy of Sciences
    De Young Muse from Roof of CA Academy of...
    by atufft
  • Main Entrance
    Main Entrance
    by TooTallFinn24
  • atufft's Profile Photo

    The NEW Academy of Sciences

    by atufft Updated Aug 31, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Just a year after the reopening of the fantastic DeYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences also reopened, indicating clearly that San Francisco is flush with money of museum construction. I recall with fondness visiting the Morrison Planetarium, Steinhardt Aquarium, the pendulum, and natural history museum--all inside the Academy of Sciences building-- since the earliest days of my childhood. So, I was excited to see new investment and expansion of the science exhibits to include educational experiences about rainforest habitats, global warming, and California's endangered environment. Although my first visit was on a very busy Memorial Day weekend, the organization of the huge crowd was very smartly managed by the Academy staff. The pendulum was apparently improved in it's swinging accuracy, but seems smaller than I recall in the past. The cafeteria remains centered in the building, but everything is oriented around teaching recycling, biodegradeabiliity, sustainability, and so on. It's a class act.

    De Young Muse from Roof of CA Academy of Sciences Naturally Lit Cafeteria in SF Academy of Sciences View of De Young From Academy of Sciences Electric Solar power the new Academy of Sciences Landscaped Green Roof
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    Academy A Great Place for Kids and Adults

    by TooTallFinn24 Updated Aug 23, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    As a child I can remember taking field trips in school and visits with my parents to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. At the time it was primarily an aquarium, natural history museum, and planetarium. In the last thirty or so years the Academy has grown into a major international educational and research institute. The three uses I described are still there but there is also a major walk through rain forest as well as several short term exhibits.

    The two principal focuses of the Academy are to explore how life originated and what are the steps necessary to sustain it. The museum employs a rather large number of researchers some who are housed in the building and many that are on assignments throughout the world.

    Since my last trip to the Academy the most impressive new continuously showing exhibit is the rain forest. It consists of walking into a weatherized multi level enclosure that depicts the several levels of life in the equatorial rain forest. The life that abounds in the exhibit is fascinating. From tropical birds, butter flies, snakes and spiders, to name just a few, they are all available for close up viewing as you walk to the top level of the rain forest. The temperature inside the exhibit is so warm that you might find it necessary to leave after a short time there.

    When we were there in July there were also two excellent exhibits on skulls and earthquakes. The skull exhibit contained over 400 different animal and bird skulls. There was a huge wall, shown below, that displayed several hundred skulls alone. Hand on exhibits allowed you touch and feel how smooth and fragile the skulls are of many animals.

    There is also an outstanding planetarium and pretty good aquarium on the site. Admission to the planetarium is included as part of the admission price. The 270 degree screen is rated as the largest of its kind in the world. We saw a session on black holes and gray matter. Very well done and worth the time. Having seen the Monterey Aquarium, the Academy version is o.k. with a nice walk under the water exhibit but nothing spectacular.

    Aside from the exhibits the building itself is amazing. The building has an outstanding 2.5 acre rooftop garden. The garden which uses very little water looks like something from another planet. The building is solar heated and also has its own water reclamation system. The building is insulated with blue jeans of all things.

    You can easily spend a half day or more touring the Academy. Come early in the day because it becomes increasingly crowded later in the day.

    My biggest objection is that the Academy is never open later than 5 p.m.

    Hours of operation are;

    Monday to Friday 9:00 to 17:00
    Saturday 10:00 to 17:00
    Sunday 11:00 to 17:00

    Admission Prices

    Adults $ 24.95
    Seniors 65 and over $19.95
    Child 4 to 11 $24.95
    Youth 11 to 17 $29.95
    Students With ID 18 and up $ 29.95
    3 and under Free

    Main Entrance Macaw at Rainforest Exhibit Gorgeous Butterflies in the Rainforest Exhibit Skulls  Exhibit Roof Garden at California Academy
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  • albaaust's Profile Photo

    An outstanding science museum

    by albaaust Written Jan 16, 2014

    The California Institute of Sciences is opposite the de Young museum. Visiting the two museums would be an excellent day excursion which is what we did. The rainforest exhibition is in a dome that you walk through. From the third floor you can then take a lift to the basement section which focuses on marine life. This section is far superior to the. Bay aquarium that is poorly lit. A section is dedicated to swamp lands, and the Californian coast.

