California Academy of Sciences


California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse Drive

San Francisco, CA 94118

(415) 379-8000

Written by Scott Messmore

The California Academy of Sciences is on a mission. Founded in 1853 during the Gold Rush era, the Academy was founded to explore the vast environmental and economic resources of the vast western state. Today the Academy of Sciences is seeking to explain the natural world with research and education. Eight research departments explore the worlds of biology, botany, anthropology, zoology, geology, ornithology, entomology, herpetology, aquatic botany and mammalogy. Visitors can explore an entire world of sharks, rare gems, saltwater fish, the solar system and extinct dinosaurs. The Fish Roundabout can view ocean going fish in a 100,000-gallon circular tank brimming with Pacific barracuda, mackerel, bonito, tuna and ocean white fish. The best time to see the Roundabout might be each day at 2 p.m. when the fish are fed. Earthquake! is one of the Academy's newer exhibits examining the causes of earthquakes and how they affect the planet. Visitors can experience a simulated earthquake in a special theater. African Hall is home to exhibits and displays on the wildlife and vegetation of the Dark Continent. The African Waterhole exhibit cycles through an entire day on the African plains in only 17 minutes.

The Earth & Space Hall

The Earth & Space Hall takes Academy visitors into space and out into the Universe. Hanging from the ceiling, our solar system is duplicated along with a massive rotating globe of the Earth. More than 1,000 examples of rare rocks, minerals and gems wait in the Gem & Mineral Hall. A huge 1,300-pound quartz crystal is on display plus a 465-pound amethyst-lined geode transported all the way from South America.The Biodiversity Center has resources for high-level researchers as well as students, grown up and out of towners. Visitors can log onto the World Wide Web, examine scientific CD-ROMs, laser discs and videos. Freshwater and Saltwater fish are represented with nearly 200 displays. Sharks, deep-sea nocturnal fish or a huge alligator gar all illustrate the variety of fish around the world. The Penguin Environment is home to a breeding colony of black-footed penguins that are fed every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. The Touch Pool offers visitors a chance to actually hold friendly little creatures from the ocean. Morrison Planetarium shows the way through the Universe and has light and music shows on the weekends. The Living Coral Reef is the largest living coral reef in the United States. Living coral formations live with yellow tang and blue damselfish inside the Academy

Hours of Operation and Location

The California Academy of Sciences is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Academy is in fact open 365 days a year, including holidays. In the summer, the hours are extended to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Admission for adults is $8.50; seniors, students with identification and children ages 12 to 17 years are charged $5.50; Children ages four to 11 years will need only $2 and kids three and under are free. Tickets can be bought in advance by calling 415-750-7138. Groups rates for schools, non-profits or business groups can call 800-509-1511 for rates. The first Wednesday of each month is a free admission day for all to attend. Complimentary donations from visitors to the museum are accepted. A Golden Gate Park Explorer Pass allows the bold scientific explorer the visit the Japanese Gardens, the Academy of Sciences, the de Young Museum, the Asian Art Museum and the Japanese Tea Garden for a $12.50 admission price. The ticket allows one visit to each section of the Academy. Tickets can be bought at the Academy of Sciences or a visitors information center at the corner of Market Street and Powell Street.Visitors with a valid MUNI transfer of FastPass get one dollar off of an adult admission ticket. Guided tours and self-guided audio tours for a dollar are available at the Academy's main entrance.For more information about the California Academy of Sciences call their 24-hour telephone number at 415-750-7145.

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