San Francisco, California
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clock-o60 minutes (Approx.)
ticket-oPaper ticket


Enhance your visit to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco with this special behind-the-scenes tour to learn about the facility's animal life or its research focus. Plus, your tour grants you general admission, so you can also explore the attraction’s 4-story rain forest and planetarium at your own pace. Express entry to the Rain Forest exhibit and a reserved ticket to a show at Morrison Planetarium are also included.
  • Admission ticket at California Academy of Sciences, one of the largest public ‘green’ buildings in the US
  • Learn about the museum’s science research and visit a working lab
  • Receive a reserved seat at Morrison Planetarium, one of the world's largest digital planetariums
  • Gain express entry to the Rain Forests of the World exhibit
  • Small-group tour limited to 14 people ensures an intimate experience
Make your way to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, where the California Academy of Sciences is located. Breeze right past the long ticket lines, and head into this super-popular attraction that includes a planetarium and a 4-story rain forest. Enjoy express entry into the rain forest exhibit and a reserved seat at a Morrison Planetarium show. Feel free to explore all the exhibits the museum has to offer before or after your scheduled tour.

Academy Tour
On this insider-access tour, explore the museum from a science and research perspective. With your museum guide, learn about the institution's 160-year history and how its scientists are tackling critical questions about life on Earth. Visit the research collections and a working laboratory; get closer to the living roof; and see breathtaking geology specimens in the vault.


Viator Traveller's Reviews

51 reviews
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, Sep 2018

Definitely worth the time and money to see the behind-the-scene collection!

, Mar 2018

Word to the wise: book during work hours. Tell your boss you're sick or schedule some emergency dental work with a doctor who never keeps schedules, but going to the California Academy of Sciences for a Behind-the-Scenes Tour during work hours almost ensures that your tour group will be tiny, if not non-existent such as it was for me. Guided tours are awesome, but private guided tours are the best!

My tour guide was Lee from Minnesota. Lee led me up to the living roof as in roof that has plants living on it, not roof with a couch and TV and tacky pictures of in-laws first and onto a part of the roof where no one else could go where she showed me the whale bones they were bleaching for preservation. Apparently, the California Academy of Sciences is part of a beached whale watch group and will travel for beached whales up and down 500 miles of California coastline. Everyone needs a hobby, yeah?

From the roof, we went into the biology wing, where I let into both plant and mammal sample storage rooms. In 20 minutes' time, I saw and held samples from the original academy, saved by a scientist who ran into a burning building during the earthquake in 1906 and then walked through a hallway of ethanol-filled jars preserving mammals not for the squeamish.

All throughout the tour, Lee peppered me with information not only about the science I was witness to, but also the history of the building and the practice of the academy. Technically not a museum, the research done at the academy disqualifies it from such a classification. Rather than just be interested in preservation, the scientists there ask where, when, how, and why about every what.

To the person who watches a movie, play, or even magic trick and wonders, 'how,' this is the perfect tour. Five stars to Lee, five stars to the California Academy of Sciences, and five stars to the albino alligator who I'm pretty sure was named Frank.

, Jan 2018

Our guide for the behind-the-scenes tour of the California Academy of Sciences was extraordinary and very passionate about her work and the research work being performed at the Academy.

, Nov 2017

Lots of fun with kids

, Oct 2017

Were somewhat disappointed in this tour, we had skip the line tickets which we had to present to the special desk at the left of the building which was un attended, we were told basically tough join the ordinary queue which was very long, we then approached a Manager who told us there was no such thing as Skip the Line, that was a Company name and did not mean we could skip the line. When we did eventually gain access our ticket included a trip to the Rainforest Exhibit which was closed, so we paid for two things we did not get!

, Oct 2017

The aquarium tour was outstanding. We should have spent more than one day here!

, Sep 2017

This is absolutely the way to go. Not only do you get a behind the scenes tour, but you also get to skip the line for several attractions inside as well as skipping the line to enter the facility. This is the only way to do the California Academy of Sciences!

, Sep 2017

An excellent behind the scenes tour. I thoroughly recommend it, the place is awesome. I'll definitely go back next time I'm n the city

, Jul 2017

Best tour ever got so much more from the behind the scenes aspect. So much more information, insight, and fun for the whole family.

, Jul 2017

I cannot say enough good things about the tour because it did allow us to enter places that most people weren't allowed to and we were shown things that were not commonly seen in public. It was interesting, informative, fun, and exciting. The pass for the tour also allowed us to get 10 off most everything in the museum including photos, food, and merchandise. Best yet, it allowed us to skip the line for the Rainforest and shows at the Planetarium. It was definitely worth the cost.
The Academy itself is a lot of fun for both grown-ups and kids. The aquarium at the bottom level is most enchanting, and the butterfly garden in the Rainforest is mesmerizing. I definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to take a break doing the usual touristy stuff in San Francisco.

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