Explore the wonders of the natural world at one of San Francisco's most unique attractions, the California Academy of Sciences, reopening to the public on Oct. 23.

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October 14, 2020

What to Expect When Visiting the California Academy of Sciences

One of San Francisco's most singular attractions, the California Academy of Sciences, is ready to welcome you back! Donors and members may visit the Academy beginning on Oct. 13, with general public admission resuming on Oct. 23. This incredible space, full of fascinating exhibits about our natural world, has been diligently preparing for visitors like you. Find out everything you need to know about planning your visit to the Academy.

Book Your Timed Tickets in Advance

All Academy guests will need to reserve timed-entry tickets in advance. There is no time limit for your visit, but the average guest spends approximately three hours exploring the Academy. Walkup ticket sales are not available at this time. Remember: the further in advance you buy, the more you’ll save!

Health and Safety Measures

When visiting the Academy, remember the Three W's:

  • Wear your mask. All guests ages 3 and up must wear one at all times, inside and outside.
  • Wash your hands. Sanitizer dispensers will be placed throughout the Academy.
  • Watch your distance. Maintain six feet of space between your party and other guests and Academy staff.

To allow everyone the space to fully enjoy the Academy, daily capacity will be limited to 25% of their pre-closure maximum. (Another reason to buy your tickets early!)

Exhibits and spaces with a high degree of interactivity or where it’s hard to maintain physical distance will remain temporarily closed. These include the Morrison Planetarium, Naturalist Center, Curiosity Grove, and Discovery Tidepool. Additionally, some hands-on exhibit elements will be modified or disabled for your safety.

Academy staff will be cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces per CDC guidelines throughout the day, including exhibits, restrooms, railings, and seating areas. The entire building will be cleaned and disinfected every evening after closing.

Finally, be honest about your own health before visiting the Academy. If you or any member of your party answers "yes" to any question in the Academy's health screening, stay home that day to protect the health of other guests and Academy staff.

Amenities Available to Visitors

The Terrace Restaurant will be open, serving a variety of grab-and-go options. All seating will be moved outdoors and placed six feet apart in the Academy's West Garden. The Academy Café, which is indoors, will reopen at a later date. Guests are welcome to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy in the East Garden.

The Academy Store will be open, although hours may vary. The shopping experience will be modified for your safety.

Cash will be accepted at all points of sale inside the Academy except locker rental, but cashless payments are preferred whenever possible.

New Exhibits

In addition to its many outstanding permanent exhibitions, the Academy will be debuting two new exhibits after reopening.

  • Venom: Fangs, Stingers, and Spines will allow visitors to encounter an eye-catching array of venomous species in the Academy's all-new aquarium exhibit.
  • BigPicture: Natural World Photography offers an awe-inspiring collection of the best nature, wildlife, and conservation photography taken this year.

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