California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA

The California Academy of Sciences is an unfortunately stuffy name for an institution that is anything but staid. The country’s largest natural-history museum includes an aquarium, a planetarium, an enormous rain-forest exhibit under a 27-meter-tall (90-foot-tall) dome, and a living roof that looks like a science-fiction fantasy. A visit here can feel like a trip to an amusement park, with a series of attractions to check out, but all of them are educational. The building itself is part of the appeal of the Academy. (Like the nearby de Young, the old home of the California Academy of Sciences was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and starchitect Renzo Piano designed its very environmentally friendly replacement.) It would be easy to spend an entire day or more seeing all of the Academy’s exhibits, so be prepared to pick and choose among them.

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Many Other Worlds

From top to bottom, the California Academy of Sciences is a delight. Under the green roof of the Renzo Piano-designed building, visitors will find an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum, and a rain forest. The museum boasts of housing 40,000 live animals—including an albino alligator. A weekly event called NightLife at the Academy is a huge draw; on Thursdays from 6 to 10pm the museum turns into a pulsating nightclub. (Admission is 21+.)

Get Hands-On at the California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is Golden Gate Park’s shape-shifter. Home to an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum, and a tropical rain forest—just to mention a few of its highlights—the Academy wears many hats with the goal of exploring and explaining life. Among its many exhibits are the Shake House, which simulates San Francisco’s two major earthquakes, and the Discovery Tidepool, which lets you touch sea creatures native to California’s coast. Those 21 and older can also attend NightLife on Thursday evenings. While each week is different, events may include DJ sets, drag performances, and lectures. Academy tickets are pricey ($34.95 for adults), but select Sundays are free. NightLife tickets cost $12.

Drinks with Gators, Dancing with Jellyfish

If you find yourself in San Francisco on a Thursday evening and are looking for something different, call some friends and swing by the California Academy of Sciences for an evening of “music, creatures and cocktails”. Every week on Thursdays they feature live bands or DJs and various events- meanwhile cocktail bars stand ready for your serving all throughout the museum. With drink in hand, Cruise through various exhibits, hang with the butterflies in the biodome or wander downstairs and gaze at all of the glorious sea creatures who appear to be swimming to the DJ’s beats. $12 gets you in and if you get there early you can snag free tickets to the planetarium show. Check out the details at

Thursday Nights for adults only!

Grab your friends and head to the Academy’s NightLife every Thursday evening from 6-10pm. Tickets are half price on Thursday nights so it’s a deal! Must be 21 or older. At NightLife you’ll enjoy great music, amazing exhibits, weird creatures and plenty of cocktails. Each week features a live band or DJ, and a unique theme – from salsa dancing to sustainable seafood and beyond. Get there early to buy tickets at the door (limited number available) or purchase online. And don’t miss the Planetarium show and rooftop! Lots of food choices at the Academy Café. Great way to learn something and have a fun time!

Windows up

Cold blustery day in San Francisco--no need to open the skylights.

Beautiful And Educational

I really enjoyed going to this even though I did not bring any kids with me. There was a nice simulation of an Amazon rain forest with butterflies and birds flying around. Gotta love those blue morphos. The skeletons of early humans were incredible. Lots of things to take in if you are a science and nature lover.

Butterflies at California Academy of Sciences

On Thursday evenings, NightLife happens at the California Academy of Sciences. This 21+ event includes music, cocktails, and a seemingly endless amount of exhibits to see. My personal favorite was the four-story rainforest dome featuring birds, amphibians, and butterflies. Some of these winged-beauties will even take a pit-stop on your person giving you some solid bonding time with nature.

Academy of Sciences

I’ve been obsessed with aquariums and zoos since I was a kid, and the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco is incredible. So many creatures and exhibits to see, it’s hard to do it all in one day. My favorite was Claude, this albino alligator. For one moment, he was basking in the ray of light that is hitting him in this photo. A second after this photo was taken, he jumped in the murky water to the right.

Great Aquarium In San Fran

The academy of arts and science museum in golden gate park offers a whole day of fun and learning. A planetarium, an aquarium and a rainforest is such a diverse experience under one roof which is designed with the environment in mind. The roof is a green garden with a diverse species of plants Take I. Th


At the aquarium!

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