    There is a canteen style restaurant available.

    Please note that the museum really starts to close around 4.30pm.

    Marine exhibit The walkway between the museum and institute
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  • rkearns's Profile Photo

    things to do in s.f.

    by rkearns Written Sep 7, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    please don't go to fisherman's wharf. it's a tourist trap and has absolutely NOTHING to do with san francisco. yes, look at VT'ers tips of things to do. dolores park is great, the science museum in golden gate park, the de young, haight street... they're countless. i wouldn't waste time on fisherman's wharf. chinatown is a great suggestion! great food, great deals on endless things you don't need haha! of course, you have to see the bridge. it's quite magnificent, glorious and totally walkable! great views of s.f. from there!
    what is also great is the mission district. for a few young women, you will have a blast! bars galore!

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  • MJL's Profile Photo

    Explore, explain and protect the natural world

    by MJL Written Mar 11, 2010

    This popular Bay Area attraction houses a natural history museum, planetarium, aquarium, and rainforest dome. It is also home to a world-class research institution with over 25 million specimens in its collections.

    A Planetarium A Rainforest

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    California Academy Of Science

    by mindcrime Written Jan 20, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This place is ideal for children. The problem is that it is so crowded that you can hardly enjoy any of the exhibits. The planetarium was very good though and we also liked the rainforest (although we hardly saw some butterflies) and the aquarium. It doesn’t really take too much time to see everything here so we felt disappointed considering the expensive ticket. The place seems kind of cold but I guess it because they wanted large airy rooms.

    Avoid it in high season when there are long lines. If you have kids they will love penguins for sure or the albino alligator. Watch out at the gift shop though because the kids will ask you to buy them one from the merchandise :)

    The museum is open daily 09.30-17.00 (Sundays from 11.00). The entrance fee is $24.95 but free with SF CityPass. The restaurant of the museum is better to avoided, very expensive and bad quality.

    California Academy Of Science penguins at California Academy Of Science California Academy Of Science California Academy Of Science statue in front of California Academy Of Science
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  • TexasDave's Profile Photo

    Very Entertaining Science Museum

    by TexasDave Written Oct 2, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Just re-opened in 2008, this new building, designed by Renzo Piano, has a living roof( 1.7 million native plants have been planted on the 2.5 acre roof) , solar panels, and floor-to-ceiling windows to look at the art museum across the way. Lots of interactive exhibits containing multiple venues, including the aquarium, the planetarium, the natural history museum and the 4-story rainforest.
    Plan on spending the whole day. And if you take public transportation to get there you get a $3 discount off the admission price!

    Admission Prices:

    Adult $24.95
    Senior (ages 65 and over) $19.95
    Student $19.95
    Youth (ages 12-17) $19.95
    Child (ages 7-11) $14.95
    Ages 6 and under FREE

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    CA Academy of Sciences--Steinhart Aquarium

    by atufft Written May 24, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The completely reconstructed Steinhardt Aquarium again places San Francisco at the top of the heap in this sort of presentation. Folks from Southern California ought to visit this, because there's nothing down there to compare. Even the Long Beach Aquarium doesn't measure up. I actually like the Monterey Bay Aquarium slightly better, because it has otter shows and natural pumped in seawater right on the coast, but the Steinhardt no doubt uses ocean saltwater and has many exhibits of undersea life that are thematically arranged by selected regions of the world. The largest tanks are devoted to California's Pacific undersea habitat, with separate tanks representing the Southern and Northern California undersea ecosystem. The Northern California kelp forest tank is very large and impressive. Some specimens, such as the giant sea bass shown here, are endangered species.

