The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is among the largest natural history museums in the U.S. With an aquarium, a rainforest, a swamp, and a planetarium, all under one roof, it’s a great place to spend a day. We recently went with our grandkids, ages 10 and 11, who have a bent to science, and they loved exploring here!
The aquarium was a priority for us, so we started here. It’s vast and colorful. We lost track of time winding around the different pools and viewing levels. The variety of sea creatures baffles the mind. About 40,000 sea creatures live in this aquarium.
Next we found the Academy of Sciences area called The Swamp, where the main attraction is an albino alligator named Claude.
My family is still debating whether Claude is really alive. I saw him blink. I’m convinced.
Hello from another angle, Claude. I think you need to see a dentist.
When you get hungry, the café offers many choices. I had a delicious wheat berry salad. The kids went for burgers and fries.
Keeping it real: Both the kids had ear infections and were on ear drop antibiotics during our visit. At lunch, we waited while the ear drops dripped into their ears. This may have looked strange if anyone noticed.
I want to mention this because I know that sickness can be a part of travel, especially if you travel with young ones. They were troopers and wanted to keep exploring, and we knew they weren’t contagious. Sometimes you just keep going, even if the children (or you) aren’t in tip top health. The experiences and the memories are worth it!
Our day at the Academy of Sciences ended with a visit to the four-story rainforest. You wind up a curved ramp among trees and lots of vegetation. The butterflies flitter around you. I learned that they love oranges.
The planetarium will have to wait until another day. We were ready to head to Fisherman’s Wharf for dinner. In the morning we had taken the muni bus to Golden Gate Park, stopping many, many times, then we walked about 15 minutes to the Academy of Sciences. At the end of the day, we were tired and ready to try Uber. You can be picked up outside the main entrance of the museum and whisked to the wharf in about 15 minutes.
The kids chose the perfect place for dinner after our tour of the rainforest: The Rainforest Café.
IF YOU GO:
The Academy of Sciences is open every day of year. Hours are Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Prices: $35.95 for adults, $25.95 for children ages 4 – 11, and $30.95 for ages 12 – 17 and students.
Learn more about the programs and exhibits offered by the museum.
It sounds like a wonderful place to spend the day! What a variety of things to see!
So much fun! I love science museums!
What a wonderful place to visit! Wow! 🙂
Beautiful photos! I visited the SF Academy of Sciences a few years ago and loved it! I remember they made us shake off before leaving the rainforest to check we didn’t take any butterflies with us 🙂
These are beautiful. I can’t believe I used to live so close to this, and I never went!!
I love nature and places where I can experience it.Great post!
Love the Golden Gate Park! And the Museum of Sciences we visited. That huge skeleton looks scary! Let me know how your experience was with Uber – that would solve the parking problem! Many thanks for sharing this interesting feature of this park with All Seasons! Thanking you and wishing you a great week!
Jesh – We had a wonderful, smooth experience with Uber (our first time). The car showed up in about 5 minutes and picked us up at the front of the museum. The nice young man driving works in IT and drives after work in the city. No money changes hands. He dropped us off at a store on Fisherman’s Wharf where we needed to go for camera batteries. I love riding public transit in SF, but it takes SO long to get anywhere on the bus. Uber was just the ticket at end of a busy day of sightseeing.
Looks like a really cool place and I love the alligator
Great captures. We loved this place so much we got the annual pass.
I love your photos. It reminds me of snorkeling. Ahhhh. I haven’t been to the Academy since it made its major changes. Time to point myself up to the City.
Sharon! These are amazing photographs! Of all the cities I’ve been to, San Francisco is simply the best and my favorite! It gives you a lot to see and a million things to feel and be awed with! Haven’t been to the Academy Museum, hopefully on my next trip 🙂
This is so cool! I’m glad you put this on my radar cause my son would LOVE this! The next time we are in SF, this is a must! #citytripping
This looks brilliant! So much to do no matter what the kids are into be it bugs or dinosaurs. That albino alligator is quite scary looking! I know what you mean about sometimes you have to keep going even if the family aren’t in perfect health – your kids look like they had a great day in a fantastic place well done to them for keeping going! #CityTripping
That museum looks really neat. I love how they combine so many different eco-systems! Wonder if Claude ever saw the dentist? 😉
What a great day out – I really fancied going here with my daughter when we were in California but we didn’t have long enough in San Francisco. Maybe next time! Thanks for linking up with #citytripping
This is one of my favorite places in San Francisco! I was going to ask about Claude but I see he is still there. Yup, not a lot of movement when I saw him. I can see myself going back to the Academy of Sciences. It is the place for geeks like me ;0) #TPThursday
I have seen the museum when I visited Golden Gate Park but just haven’t had time to go inside. Hopefully will make it my next trip. Didn’t realize how much there is to see there! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.
Hmmm I’d be keeping an eye on that Claude.. I know all about crocs! The Academy of Sciences looks like a great day out in San Francisco. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles
I love natural history museums and always make it a point to visit them when I am in a new city. Of course I didn’t miss this one either. Thank you for joining us for #TheWeeklyPostcard
I love science museums. I guess the fact that I had NO desire whatsoever to take biology, physics or science in school makes me all ‘OH REALLY??’ when I visit science museums. Then my husband (who always loved science and technology) rolls his eyes at me. Ha!! Found you through #YourPhotoThursday
I recently moved to San Francisco but haven’t been to the Academy of Sciences yet. Thanks for the peek inside! #FarawayFiles
Ooh that white crocodile looks a bit scary! Never seen an albino one before! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!
This looks exactly like the type of place my family would enjoy visiting. It’s handy that there’s a cafe on-site so that you aren’t tempted to leave when you get hungry. I really like that albino gator. I’ll have to keep this in mind for when we finally get to visit San Francisco.
Great place for Family Travel at the Academy Sciences Museum. Wonderful photos and so much fun things to see there. Thanks for sharing! #WeeklyPostcard
Fascinating and seems like challenging shots indoors. I had some issues at the Mississippi River Museum.
Oops. not done. You did a great job with the glass and the space and the tanks. I also love the close-ups. We’ll have to talk about taking museum shots sometimes because you did a great job. I hope the kids are better, ear infections are awful and kids are so susceptible to them.