California Academy of Sciences

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California Academy of Sciences EntranceThe California Academy of Sciences is a natural history museum located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. With over 26 million specimens and a wide range of exhibits, you’re sure to learn something new. On average, people spend three or four hours exploring this fabulous museum. In addition, the California Academy of Sciences is part of the San Francisco CityPass, which is a great way to save money on the area’s top attractions. Continue reading for the best things to see and do.

Steinhart Aquarium & Swamp

California Academy of Sciences Albino Alligator
Claude the albino alligator.

California Academy of Sciences SnakeThe Steinhart Aquarium and Swamp are home to almost 40,000 animals and 900 species. Here you’ll find the magnificent Philippine Coral Reef and California Coast ecosystems. However, my favourite area is the Swamp. This exhibit is home to Claude, an albino alligator. You can get an aerial view from the main floor and underwater from the basement. He’s not always moving, but there are gigantic snapping turtles and fish to keep things interesting.

Tusher African Hall

Tusher African HallThe Tusher African Hallway has a lot to offer. Here you will see impressive dioramas, some of which were designed back in the 1930s! The most popular attraction in this area is the colony of African Penguins. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get pictures of these playful creatures. The glass is usually foggy and riddled with tiny handprints. Either way, you’ll want to stop by for a quick look.

Osher Rainforest

Osher RainforestThis four-storey rainforest is a favourite for most visitors. Only a certain amount of people are allowed into this attraction at a time. Therefore, long lines tend to form outside the dome. It’s definitely worth the wait! Once inside, you’ll see a wide range of tropical plants and animals. There will also be plenty of beautiful butterflies fluttering around the rainforest. Last but not least, look below and experience a bird’s eye view of the 100,000-gallon Amazonian tank.

The Living Roof

The Living RoofThe California Academy of Sciences is so full of things to see, even the roof is an attraction. A blanket of plants provides for great insulation, allowing the building to achieve a high level of heating and cooling efficiency. The roof is equipped with weather stations, which helps maintains an appropriate temperature for the Osher Rainforest. Not to mention, it just looks really cool and photogenic.

Morrison Planetarium & Conclusion

Next up, we have the Morrison Planetarium which features a panoramic video across a 75-foot dome. These showings are extremely popular, meaning you’ll have to reserve a ticket (it’s free). This is done at the planetarium kiosk and should be your first endeavour at the California Academy of Sciences. Come back at the allotted time and enjoy the show, which is narrated by the legendary George Takei.

I hope that I’ve inspired you to visit the California Academy of Sciences. It’s an amazing experience for all ages and is truly on the best natural history museums in the world. In addition, the location is perfect and allows guest to handily explore the beautiful and expansive Golden Gate Park.

Thanks for reading my California Academy of Sciences blog post. For more information on San Franciso, please visit my city guide!


California Academy of Sciences




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