Home SF Bay Area California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

by TerriAnn
Dinosaur at California Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA #SFBay

California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco Review. . .


55 Music Concourse Dr, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California 94118

Good for: Multiple visits, families, field trips
Price: $29.95/adult, $19.95/child (4-11), $24.95/senior or student, paid garage parking
Features: Rainforest, earthquake simulation, Living Roof

California Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA #SFBay

If you haven’t visited the California Academy of Sciences in it’s new location, you really should. Parking is extremely easy with the underground parking near the music concourse. The massive aquarium / planetarium / natural history museum / rainforest has so much to see for those of all ages. In fact, after a full day of exploring, we still didn’t get to visit:

  • Science in Action
  • Tusher African Hall
  • Pendulum
  • Early Explorers Cove
  • Planetarium

Even with many school groups and tourists, there’s still plenty of room to enjoy the exhibits. The big open spaces and numerous skylights really make this unlike your typical museum experience.

Dinosaur at California Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA #SFBay

We spent the majority of our time in the Rainforests of the World area. This enclosed section has a multitude of wildlife in the air, on land, underwater, and some that traverse them all. Unlike similar structures, temperatures in the rainforest are not unbearable. Yes, it is humid but not so much that sweat is dripping in your eyes, obstructing your view. My daughter was snapping photos like crazy – if you’d like to see a small gallery of her photos go here.

The butterflies were gorgeous! While none landed on us, we were able to get quite close to many of them. It really surprised Frans how the birds could feed right next to butterflies without, well, feeding on them!

Rainforest at California Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA #SFBay

See what a perfect place the Cal Academy is for families? Plus, the residents are happy to let you watch them as long as they can watch you back.

Frogs at California Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA #SFBay

When you reach the fourth and final story of the rainforest, it’s time to take the elevator all the way down to the lower level aka the aquarium. Again, the collection of aquatic life cared for here is diverse and expansive. Plus, every kid loves an underwater tunnel (as seen by my photo-happy daughter). Well, I should say most kids as the one screaming at the end of a monkey backpack was having less than a stellar time waiting for the rest of his family . . .

Aquarium at California Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA #SFBay

Even though I’ve lived in California most of my life and have experienced many earthquakes, including that of ’89 (I was in 6th grade and home alone), I was still interested in visiting the Earthquake exhibit. Numerous displays shared facts as to what to do in an emergency and how best to prepare for it.

Earthquake Exhibit at California Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA #SFBay

We didn’t spend too much time looking around here as the highlight was really the simulation part. After being led into a domed-projection room to see a short, five-minute film on the cause of earthquake, it was time to (safely) relive the quakes of 1989 and 1909.

Last to be mentioned but first stop of our visit was the Built for Speed exhibit. Directly facing the front entrance, this window-lined area housed a handful of activities, models, and environmental warnings. There was extensive information on the shape and design of sea life which helps them moved through the water, some at great speeds like the sailfish and squid.

Being in San Francisco, there HAD to be something dedicated to the 2-week America’s Cup sailing competition going on. The video footage was so exciting! Hanging overhead was the ORACLE Team USA’s AC45 catamaran. I had no idea these things were so huge! It was hard to imagine how the collapsed catamaran looked when in use but the smaller models helped quite a bit.

Built for Speed at California Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA #SFBay

Visitors should be aware that evolution and the Big Bang Theory are heavily referred to throughout the museum, presented as historical fact. This may be a sensitive subject for some families so I wanted to mention it at least.

We horribly underestimated the time we’d spend at the CA Academy of Sciences and missed so much. Next time, we’ll have to dedicate an ENTIRE day to touring the property. Maybe we’ll even get a chance to see the Living Roof again and eat at the Academy Café. The food there looked so appetizing with so much to choose from!

Whether you enjoy flora, fauna, stars, earth science, marine life, or animal biology, the California Academy of Sciences does not disappoint! Spending the day here is perfect for abstract fun or an educational journey for public and homeschool students alike. Happy learning!

My family received complimentary admission for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

You may also like


Lynda @MommyPowers September 26, 2013 - 10:10 am

Critters! I’m a lover of all wildlife! 😀

kristen m September 29, 2013 - 4:36 am


Sonia September 29, 2013 - 10:26 pm

The butterfly exhibit is cool. They land on you if you stay still!

Kimberly Schotz September 30, 2013 - 6:32 pm

I want to see the Underwater Tunnel. I also want to see the Earthquake exhibit. I was huddled in a doorway with 4 children in the 89 one.

Tami Muniz September 30, 2013 - 7:25 pm

I want to see the fish and the earthquake exhibit!

Kristen October 1, 2013 - 11:18 am

I’m most excited to see the penguins!

Kristen October 1, 2013 - 11:23 am
suki October 1, 2013 - 2:57 pm

their planetarium’s my fave. 🙂

Jamie October 2, 2013 - 12:02 am

Yay! i’m officially in NorCal so now it’s time to explore and I’ve heard amazing things about this museum!! =)

Bo October 2, 2013 - 9:52 pm

I’m most excited about the Rainforests of the World exhibit!

Kristen October 4, 2013 - 10:56 am
Kristen October 5, 2013 - 9:57 am

I commented on the post: Half Moon Bay CG

Kristen October 6, 2013 - 12:57 am

I commented on this post:
A Sweet Dog’s Rear-View Look at Life

Family 4-Pack California Academy of Sciences Giveaway at Cookies & Clogs – Ends 10/13/2013 | Contest Corner: The Best Giveaways on The Net! | Oregon Coast Blogger October 9, 2013 - 2:00 am

[…] Site Name: Cookies & Clogs Prize Description: Enter to win a Family 4-Pack to California Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA. (Up to $120 Value) Open to: US, 18+ Entry Deadline: 10/13/2013 Enter This Giveaway Here: https://www.cookiesandclogs.com/california-academy-of-sciences/ […]

Kristen October 9, 2013 - 3:00 pm
Kristen October 10, 2013 - 6:04 pm
Kristen October 12, 2013 - 4:00 pm
Lily Kwan October 13, 2013 - 2:27 am

I am most excited to see the aquarium.

steve singer October 13, 2013 - 6:23 am


Kristen October 13, 2013 - 11:27 am
Donna Kellogg October 13, 2013 - 7:07 pm

I am excited about all of my daughter and nephew would love this

Sonya October 13, 2013 - 8:54 pm

I’d love to see the Rainforests of the World!

Comments are closed.