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Sf Science Museum Thursday Night

Take An Alcatraz Night Tour

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Alcatraz is one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco, but not that many people know that you can actually visit it at night!

Evening tours depart twice daily: 5:55 pm & 6:30 pm, Monday-Thursday.

In addition to offering guided tours from specially trained National Park Rangers, Alcatraz also hoses talks and lectures in the evenings.

Tip: The Alcatraz Night Tours tend to sell out in advance due to their limited availability, so be sure to book your spot in advance!

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!

A Local’s Tips For A Fun Experience

Covid note: the Academy of Sciences is open.

Visitors need to reserve timed tickets for entry. See Academy tickets to book or more info.

The California Academy of Sciences is an enormously popular San Francisco science museum, housing a Planetarium, Aquarium and Natural History Museum, as well as a well-respected research community of scientists.

In 2008, the beloved old museum was torn down and an award-winning, “green” building was built to house the Academy and its exhibits.

The new building has been massively hyped and has become very popular , but there are many who miss the old museum. Nevertheless, the new one has a lot to offer and plenty of interesting things to see.

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Celebrate Sf’s Amazing Culinary History

San Francisco is known worldwide for its high quality and a vast variety of cuisines.

During your visit to the Bay, you have the opportunity to visit some of the best ethnic and international food in the world.

Some of the most popular cuisines that every foodie should try are Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and Mexican.

Learn more about the best international dishes in San Francisco in our full post here.

If you’d like to know more about the history of some of these neighborhoods, join us on our North Beach/Little Italy Tour or Chinatown Tour.

California Academy Of Sciences Parking


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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How To Get Here From Bart

It’s really easy to get here from BART.

From the East Bay: If you are coming from the East Bay, take BART to the Montgomery Street Station. Here, you will transfer over to the N Light Rail Line of Muni. Take this all the way to the stop at 9th Avenue and Irving. This will drop you off south of Golden Gate Park in the Inner Sunset District.

After you exit the train, walk north toward the park. Once you enter the park, you will be on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Take this to Music Concourse Drive and take a right. You will see the museum on your right.

The walk takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

From the Peninsula or South Bay: Take BART to the Glen Park Station. Here you will transfer to the 44 Bus at Bosworth and Diamond Streets.

Exit on 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way. You will then enter the park, walk along Martin Luther King Drive and take a right at Music Concourse Drive. You will then see this San Francisco science museum on your right.

Inside The Academy Of Sciences

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.

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Sightseeing Tours At Night

There are 3 bus companies and 2 segway companies currently offering night tours of San Francisco.

Both bus tours are fairly similar in terms of the route they take and the neighborhoods they visit, but they differ slightly in regards to the duration and price.

You could also read our full blog post on San Francisco bus tours, including a section on night tours.

Skyline Sightseeing

A live guide narration of San Francisco’s most beloved sights. The bus visits the Financial District, Chinatown, North Beach, Nob Hill, Alamo Square, and Embarcadero.

Reviews are extremely positive for this tour, with many praising both the driver and the guide.

  • Cost – $31|adults and $21|Child
  • Duration – 1.5 hours

Big Bus Tours

This open-top bus tour departs at Fisherman’s Wharf and ends at Union Square. Enjoy views of Grace Cathedral, Golden Gate Bridge, AT& T Park, Treasure Island, and many more sights.

Reviews are generally very positive. Many praise the guides for being funny and informative.


This 2-hour tour may be more expensive than the others, but it is sure to be an experience you wont forget.

The tour bus is a 1970s Volkswagen Bus, decked out as it would have been in the era of hippies.

The tour is a very small group of just 6 guests so youll get to know one another as you get to know the city.

Best of all, because this is a small vehicle, you will get to drive down Lombard Street, the curviest street in the world!

Night Segway Tours

Restaurants And Rooftop Bars

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San Francisco has several dozens of fantastic restaurants and bars, but nothing quite beats drinking cocktails on a rooftop with a beautiful view.

These are some of our favorite places to grab a drink outside.

El Techo de Lolinda – A Mexican bar that offers spicy cocktails made of mezcal, honey, lime, and chipotle bitters. They have large umbrellas to shade you from the sun, as well as heating lamps to warm you up during the winter.

Their food is also excellent, so be sure to come hungry!Dirty Habits – Located on the 5th floor of Hotel Zelos, this little cocktail bar is a real hidden gem.

The decor is simple yet elegant, featuring candles and string lights. Food and cocktails both come highly recommended by visitors.

Jones – Located in the heart of the Tenderloin, one of the trendiest neighborhoods in San Francisco, is this simple rooftop bar.

Though you won’t be able to see the waterfront or Golden Gate Bridge from here due to the tall buildings surrounding it, Jones does allow you to enjoy watching the action happening on the streets below.

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Theres something about hanging out in a museum after dark that makes you feel a little rebellious. Were used to visiting when we have the luxury of a day off, so learning something new after weve put in a full day at the home/office? Thats a different kind of fun.

A unique experience for the after-work crowd is what the California Academy of Sciences had in mind when it launched NightLife in 2009 after it opened its new building in Golden Gate Park, says Jeanette Peach, the museums communications manager.

