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California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

4.3
#1 of 30 in Museums in San Francisco
Natural History Museum Educational Site
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Explore one of the world’s largest museums of natural history at California Academy of Sciences. Located in Golden Gate Park, the center offers the world’s only combined aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and living museum. Ride past tigers and elephants on a simulated African safari or admire tropical animals and vegetation by climbing through the canopy of a living rainforest. Don’t miss the chance to shake things up in the earthquake simulator. Free parking is available for the first 4 hours. Use our San Francisco tour planner to arrange your visit to California Academy of Sciences and other attractions in San Francisco.
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From inexpensive hostels in quiet residential areas to high-end hotels near the city center, San Francisco has accommodations for every budget. Key consideration is what kind of neighborhood you want to stay in. You'll find luxury hotels in Union Square, which has prime shopping, is near theaters, and is on the cable car line. Many hotels are in the northeastern portion of the city, near the tourist-driven neighborhoods of Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf, both easily explored on foot. To get away from the tourist crowds, consider the smaller inns and family-run bed and breakfasts in some of the city's more charming neighborhoods, such as Noe Valley or Pacific Heights. There are also boutique hotels scattered around town. Avoid staying in the Tenderloin. If you plan to have a car with you, ask about parking availability and fees. Parking is often difficult and expensive.
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4.4
  • This place was awesom! Our 8year old was so excited! Aquarium was huge and interesting. Also there was earthquik room and different kind of rocks. We like the aquarium most.  more »
  • My husband and I went to the summer Thursday night adult event and had a great time! We went when it was a health/yoga theme, which was suiting for us so that worked out quite well. The drinks were re...  more »
  • Plan to spend the whole day here. Parking, though not cheap, is plentiful and right there, and you can even eat reasonable food inside. The things for kids to do are almost endless. Learn about and to...  more »
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  • My husband's science & engineering career was launched when he visited the California Academy as a 9 year old... 70 years ago! Having been born and raised on a family farm in Switzerland, my interest was also sparked by the Academy when we joined after the new facility was created. This visit was especially exciting because we invited a family with three inquisitive boys and their workaholic father (who visited the Academy once many years ago, subsequently earning a degree in natural science) for whom we bought a Family Membership so they might have a reason to enjoy the special family quality time uniquely available at the academy. Watching the boys and their father (who is about to remarry) form a tighter bond in the grasp of scientific exploration is a celebration of the joy of giving back!
  • Came here a while back with a good friend of mine. We both had a blast wandering this expansive place. We enjoyed watching the penguins be fed and swimming with one another. There's also a deck area on the roof where you can see the surrounding garden. It's quite beautiful and definitely photogenic. Beware of strong winds, so hold onto your hats! The staff was friendly and helped us navigate the museum whenever we got lost. We also stopped by the gift shop, which was actually a bit small compared to other gift ships. Nevertheless, they still had interesting knick knacks for guests. Like all gift shops, the prices here were a little high for our shoestring, college student wallets.
  • Great place for children and children at heart. Lots to see and interact with. The rainforest is probably my favorite part. Grab planetarium passes when you first arrive for a later time. There is a parking lot below the concourse for $6 / hour on weekends, $5 on weekdays. If you don't mind walking, there are often available free spots along stow lake which is only about a half mile walk.
  • Beautiful facility with an amazing rooftop green space. There's plenty to look at and interact with but make sure you go when it isn't busy. We happened to visit during field-trip season and it was packed. Barely able to look at or interact with anything. Not much you can do about it but I probably wouldn't go back again considering how much admission costs.
  • Good place for children, the shows are pretty good. Too expensive unless you take a yearly pass. There is one similar in Los Angeles and there it's free. But if you are in Bay Area this is a good place to frequent. Consider going on weekdays. Weekends are crazy busy. Car parking is super expensive. So park on the roads