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.
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.
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.