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San Francisco Discovery Science Museum

Inside The Academy Of Sciences

Children’s Museum – the Bay Area Discovery Museum near San Francisco

With recent cutting-edge renovations, the Academy of Sciences now serves as a dynamic arrangement of planetary, aquatic, and historic specimens and exhibits that showcase a harmonious existence between earth, space, and the oceans. Visitors are treated to a unique journey into the past, present, and future of the world one that lasts a lifetime.

Pushing the envelope of sustainable architecture, the new Academy of Sciences uses the ingenious creativity of designer Renzo Piano a Pritzker Prize-winning architect behind the designs of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and New York Times Headquarters Building in Manhattan. Housed within a single structure, the new Academy offers many nooks and crannies to explore, including an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, 3D theater, lecture hall, two restaurants, gift shop, and relaxing adjacent garden and aviary. There is also a scientific archive boasting more than 20 million specimens, which accompanies an impressive library.

Is The California Academy Of Sciences Good For Adults

Even though the California Academy of Sciences sounds like it’s only for kids, you will find that it’s perfect for visitors of all ages. Adults will love the 4-story rainforest, the aquarium, and the Earthquake simulator.

The Behind the Scenes tours are also very interesting as they dive into the science behind the scenes. It’s great for kids, but I think it’s even better for adults.

Adults will also love the planetarium shows too. Make sure to pick up your tickets as soon as you arrive.

California Academy Of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences

Location within San Francisco CountyShow map of San Francisco CountyCalifornia Academy of Sciences Show map of CaliforniaCalifornia Academy of Sciences Show map of the United States

The California Academy of Sciences is a research institute and natural history museum in San Francisco, California, that is among the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing over 46 million specimens. The Academy began in 1853 as a learned society and still carries out a large amount of original research. The institution is located at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Completely rebuilt in 2008, the Academy’s primary building in Golden Gate Park covers 400,000 square feet . In early 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Academy of Sciences had around 500 employees and an annual revenue of about $33 million.

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Rainforests Of The World: Four

I love starting my visit with a trip inside the Osher four-story rainforest. This large enclosure includes free flying butterflies and birds that live in different rainforests around the world.

Some of the other creatures you’ll see in the rainforest range from snakes to poisonous frogs. But don’t worry – all the animals accept the birds and butterflies are kept in their own separate homes.

Your visit starts on the ground level. You will slowly make your way up the circular walkways to the top of the rainforest. Each level teaches you about the plants, animals and climates of a specific rainforest.

Here are just a few close ups I was able to get of the beautiful butterflies in the rainforest.

Once you reach the top level of the rainforest, you will be directed to the elevators and head down into the Steinhart Aquarium. But first – check for butterflies to make sure you don’t accidently take any with you!

More Details On What You’ll See Inside

Orange County

Before you get started with your visit, I recommend picking up a map. You’ll see several places near the entrance where you can pick one up. The museum is expansive, with many amazing exhibits, so this is the best way to make sure you visit everything.

Next to the maps, you will also find a ‘What’s Happening’ brochure. This has the times and locations for all of the free activities and events going on in the museum each day. These two items will help you make the most out of your visit.

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How Much Does It Cost To Park

Parking on the street is free.

The following are the rates to park in the garage:

  • $5.25 an hour on weekdays
  • $6.25 an hour on weekends
  • $17 for a full day

The garage opens at 7 a.m. daily and closes at 7 p.m. Friday – Wednesday. It’s open until 11 p.m. on Thursday, which is when the Nightlife event takes place.

Note: The California Academy of Sciences does not own this lot, so if you have any complaints take note of the information on the signs within the garage.

Museum Of Discovery And Science Blue Star Museum Day

Fri Jun 24, 2022 – Mon Sep 5, 2022– see all dates Various timesWebsite Add to calendar

The Museum of Discovery and Science salutes active military members and their families with free exhibit admission from Saturday, May 21 through Monday, September 5 .

Free admission is offered for active members of the United States Military, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, plus active duty, reservists, National Guardsman , U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, and NOAA Commissioned Corps. Free entry is granted to up to five family members.

Bring your Geneva Convention Common Access Card, DD Form 1173 ID card, or a DD form 1173-ID to the box office for tickets.

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Museum Of Discovery & Science

AJR Museum of Discovery and Science credit Visit Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale holds one of the most impressive science centers in all of Florida within its Art and Science District, the Museum of Discovery and Science.

This museum holds hundreds of interactive exhibits, daily science demonstrations, and countless educational and entertaining experiences within its doors. Your group can visit any of the 9 cockpit simulators, feel hurricane-force winds within the Storm Center, dig for fossils next to the Megalodon, or visit the AutoNation IMAX 3D Theater, the only IMAX in Southern Florida. This theater holds 300 people and features the largest screen in the state! You can watch major blockbusters here, as well as fun educational adventure films.

