It's an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum, a rainforest and it's the most popular museum in San Francisco with 40,000 live animals, all under one living roof in a modern, leading edge space. From penguin feedings to coral reef dives, the California Academy of Sciences works hard at delivering some of the finest exhibits in the world, in one of the coolest spaces in the world. (Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano.)
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The folks at the California Academy of Sciences must stay up late at nights to come up with all the cool exhibits and activities. Take the live Penguin cams for example (there are 3 of them) where you can watch the penguins swim, flirt, and nest. Or the Shark Lagoon high-definition webcam so sharp that you can see every detail on the 19 species of sharks, rays, and bony fish.
There are hundreds, thousands, of colorful butterflies, birds, snakes and frogs at the four-story planetarium, one of the largest in the world, right there, inside the California Academy of Sciences.
Start on the ground level and make your way up the circular walkway to the top of the 50-foot-high rainforest. At each level you learn about the microclimate of the specific rainforest. At the top level of the rainforest, head over to the elevators for the Steinhart Aquarium.
It's one of the most biologically diverse aquariums in the world. It's also the world's deepest living coral reef tank, at 25 feet, holding 212,000 gallons of water. The Philippine Coral Reef tank houses a broad range of aquatic life from the coral reefs and mangroves. At the Steinhart Aquarium, you can walk directly under the water tunnel to see the fishes swimming overhead.
The awe-inspiring dome displays (75-foot high) of the Morrison Planetarium are some of the most accurate digital universes ever created.
From faraway galaxies to planet Earth, you experience the cosmos in a new way. The planetarium show offers cutting-edge scientific data, stunning visualizations with the latest findings, discoveries, and theories about our Universe.
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These two exclusive tours get you behind the scenes at the California Academy of Sciences, providing a richer experience and VIP privileges. Both include VIP tickets so you can skip the long line when you arrive. Both tours are small-group affairs and include reserved seats at the Morrison Planetarium show as well as Express Entry into Rainforests of the World.
Explore the world's greenest museum from a scientist's perspective with your trusty museum guide at your side. Go behind the scenes and see how the living roof works and see breathtaking rare gems that are locked in the vault.
See how biologists care for the 38,000 animals that live in the museum — including butterflies, fish, penguins and an albino alligator. Learn about how the food is prepared for the animals in the kitchen and see how the complex water filtration system works to keep the large aquarium in top top shape.
On most Thursday evenings the California Academy of Science throws an after-hours soirée where adults can gather, enjoy a cocktail or two and soak up the museum vibe.
Upgrade to a VIP tour and you'll arrive with an express entry ticket to enjoy a few free cocktails before your behind-the-scenes one hour tour. The VIP option also includes a reserved pass for the 8:30 PM planetarium show. Be there when science + cocktails converge.
San Francisco Museums
• Asian Art Museum…
• de Young Museum…
• Museum of Modern Art…
• Academy of Sciences…
• The Legion of Honor…
• The Exploratorium…
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