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“Unique Museum Experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA 94118 (Golden Gate Park)
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Ranked #11 of 317 Attractions in San Francisco
Type: Educational Sites, Natural History Museums, Science Museums, Observatories/ Planetariums, Aquariums, Museums
Activities: Arts and crafts, Leisure education
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The world’s only aquarium-planetarium-rainforest-living museum. Come nose-to-beak with penguins and parrots, watch sharks and sting rays cruise beneath your feet, and feel the spray of the California coast. Fly to Mars (and beyond the Milky Way!) from the safety of your planetarium seat, take a virtual safari in African Hall, or climb into the canopy of a living rainforest. Face your fears—and an albino alligator—inside the Swamp, and meet scientists as they return from research expeditions around the world. From the depths of a Philippine coral reef to the outer reaches of the Universe, it's all inside the California Academy of Sciences.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Elgin, IL
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Unique Museum Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2013

As a regular visitor to science museums around the country and one who has been particularly spoiled by the quality of museums in my home city of Chicago, I was interested to learn whether the California Academy of Science would live up to my expectations. Traveling with my 18-year-old daughter as well as my niece and her two preschool-age girls meant that we were looking for a museum that would entertain and educate a wide span of age levels. That tall order was more than met by the CAoS. Exhibits here, while not as extensive as the those in the Field Museum (Chicago), did cover a variety of science topics, including animal life, human evolution, earth science, planetary science and ecosystems. Many exhibits are hands-on (always a hit with small children) and the explanatory notations are easy to read, yet informative. The exhibits our group enjoyed the most - and which I have not seen before - were the penguin feeding and the walk-through rain forest. The rain forest was exceptional in that you walk upward through a changing canopy amid hundreds of butterflies. Everyone of us was delighted to see these beautifully delicate creatures fearlessly land on our hands and shoulders. This experience alone was worth the price of admission (which for my daughter and I was included in our San Francisco City Pass). The museum's location in Golden Gate Park is a beautiful setting for a stroll before or after visiting the exhibits, and parking is conveniently adjacent the museum and not unreasonably priced (for those accustomed to big city parking rates.)

Visited June 2013
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Dallas, Texas
16 reviews 16 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Not that great if you've been to many other museums/aquariums”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2013

Granted we never made it to the earthquake experience, but from the moment we strolled through the rain forest it was a let down. Just felt like I had seen all these things before and done better elsewhere. Maybe worth it if you have kids, live in the area, and want to kill a rainy afternoon. But definitely not worth the time/money if you are just in San Francisco for a few days.

Visited June 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
24 attraction reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“All in One Place for Science Geeks”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2013

There is an aquarium that is pretty nice; a planetarium, select your presentation wisely; the rain forest is well done - love the butterflies at the top; the natural history area is okay. Worth the admission. Plan to spend at least 4 hours if not more.

Visited June 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Florida, Florida
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Spent two great days”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2013

Fun, educational, entertaining science museum. Really, really well done from the living roof to the beautiful aquarium to wonderful restaurants. Had well informed volunteer staff who provided impromptu information sessions......we spoke to a gentlemen about evolution and my son learnt so much in that 20 minutes. Very impressed; cost was reasonable; layout was well done so that even on a busy Sunday did not feel crowded.

Visited June 2013
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Sydney, Australia
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

In three words, incredible incredible incredible. Be sure to get in early for the Planetarium. I visited on the Thursday night when drinks are served and you can meet the scientists. The Planetarium is the wow factor. Don't miss it!

Visited June 2013
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