Butterfly closeup at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

Golden Gate Park

California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is a museum located in Golden Gate Park. It’s a collection of artifacts and animals — in layman’s terms 4 museums in one — and a popular attraction in San Francisco for both families and individual travelers. If you have time, you can easily visit the California Academy of Sciences in an afternoon.

Starting as a research group in 1853, the California Academy of Sciences moved to its present building in 2008 to perform research, broadly, on anything scientific.

The facility’s goal is to study how life developed and is sustained on earth. A rather large museum supports those studies.

The museum’s attractions include a 4-story, temperature-controlled rainforest, complete with fish and butterflies from the countries of origin — anywhere from Costa Rica to the Amazon; an underground aquarium with an albino alligator named Claude; and a living green-roof meant to sustain the “greenness” of Golden Gate Park.

Today, the California Academy of Sciences is the “greenest” museum in the world.

Natural history exhibits, a planetarium and a group of African penguins are all part of the museum as well. Pair those with the scientific exhibits, such as a pendulum swing and interactive display of the 1989 and 1906 earthquakes, and 40,000 live animals and you have an impressive show for any type of person who enjoys museums and learning.

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If the California Academy of Sciences sounds like your kind of snack, walk over for a bite of the action. Just watch out for the giant T-Rex skeleton in the atrium, lest he nip at you first.

California Academy Outside Pic

How Do I Find the California Academy of Sciences?

  • The California Academy of Sciences is located in the middle of Golden Gate Park. It’s near the Music Concourse, across from the de Young Museum.
  • You can use public transportation routes 5, 7, 16ax, 18, 21, 28, 28L, 29, 31, 33, 37, 38, 43, 44, 71 and the N to reach Golden Gate Park. Once you’re inside the park, stroll to the Academy along one of GGP’s many walkways.
  • To reach the California Academy of Sciences from Union Square you can ride bus 5R (the R stands for Rapid —less stops) and walk. The ride and walk should be around 45 minutes.

T Rex Bones

Orange Sky Co. says:

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The California Academy of Sciences is the most ticketed attraction in San Francisco, appealing to young and old. The 4 museums in 1 can keep you busy for more than an afternoon. Just make sure you can fit the museum with the rest of your holiday schedule.

Location of the CA Academy of Science