The Museum of Discovery and Science sees over 450,000 visitors annually, 90,000 of the students and educators. Since it has first opened in 1992, it has seen just over 8 million visitors! Here are some of the things these guests get to see, and you will get to experience, during the visit:

  • Otters at Play

California Academy Of Sciences Parking

Exploratorium: The Museum of Science in San Francisco

You have a few parking options. Both options fill up early in the morning, so make sure to arrive as early as you can for parking.

Street Parking: Some of the streets in and around the museum are car free. Street parking is available in certain places along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and on Nancy Pelosi Drive.

All of these are an easy walk to the museum, but it can be hard to find a spot. Also, parking is only for 3 to 4 hours in most of these spots. Make sure to pay attention to the signs as they could decrease the amount you can park here at any time.

Parking Garage: There is also a large parking garage under the museum. You can enter in two locations:

  • On Fulton at 10th Avenue
  • Music Concourse at MLK, Jr. Drive.

There are a few wheelchair accessible spots in this garage that are right next to the elevator.

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California Academy Of Sciences: Best For Nature And Science Lovers

Architect Renzo Pianos landmark environmentally-sensitive building houses 40,000 weird and wonderful animals in a four-story rainforest and a split-level aquarium, set beneath a Living Roof of California wildflowers. Add in a cutting-edge planetarium and natural history displays, and you have all the ingredients for a thoroughly engrossing day out. The Academy has been pushing non-stuffy science since 1853, but the building is like something from the 25th century.

Today, butterflies alight on visitors in the glass Osher Rainforest Dome, penguins paddle around a see-through tank in the African Hall, and Claude the albino alligator stalks the mezzanine swamp. Glimpse infinity in the Morrison Planetarium and check out the Giants of Land and Sea exhibit, where you can brave an earthquake simulation, virtually climb a giant redwood tree and get lost in a fog room.

Children will enjoy the basement Steinhart Aquarium, where visitors can duck inside a glass bubble to enter an Eel Garden and pet starfish in the hands-on Discovery Tidepool.

Chinese Historical Society Of America: Best For Personal Stories Of Immigration

Visitors can picture what it was like to be Chinese in San Francisco during the gold rush, transcontinental railroad construction and Beat heyday in this excellent museum, originally built as Chinatowns YWCA in 1932. Historians have unearthed some fascinating artifacts relating to the Chinese history of San Francisco, including 1920s silk qipao dresses, WWII Chinatown nightclub posters, and Frank Wongs Chinatown miniatures.

Exhibits feature personal insights and Chinese American perspectives on national milestones in history including the Civil Rights movement, the Cold War, and the Chinese Exclusion Act, which officially excluded Chinese immigrants from US citizenship and civil rights from 1882 to 1943.

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Getting To The California Academy Of Sciences

The San Francisco Science Museum is located on the eastern side of Golden Gate Park. There are several options that will get you to here including public transportation and driving.

If you are taking public transportation, your best options are the N-Judah or 5-Fulton. Both drop you off just a few blocks from the museum entrance.

Environmental Design Of New Building

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The design architect for the museum replacement project was Renzo Piano. His design was awarded the Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence for the Americas region in 2008, as well as the Holcim Award Silver for sustainable construction projects in the North America region in 2005. One critic praised the building as a “blazingly uncynical embrace of the Enlightenment values of truth and reason”, and a “comforting reminder of the civilizing function of great art in a barbaric age”.

The new building emphasizes environmentally friendly design, in keeping with the Academy’s focus on ecological concerns and environmental sustainability. It received Platinum certification under the LEED program. This project was featured on the Discovery ChannelExtreme Engineering series in 2006 and on the National Geographic ChannelMan-Made series in July 2008.

The new building includes an array of environmentally friendly features:

  • Produces 50 percent less waste water than previously
  • Recycles rainwater for irrigation

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Legion Of Honor: Best For Museum

A museum as eccentric and illuminating as San Francisco itself, the Legion of Honour showcases a wildly eclectic collection spanning Monet’s water lilies and John Cage soundscapes, ancient Iraqi ivories and the counterculture comics of Robert Crumb. Upstairs are blockbuster shows of work from old masters and Impressionists, but dont miss the Legions Achenbach Foundation of Graphic Arts collection, which covers 90,000 works on paper, from drawings by Rembrandt to the graphic designs of Ed Ruscha.

The Legions setting rivals its art. There are dazzling views of the Pacific and trails lead to the Lands End Lookout with its arresting views of the Golden Gate. On a warm day, stroll on to the ruined Sutro Baths below the lookout, once San Francisco’s most stylish bathing area.

How Long Should I Plan For My Visit

A visit to the California Academy of Sciences can last anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. I recommend setting aside a minimum of 2 to 3 hours for your visit.

It includes 4 “museums” under one roof, so you really will get a full day of fun here. When I say “museums,” it just means four different exhibit themes. They are all large and could be museums on their own, so they often promote them as if it’s four museums in one.

