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California Academy of Sciences
Vacation Travel Guide

California Academy of Sciences featuring interior views and rides

This vast scientific institution is one of the world’s largest museums of natural history.

Founded in 1853, just three years after the Golden State joined the Union, the California Academy of Sciences is now a globally recognized scientific institution. It attracts more than a million visitors each year. This attraction includes an aquarium, a planetarium and a natural history museum.

Significant research into the human sciences takes place behind the doors of the academy. Global experts in botany, anthropology, ornithology, geology and an array of other disciplines work here. Completely rebuilt in 2008, the academy is now a striking attraction and is popular with visitors and locals alike.

Visit the Steinhart Aquarium, which includes a four-story dome developed to capture the climate and biology of the rain forest. Come face-to-face with 38,000 live species from all over the world, from the African penguin to sharks and stingrays.

Marvel at the wonders of the universe in the Morrison Planetarium, a state-of-the-art, all-digital planetarium that gives visitors the most accurate picture of the universe to date.

Head to the Kimball Natural History Museum for a look at exhibits from every corner of the globe. The displays explore the evolution of life on Earth, from prehistory to the present day.

Behind-the-scenes tours around the aquarium and the academy take place daily, including a weekly evening event for those over 21. (For a schedule of times see the website.) Knowledgeable guides help you make the most of your visit. If all of the learning leaves you with an appetite, enjoy a meal at the cosmopolitan Academy Café or the Moss Room.

The California Academy of Sciences stands in the heart of the Golden Gate Park and is easily accessible by public transit, car, bike and shuttle services. Note that the parking lot fills quickly on weekends and holidays.

The academy is open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Top Hotels Close to California Academy of Sciences

Stanyan Park Hotel
Stanyan Park Hotel
3 out of 5
750 Stanyan Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is $188 per night from May 19 to May 19
This family-friendly San Francisco hotel is located in the historical district, within a 10-minute walk of Golden Gate Park and University of California San ...
4.3/5Excellent! (806 reviews)
"Great location, lots of walking options. Parking is a little challenging. Our carpet in the room is stained and ugly."

Reviewed on May 17, 2021

Stanyan Park Hotel
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
4 out of 5
780 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is $155 per night from May 21 to May 21
Located in Downtown San Francisco, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Moscone Convention Center, Ferry Building, and Oracle Park. Chase Center and Pier 39 are ...
4.3/5Excellent! (2,246 reviews)
"Wonderful place very nice people ! Will definitely be staying here every time we come on vacation to San Francisco"

Reviewed on May 18, 2021

San Francisco Marriott Marquis
Geary Parkway Motel
Geary Parkway Motel
2 out of 5
4750 Geary Blvd, Richmond District, San Francisco, CA
The price is $90 per night from May 19 to May 19
Located in Richmond District, this motel is within a 15-minute walk of Golden Gate Park and Presidio of San Francisco. California Academy of Sciences and University ...
4/5Very Good! (938 reviews)
"Good location, price is good"

Reviewed on May 13, 2021

Geary Parkway Motel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top California Academy of Sciences Flight + Hotel Deals

Caravelle Inn & Suites
Arena Hotel
Aloft Santa Clara
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Best Lodging Options Near California Academy of Sciences

Stanyan Park Hotel
Stanyan Park Hotel
3 out of 5
750 Stanyan Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is $188 per night from May 19 to May 19
Stanyan Park Hotel
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
4 out of 5
780 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is $155 per night from May 21 to May 21
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
Geary Parkway Motel
Geary Parkway Motel
2 out of 5
4750 Geary Blvd, Richmond District, San Francisco, CA
The price is $90 per night from May 19 to May 19
Geary Parkway Motel
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
4 out of 5
2500 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
The price is $132 per night from May 25 to May 25
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.