55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
Regular Hours:


9:30 am – 5:00 pm


11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:


8:30 – 9:30 am


10:00 – 11:00 am

The Academy will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Planetarium will be closed Sep. 22, 23, 24

What's New at the Academy 

No two visits to the Academy are the same. Check this page regularly for announcements of new exhibits, attractions, special events, and other updates.

Sharktober programs start October 1, 2012

September 19, 2012

Sharktober is back by popular demand—complete with shark experts, real specimens, and a new “shark & seek” scavenger hunt. Join us as we spotlight a group of animals that ruled the ancient seas and still exist today.  Read on for a schedule of shark-themed programs from October 1-31, 2012, plus special activities for Member Appreciation Month.


Daily at 12:00 pm
Journey through the Academy and learn about the sharks, tortoises, and dinosaurs that first appeared millions of years ago. Meet by the pendulum in the east pavilion.


Join us for special presentations by renowned Academy scientists and special guests, with a month-long focus on sharks and their place in the web of life.  Takes place at Science in Action in the east pavilion; space is limited.

Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary
  • Dr. Rebecca Johnson, California Academy of Sciences
    Saturday, Oct. 6 & Nov. 3 at 12:30 pm
    Learn about life in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary including its active wildlife, diverse history, and ongoing research and protection efforts.
  • Dr. Dave Ebert, Moss Landing Marine Lab
    Saturday, Oct. 13 at 12:30 pm
    Dave and his research team recently discovered eight new shark species on a recent expedition to the southern Indian Ocean.
  • Dr. John McCosker, California Academy of Sciences
    Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 12:30 pm
    White sharks are a rare but unforgettable experience for any California surfer that has encountered one.   Join us for a special presentation from Dr. McCosker on the natural history of white sharks and their encounters with humans.
  • David McGuire, Sea Stewards
    Saturday, Oct. 27 at 12:30 pm
    Learn how David, Sea Stewards’ founder, uses his work as a marine biologist, ocean advocate, and filmmaker to study local shark populations and pursue shark conservation efforts.

Open Daily at the Naturalist Center
Explore the world of sharks through specimens, games, and puzzles, and then join us for one of our weekly Naturalist Center programs with a special focus on sharks:

Blacktip reef shark
  • Shark Specimen Spotlight
    Thursday, Oct. 4, 11, & 18
    at 11:30 am
  • Science Story Adventures
    (ages 4-8)

    Sunday, Oct. 7 & 21, at 2:30 pm
  • Naturalist Center Crafts
    Fridays from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Wild & Crafty (ages 3-5)
    Monday, Oct. 1 at 10:00 am: Make a shark craft from a paper plate
    Monday, Oct. 15 at 10:00 am: Create an open-mouthed shark from an envelope
    Monday, Oct. 29 at 10:00 am: Make a 3-D paper shark
  • Little Learners Lab (ages 3-5)
    Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 10:00 am: Learn about filter feeding in sharks.
    Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 10:00 am: Learn about a special sensory organ sharks have for feeling vibrations in the water.


Open Daily
The Early Explorers Cove will highlight sharks with a selection of specimens, books, puzzles and hands-on activities all month long and host shark-themed editions of Saturday Safari on Saturday, Oct. 6, 20, & 27 at 11:00 am (in African Hall).

October 4, 6:00-10:00 pm
Sharktoberfest returns to NightLife, celebrating two perennial favorites again this year: sharks and beer!  Taste your way through the beer garden in African Hall, featuring brews from local favorites like 21st Amendment Brewery, Almanac Beer Co., Anchor Brewing, Drake’s Brewing, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Pacific Brewing Laboratory, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, and others.  Mingle amongst robot sharks and catch Capacitor performing an excerpt from Okeanos.  Hear about newly discovered shark species, shark tracking, and current research and conservation efforts from Academy research associates and shark experts Dave Ebert and David McGuire.  Plus, see specimens from the Academy’s research collections and library including jaws, shark tooth tools, and photos from 1980 of “Sandy,” the first white shark to survive in captivity. Music by Sleazemore of Lights Down Low fame. NightLife tickets are $12, $10 for Academy members.

Receive up to 4 free general admission tickets when you join or renew your Academy membership during the month of October.  Plus, don’t miss out on a suite of special shark-themed activities and offers just for Academy members, including shark feedings at the Lagoon, shark cookie decorating for the entire family, docent tours, and more.  Visit the Membership page for details.

Happy Birthday, Claude!

September 12, 2012

Claude, the Academy’s beloved albino alligator, turns 17 years old on Saturday, September 15. Help him celebrate by participating in one of this weekend’s alligator-themed activities:


Naturalist Center Craft
Friday, September 14
Location: Naturalist Center
Make a Claude hat in honor of the albino alligator’s 17th birthday.

Swamp Discovery: Then and Now
Daily at 3:30 pm
Location: The Swamp
Learn about the wetland ecosystems of the Southeast United States and their hidden value. Listen to sounds of amazing swamp inhabitants, whose relatives have existed for millions and millions of years. We’ll follow the life of the American alligator from hatchling chirps to the booming bellows of mature adults, all beneath the moss-draped limbs of a bald cypress.


Meet & Greet with Claude Character
Saturday, September 15
Keep an eye out for Claude the albino alligator character roaming the museum, and wish him a happy 17th birthday in-person.

Saturday Safari: Happy Birthday Claude!
Saturday, September 15 at 11:00 am
Location: African Hall
Claude fans of all ages are invited on a virtual journey to the swamps and wetlands of the southeastern United States, to learn about the native habitat of American alligators. The family-friendly program includes a reading of I Thought I Saw an Alligator, by Beth Erlund, and a one-of-a-kind “Feed Claude” beanbag-toss game for young biologists-in-training.

Learn more about alligators in the Naturalist Center
Friday-Saturday, September 14-15
Visit the Naturalist Center to learn more about American alligators and their relatives in honor of Claude’s birthday. Enjoy swamp-themed puzzles and games, and discover the differences between alligators and crocodiles by examining skull specimens up close.

New “Jurassic in the Park” programs

September 4, 2012


This fall, sink your teeth into new “Jurassic in the Park” programs and events at the Academy, exploring the world of prehistoric creatures, and their modern-day descendents. Now through November 15, 2012, dinosaurs, sharks, birds, and living fossils take center stage in new programs including:

Shows daily
See the earliest creatures of the Triassic Period to the monsters of the Cretaceous brought to life in the 3D show Dinosaurs Alive. Visit the Forum Theater for daily show times and passes.

Daily at 12:00 pm
Uncover the Earth’s ancient history and learn about the sharks, tortoises, and dinosaurs that first appeared millions of years ago.

Friday–Monday & Wednesdays at 1:30 pm
Learn about the West Coast’s underwater past, the formation of the Sierras, the appearance of redwood trees—and the existence of diverse marine reptiles that once roamed the seas.

Saturdays at 11:00 am
All ages are invited to African Hall for an imaginary expedition around the corner, or around the world, with a special focus on prehistoric dinosaurs, sharks and fossils this fall. We will navigate with maps to chart our exploration and use props, specimens, storytelling, and songs to set the scene for our travels. A special children’s book will be read each week.

These and more than a dozen other daily programs are included in general admission. Additional highlights include prehistoric programs for young children in Early Explorers Cove, a visit from KQED’s Dinosaur Train on October 14, and Jurassic NightLife for adults.

See the full schedule>>

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