You might spend an hour just in the Steinhart Aquarium. You might spend another hour in the Kimball Natural History Museum. The rainforest usually has a line and it might take you 10 to 15 minutes of waiting and then about 20 or more minutes to explore.

Your time there will also depend on the timing of your tickets for the Morrison Planetarium. The tickets are set for a specific time, so the earlier you reserve them in advance, the more choices you will have on your visit here.

If you have enough time, you could spend your entire day inside this San Francisco science museum.

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Where Science Is Kids Play

Fresno Discovery Center

Video Courtesy of Fresno State, Fall 2019, Marketing 100S – Jeff Finley

Come Explore!

Cant Wait to See You Here

Fresno Discovery Center is a science center for the mind where visitors of all ages can discover, explore and create. Education involves active participation which is why we offer a wide array of events and exhibitions that range from fun to educational, targeting both adult audiences and the entire family. We invite you to peruse our upcoming schedule and plan a special day with us.

How To Get Here From Union Square

Academy of Science Museum San Francisco

Head to the underground Powell Muni Station .

Jump on the N Light Rail and take it to the stop at 9th and Irving. Walk north into the park. Stay on the street you entered on until you see Music Concourse Drive. Take a right here and you will see the museum on your right about a block away.

This walk takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

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Bay Area Discovery Museum

Located at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge on the Sausalito side, the Bay Area Discovery Museum prides itself on its scientific credentials, with its STEM exhibits that are âinquiry-drivenâ and backed by research. But the family-friendly museum in also offers a lot of fun: Set on 7.5 acres in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the museum features interactive experiences geared toward kids as young as six months and as old as 10 years.

The museum houses seven different zones, including the 2.5-acre outdoor Lookout Cove and the creation-ready Art Studio, where kids can play with 3-D printers and laser cutters. The studio and its programs were developed with a belief that children are capable of the kinds of complex learning that people often reserve for middle school, high school, or even college kids. Of course, the younger ones love the result. The museum also hosts museum educator-led Pop-Up Programs, six daily drop-in activities, such as the hands-on Maker Labs, where kids can cultivate their engineering and building skills. Toddlers age 0â3 have their own series of Pop-Up Programs.

Recurring events include the annual STEM Superhero Festival, which promotes how STEM skills can be used solve everyday challenges. And every Halloween, the museum throws its Goblin Jamboree festival that features an Inventorsâ Workshop, Pumpkin Operations, and more.

Insider tip: The museum is closed on Mondays, and the hours of operation on other days varies.

How To Get Here From Fisherman’s Wharf

This route includes two buses that will take you within blocks of this San Francisco museum.

Bus #1: Pick up the 49 heading toward the Mission at the corner of North Point Street and Jones Street. Take this to the corner of Van Ness and McAllister.

Bus #2: You will then walk across McAllister Street to pick up the #5 Fulton on the northwest corner of this intersection.

Take this second bus to the stop at Fulton and 10th Avenue. You will then enter the park and walk until you reach John F. Kennedy Drive. Take a left on JFK Drive and then a right when you reach Music Concourse Drive. At this point, you should see the museum about a block away. There should also be signs at this intersection.

The walk takes less than 10 minutes from the bus stop.

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The Academy Is Open Daily

We want to make sure you have all the info you need to plan a visit that’s as safe as it is fun. Explore this page for an overview of what to see and do at the museum, and check out our know-before-you-go page to reserve tickets, view health and safety information, and browse an extensive FAQ.

We can’t wait to see you soon!

Two new exhibits are ready for you to exploreand nearly 40,000 animals are eager to reunite with you! For exhibit update details, please view the “Exhibit closures and reservations” section of the know-before-you-go FAQ.

Closing January 23! SharksSink your teeth into Sharks, an out-of-water exhibit created by Grande Experiences and discover the many roles that sharks play to contribute to a healthy ocean ecosystem. With life-size models, rare fossils, and an immersive cinematic projection gallery, experience these awe-inspiring creatures like you never have before.

Book a VIP TourExplore the secrets of the Academy on this 45-minute tour. Examine rare specimens in our collections, be dazzled in our private gem vault, head off the beaten track atop our Living Roof, and enjoy 10% off at Academy stores and restaurants, VIP entrance to the rainforest and Shake House, and reserved planetarium seating. For ages 8 and up. . $24.95/$19.95 members.

Steinhart Aquarium In San Francisco


The Steinhart Aquarium is another amazing experience inside this San Francisco science museum. You walk directly under the water tunnel – where you can take a seat and watch guys like this one swim right next to you.

After you take a few minutes to rest, you can then head into the heart of the aquarium. Here you will find everything from jellyfish to water snakes.

This is the first tank of fish you will see when you enter the Steinhart Aquarium SF.

The aquarium houses more than 40,000 live animals including almost 9,000 species!

The jellyfish tank is another one of my personal favorites. There are colored lights below and the lights change periodically. This makes the jellyfish easy to watch as they float around their tank.

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