California Academy of Sciences


Related Attractions



The California Academy of Sciences is a multifaceted scientific institution committed to leading-edge research, to educational outreach, and to finding new and innovative ways to engage and inspire the public.
The Academy's mission - to explore, explain and protect the natural world - extends to all corners of the institution; from a research expedition in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, to a teacher training program in a California classroom, to an interactive game on the museum exhibit floor.

The Academy is a single structure but contains multiple venues, including the aquarium, the planetarium, the natural history museum and the 4-story rainforest. In addition, there's a 3D theater, a lecture hall, a Naturalist Center, two restaurants, an adjacent garden and aviary, a roof terrace, and an Academy store.
The building also houses the Academy science labs and administrative offices, including an extensive library and scientific archive consisting of more than 26 million specimens.

The Academy is home to nearly 40,000 animals, more than six times the number at the old Academy.
Leafy sea dragons, anaconda, giant octopus, Amazonian piranhas, Borneo fruit bats, leaf-tailed geckos, tanagers, butterflies, and more!

Steinhart Aquarium
Steinhart Aquarium, the Living Collection, is home to 38,000 live animals from around the world, representing more than 900 separate species. Come nose-to-beak with an African penguin, watch sharks and stingrays cruise beneath your feet, check out the set of teeth on a piranha, and learn about the critical, life-sustaining role that water plays on Earth.

  • Philippine Coral Reef Gallery: At a depth of 25 feet and holding 212,000 gallons of water, the Philippine Coral Reef is one of the deepest exhibits of live corals in the world. It houses a broad range of aquatic life from the coral reefs and mangroves of the Philippines, one of the most diverse reef systems in the world. These animals include delicate soft and hard corals, blacktip reef sharks, stingrays, and more than 2,000 colorful reef fish.
  • Northern California Coast Gallery: The 100,000-gallon Northern California Coast tank replicates the habitats of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. A walkway along the surface allows visitors to smell the seawater and witness the filling and draining of tidepools as waves spill onto a small beach. A large, L-shaped underwater window reveals the eels, anemones, sea stars, rockfish, herring, sardines, and urchins that live beneath the water's surface.

Nearby tanks feature a giant sea bass and a giant Pacific octopus. There's also Discovery Tidepool where visitors can touch and examine a wide variety of ocean creatures.

  • Water Planet Gallery: The Water Planet exhibit is designed to be infinitely flexible. Dozens of tanks, from five to 5,000 gallons in size, contain an ever-changing variety of fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and other invertebrates.
  • Rainforests of the World Gallery: The Academy Rainforest is teeming with live animals — including free-flying birds and butterflies, exotic reptiles and amphibians, and a cave with bats. Climb through the layers of the rainforest and descend into a 100,000 gallon “Flooded Forest” tank, where freshwater fish cruise overhead.
  • African Hall Gallery: Chameleons, cichlids, a monitor lizard and penguins bring African Hall to life. Our most famous residents here are the colony of 20 African penguins. Their home is modeled after Boulders Beach in South Africa, a location where these penguins are found in the wild.
  • The Swamp Gallery: the Swamp contains Claude, an albino American alligator and several alligator snapping turtles. Visitors can view the animals from the surface as well as from an underwater window. A tank of fearsome alligator gars, which look like alligators but are actually fish, faces the Swamp. Don’t miss our venomous animals like the black widow spider or the eastern diamondback snake!

Morrison Planetarium
The Morrison Planetarium is the largest all-digital dome in the world with a 75-foot diameter projection screen tilted at a 30 degree angle. Thanks to immersive video technology, the dome seems to disappear when imagery is projected onto it, creating an experience more like flying than watching a movie.

The planetarium relies on scientific data to depict current discoveries with unprecedented accuracy. It also has the flexibility to present a wide variety of programming that is both educational and entertaining. Traditional star shows will be supplemented by live “tours of the Universe,” and programming will include live NASA feeds as well as broadcasts from Academy scientists in the field.

Kimball Natural History Museum
The exhibits of the Kimball Natural History Museum address two of the most significant and closely-intertwined scientific issues of our time: The evolution of life on Earth and the maintenance of life on Earth. The exhibits draw heavily from the Academy's 150-plus years of research, its 20 million specimens, and the expertise of its many world-class scientists and affiliates.

  • African Hal: Sixteen dioramas showcase a variety of mounted animals, including lions, zebras and baboons. Five brand new dioramas contain live animals from the aquarium, including a pancake tortoise, a white-throated monitor, and an entire colony of African penguins.
  • Islands of Evolution: This exhibit explores the remote islands of Madagascar and the Galapagos through the eyes of Academy scientists.

Examine specimens collected during past expeditions, such as Galapagos tortoise shells and Darwin's famous finches; use Wii gaming wands to collect virtual insects; and learn how islands function as living laboratories for evolution.

  • Altered State: The Altered State exhibit explores the dangerous effects of climate change on California's natural habitats and on the planet at large.

Measure the impact of everyday decisions on a carbon scale and share ideas for treading more lightly on the planet.

  • Science in Action: This interactive exhibit allows visitors to go beyond the headlines and gain in-depth information about recent scientific discoveries around the world.
  • Foucault Pendulum: Suspended from the ceiling next to Morrison Planetarium, it consists of a 235-pound brass ball attached to a 30-foot-long steel aircraft cable. The plane of the pendulum's swing appears to rotate 220 degrees every day. Since no rotational forces act on the pendulum, it must be the Earth beneath that is actually rotating.

Rainforests of the World
Step inside a living 4-story rainforest, where dripping water sets the beat for a symphony of croaking frogs and chirping birds. Peer into one of Borneo’s bat caves, meet chameleons from Madagascar, and climb into the tree-tops of Costa Rica to find free-flying birds and butterflies. Finally, descend in a glass elevator into the Amazonian flooded forest, where an acrylic tunnel allows you to walk beneath the catfish and arapaima that swim overhead.

The rainforest is contained within a spectacular 90-foot diameter glass dome. It's the largest spherical rainforest exhibit in the world.
Follow a spiraling path up through the exhibit, experience what it's like to actually walk in a real rainforest. Temperatures are maintained at 82-85 degrees Fahrenheit, and humidity is maintained at 75% or above using a unique misting system.

The rainforest is teeming with 1,600 live animals - including 250 free-flying birds and butterflies, 100 exotic reptiles and amphibians, and a cave full of bats. There's also 100,000 gallon "Flooded Forest" tank, where hundreds of tropical freshwater fish cruise overhead.
Each level represents a different rainforest around the world - Borneo, Madagascar, Costa Rica and the Amazon. Each level represents a distinct rainforest habitat containing its own special zoological garden.

Eighty skylights in the roof, supplemented with metal halide lights, enable the growth of lush, tropical plants found in various rainforests around the world.
Living plants include numerous trees - such as the Brazilian beautyleaf and West Indies mahogany, dozens of shrubs - including Theobrama cacao, the plant from which chocolate is made, and hundreds of flowering plants - from begonias and philodendrons to orchids and bromeliads.

Minimum Time Needed

Half Day


Monday - Saturday 9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

Admission Fee

Adult $29.95
Senior (ages 65 and over) $24.95
Student $24.95
Youth (ages 12-17) $24.95
Child (ages 4-11) $19.95
Ages 3 and under FREE


View Larger Map


Rate the place

rating: 0+x


Sorry, no images found attached to this page.

Flicker Gallery

{"module":"wiki\/image\/FlickrGalleryModule","params":{"tags":"California Academy of Sciences","sort":"relevance","tagMode":"all","perPage":"10"}}



Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License