    Large California Kelp Forest Tank Strong Thematic Organization at Steinhardt Giant Sea Bass at Steinhardt Aquarium, SF Northern Californai Kelp Forest Tank
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  • sfphototraveller's Profile Photo

    ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF SF IN GOLDEN GATE PARK

    by sfphototraveller Updated May 21, 2009

    CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF SAN FRANCISCO

    SEE FISH,REPTILES,A Rainforest, go to THE LIVING ROOF THERE IS ALSO A PLANETARIUM AND A 3D THEATER AND A AQUARIUM. check out there website for more at WWW.CALACADEMY.ORG

    THE LIVING ROOF ON TOP OF THE BUILDING THE ACADEMY OF SCIENCE OF SAN FRANCISCO OPTI BIKE ELECTRIC BIKE IN THE SCIENCE AND TECH LIVE REPTILES DEEP FLIGHT SUB IN THE SCIENCE AREA
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    • Jungle and Rain Forest
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  • razorbacker's Profile Photo

    Outside the de Young Museum

    by razorbacker Written Mar 28, 2009

    This is the ONE sour note related to the City Pass. They refused to honor it, saying they had a special exhibition this month so there would be an additional $10 fee. (I'll be reporting that to the BBB.) Anyhow, we told 'em to forget it: we'd go across the courtyard to the California Academy of Sciences. That didn't keep us from enjoying the sculptures outside though.

    Boys will be boys!
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  • krissyM's Profile Photo

    Academy of Sciences

    by krissyM Written Oct 25, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The California Academy of Science is a wonderful way to spend the day with the kids, especially if it is raining. It includes an extremely large coral reef aquarium and numerous smaller aquarium exhibits some of which are unique only to this aquarium.

    There is also a large rainforest exhibit - a large sperical dome in which the walkway spirals around so you can experience the different levels of the rainforest. Tropical birds, butterflys and frogs fly and hop around while you spiral upward.

    There are anumber of interactive exhibits for the kids including virtual bug catching and rainforest floor.

    Tickets prices: $25 for adults, $20 for youth (12-17), $15 for child (7-11)

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  • rkearns's Profile Photo

    Academy of Science

    by rkearns Written Oct 16, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Academy of Science just opened this year (2008) and is well worth the $26 entry fee. It rivals Monterrey Bay aquarium, with gigantic sea water tanks of fish, shark, starfish, eel, octopi, jellyfish, coral and more. You get to see underwater life, from shallow to deep, and there are interactive kiosks that will satisfy the kid in you. Such a brilliant design, the building itself is green, sustainable, maintaining its own temperature through the paneled roof. This wonder is a must-see if you visit SF.

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  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    California Academy of Sciences

    by Tom_Fields Updated Oct 26, 2005

    Includes the Steinhart Aquarium, dinosaur bones, dioramas, a Foucault pendulum, and much more. Definitely good for a day-long visit. Highly educational, as well as a great place to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

    The Foucault pendulum measures the earth's rotation. It appears to move. Actually, it is the observer who is moving, as the planet rotates on its axis.

    The California Academy of Sciences The Foucault Pendulum The exhibit hall The Reptile House Part of the huge mineral collection
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  • California Academy of Sciences

    by john82khr Updated Dec 1, 2003

    This is in Golden Gate Park, and features the excellent Steinhart Aquarium, with areas for snakes & lizards, and rooms of natural history. If you go on the bus, its quite a walk from the bus stops, especially for younger children.

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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    California Academy Of Science

    by Jim_Eliason Written Jun 30, 2009

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Part Science museum, part zoo and aquarium. This new museum has a very unique concept focusing in on Life sciences.

    California Academy Of Sciences California Academy Of Sciences California Academy Of Sciences California Academy Of Sciences California Academy Of Sciences
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