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California Academy of Sciences

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.

Popular Activities at California Academy of Sciences

There are loads of ways to experience this attraction. We've put together just some things you can do at California Academy of Sciences:

Peruse our San Francisco things to do page to find many more activities in the area.


Guide to Exploring around California Academy of Sciences


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Lodging Near California Academy of Sciences

See all 831 Properties near California Academy of Sciences
Geary Parkway Motel $140
Reviewed on Apr 15, 2019
See details
 
Geary Parkway Motel

Geary Parkway Motel

4750 Geary Blvd, Richmond District, San Francisco, CA
     
    4.0 of 5
    2.0 out of 5.0

    Great budget place to stay; nice clean bed and bathroom. Bus #38 is right outside the motel and takes you straight to downtown SF. The area has a lot of eateries too that you can just walk to. Staff is helpful; I had a complicated set of reservations and they took care of it.

    Charming and Modern Richmond Charmer
    Charming and Modern Richmond Charmer

    Charming and Modern Richmond Charmer

    San Francisco, CA
       
      0.0 out of 5.0
      Perfectly Located, Spacious Condo Half Block From Golden Gate Park
      Perfectly Located, Spacious Condo Half Block From Golden Gate Park

      Perfectly Located, Spacious Condo Half Block From Golden Gate Park

      SF, CA
         
        0.0 out of 5.0

        With direct access to the beach, this Richmond District property is within a 15-minute walk of De Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, and Japanese Tea Garden. Golden Gate Park and University of San Francisco are also within 2 mi (3 km).

        Cute and Convenient
        Cute and Convenient

        Cute and Convenient

        San Francisco, CA
           
          0.0 out of 5.0

          Located in Sunset District, this property is within a 10-minute walk of University of California San Francisco and UCSF Medical Center. California Academy of Sciences and Golden Gate Park are also within 1 mi (2 km).

          Stanyan Park Hotel $166
          Reviewed on May 6, 2019
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          Stanyan Park Hotel

          Stanyan Park Hotel

          750 Stanyan Street, San Francisco, CA
             
            4.1 of 5
            3.0 out of 5.0

            A little strange having a blocked off staircase going down to street in suite 305 but otherwise great!

            Sleep 12+, Great Area,quite Place With Fruit Trees AND A Bbq. 24/7 Access
            Reviewed on Mar 13, 2019
            See details
             
            Sleep 12+, Great Area,quite Place With Fruit Trees AND A Bbq. 24/7 Access

            Sleep 12+, Great Area,quite Place With Fruit Trees AND A Bbq. 24/7 Access

            SF, CA
               
              5.0 of 5
              0.0 out of 5.0

              Very comfortable! No parking so take an Uber from the airport and to get around town. Apartment was clean and the beds were extremely comfortable. Plenty of clean towels provided.

              Absolutely Private 1br,1ba Flat, Wi-fi, Shared Yard, Laundry, Free Park
              Absolutely Private 1br,1ba Flat, Wi-fi, Shared Yard, Laundry, Free Park

              Absolutely Private 1br,1ba Flat, Wi-fi, Shared Yard, Laundry, Free Park

              SF, CA
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0

                Located in Sunset District, this vacation home is within a 15-minute walk of UCSF Medical Center and University of California San Francisco. California Academy of Sciences and Golden Gate Park are also within 1 mi (2 km).

                Charming Victorian Flat Near Haight Streethigh Speed Interne
                Reviewed on Sep 4, 2018
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                Charming Victorian Flat Near Haight Streethigh Speed Interne

                Charming Victorian Flat Near Haight Streethigh Speed Interne

                San Francisco, CA
                   
                  5.0 of 5
                  0.0 out of 5.0

                  We spent two months here with our little ones during our transition back to Northern California and it was just perfect. Joan is a wonderful host and we loved seeing her and Harry as we came and went. The apartment is spacious, clean, and very comfortable with an upscale and well-equipped kitchen. ...