Family Activities, Museums & Aquariums

California Academy of Sciences Review

California Academy of Sciences has been one of my favorite museums to bring my family to over the years, so below is my real life California Academy of Sciences Review.


Per the website, the Academy’s mission is to explore, explain, and sustain life. Every visit supports scientific research, environmental education, and sustainability innovation around the world. Academy has over 20 exhibits, from frolicking penguins and out-of-this-world planetarium shows to scientist chats, nature crafts, and sleepovers.


Address: 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118

Phone: (415) 379-8000


Directions & Parking:

What We Did

The Academy has a lot of exhibits, some permanent and some temporary. And, the exhibits are for a variety of ages. My kids liked the exhibits that featured animals, below are their favorite exhibits.

The Swamp – Alligator snapping turtles and colorful freshwater fish circle the albino American alligator known as Claude.

Steinhart Aquarium – It features 40,000 animals.

Osher Rainforest – Explore a living 4-story rainforest, home to free-flying tropical butterflies and birds.

Tusher African Hall – Explore our evolutionary history while surrounded by dioramas of African wildlife and splashing penguins. The Academy has educational shows where staff talk about the penguins, answer audience questions and feed them. Kids really liked this exhibit and it is free (no additional charge).

Morrison Planetarium – The planetarium shows projects the galaxy onto a 75-foot-diameter screen, the dome itself, resulting in a uniquely immersive experience.  Planetarium show passes are included in the price of admission and can be reserved at the planetarium pass pick-up desk across from the planetarium entrance. I believe my kids were too young to enjoy this exhibit, but I wanted to mention it for the parents as it is an exhibit I really enjoy. And, it’s free (no additional charge).

For more information about other exhibits, visit:


The Academy has a cafe and a restaurant, but we’ve only visited the cafe. It features “local, sustainable, and seasonal ingredients” in a grab-and-go format and has an area for indoor seated dining. And, the cafe serves additional menu items like pizza, mac ‘n cheese, and soups Friday through Sunday. We ate at the cafe and thought the food was good. Not sure if you can bring your own food to the museum, but you can call and ask. A link to more information about their food options:

The Academy is located in Golden Gate Park, so you could always bring your own food and have a picnic in the park weather permitting.

My Thoughts

Again, this is one of my favorite museums to bring my family too. Educational, interactive and is a nice day trip to get out of town (if you live outside of San Francisco like me). So, I would recommend to anyone looking for a family friendly activity in San Francisco.

San Francisco’s Japantown

After we visit the Academy, we always stop by San Francisco’s Japantown for shopping, dinner and dessert. There is even an arcade.

The fish styled ice cream cones above are from Uji Time Dessert, they’re really good. They are located in the “basement” of the indoor mall area. A link to their Yelp webpage:

San Francisco’s Japantown is in the heart of San Francisco and is the largest of the three remaining Japantown’s in the US. It features unique retail shopping, Japanese restaurants and dessert shops. See links below.





Note, the restaurants in the indoor mall area don’t have public bathrooms, so if you you’re eating in one of the restaurants on the first floor of the indoor mall there is a bathroom on the first floor, but it was not clean and not suited for families in my opinion when we visited it. But, there is a public bathroom on the second floor that is nicer and more family friendly.

Hope you enjoyed my real life California Academy of Sciences Review, have a great time visiting San Francisco!

My Other Family Activities Reviews

Museum & Aquarium Reviews

Beach Reviews

State Park Reviews

Fishing Reviews

Campground Reviews

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