NightLife is a series of adults-only, science-minded events that run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Thursday night, when people who may not be able to visit during the day get a chance to see all Cal Academy has to offer.

NightLife resumes its regular schedule starting this Thursday with Museum at Night, events that include DJs, outdoor bars and access to museum attractions that include the four-story Rainforest, where birds, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians live . Visitors will also find the 212,000-gallon Philippine Coral Reef tank, one of the largest living coral reef displays in the world, Peach says. Another benefit of visiting by night? NightLife ticket prices are lower than what youd pay by day.

Here are a few events to keep on your radar:

California Academy Of Sciences Highlights

Inside the walls are two huge domes housing the Planetarium and the Rainforest, and a large, glassed-enclosed box containing some plastic chairs and tables .

The popular African Hall from the old museum was preserved and included in the new museum.

The Steinhart Aquarium is in the basement, and what’s left of the Natural History Museum exhibits are arranged mostly around the edges of the main floor.

Best time to go

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Thursday Nights At Sfmoma

This contemporary and modern art museum is open until 9 pm Thursday evenings. An opportunity for those who want to visit their favorite exhibit or pieces after work, and those whod enjoy a night stroll through the galleries. Private guided tours are available and the restaurant stays open.

151 3rd Street

California Academy Of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. The ...

California Academy of Sciences is a science museum and educational institution that offers late-night entrance every Thursday from 6-10 pm.

Fascinating talks on science, as well as entertaining live music performances, are featured. You must be 21 years or older to attend.

  • Hours – 6 pm – 10 pm on Thursdays
  • Cost – $15 per person

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Visit The Exploratorium After Dark

The Exploratorium After Dark is often rated as one of the best things that you can do in San Francisco at night.

The popular science museum opens its doors on the first Thursday of every month to adults only from 6 pm – 10 pm.

Enjoy a drink while you explore their pitch-black dome to a fog bridge, a large-scale kaleidoscope, dazzling light displays, mind-bending mirrors, and more!

Tickets to the Exploratorium are included for free with more than one San Francisco tourist attraction discount pass, allowing you to save some money on admission.

Meet In Front Of The Iconic Ferry Building

Start your evening at the beautiful Ferry Building. This 100-year-old terminal-turned-public-food-market is every foodies dream, with local favorites Blue Bottle Coffee, Miette Patisserie, and Fort Point Beer Company topping the list. Then stroll north along the Embarcadero, taking in the Bay views.

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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.

Behind The Scenes Tours

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If you are looking for a more personalized experience, the San Francisco science museum also offers two “behind the scenes” tours. These tickets also allow you to skip the line when you arrive.

Both are small group tours. Each ticket also includes reserved seats to a show at the planetarium and express entry into the rainforest.

The first tour is the “Academy Tour” that takes you on a one-hour tour of the museum’s lab. On this tour, you can also explore a collection of rare gems and learn more about the museum’s history and scientists. Learn more about this tour and ticket availability.

The second tour is the “Aquarium Tour”. On this tour, you’ll head behind the scenes and learn how the animals are cared for at the San Francisco science museum. This is also a one-hour tour with details on the aquarium’s history and about the animals. Find out more about this tour and ticketing information.

Both are a great way to experience the museum in a slightly different way.

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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.

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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Getting There And Parking

The California Academy of Sciences is located on MLK Drive in Golden Gate Park, across from the de Young Museum. See map below.

The 5-Fulton bus and the N-Judah streetcar will bring you within a couple of blocks of the museum.

Parking can usually be found on MLK Drive within reasonable walking distance from the museum. On busy days , parking is trickier. You’ll have to park farther away on MLK or JFK Drives, or try the parking spots around Stow Lake nearby . Outside the park is much tougher.

This section of JFK Drive is closed to cars on Sundays, and is also closed on Saturdays in the summer .

There’s parking garage under the de Young Museum, a bit expensive , but not terrible for a few hours. There is one entrance on 10th Avenue at Fulton, on the north side of the park, and another just off MLK Drive near the Academy of Sciences.

San Francisco Museum Nightlife

California Academy of Science Museum [San Francisco] (With ...

A few years back, some forward-thinking museum administrators across the country sought creative ways to improve foot traffic at their facilities and create new revenue streams. Many museums, public aquaria and other cultural institutions had been available to rent for wedding receptions, corporate events and other after-dark soirees for years but administrators sought a younger and more regular clientele for their nighttime events. They began offering regular weeknight gatherings, featuring DJs, cash bars, cool lighting and live performances to attract their audience and keep them coming back on a regular basis. In San Francisco, a small handful of museums offer regular weekly after-hours events that are definitely worth checking out for residents and visitors alike. These include:

So if youre looking for a truly unique San Francisco experience that will allow you to see and experience these cultural institutions in a whole new way, check them out during the day, then go back at night and have a drink, a bite and perhaps a dance or two. These events may not be good for the whole family, but they are excellent places to take a date or perhaps meet someone dateable. Hours and admission prices vary by event and facility, so check out each facilitys website and get ready to have a really cool experience!

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