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

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

Happy 60th Anniversary, Morrison Planetarium!

October 30, 2012

Planetarium interior

When the original Morrison Planetarium opened on November 8, 1952, it made history as the first planetarium in the United States to feature a star projector that was designed and built domestically. At that time, planetariums were so novel that some early audience members would call the box office to ask if the evening’s show would be cancelled due to fog. They soon learned that the weather was always good for star-gazing inside the planetarium. Fifty-six years later, on September 27, 2008, a new Morrison Planetarium opened as part of the completely rebuilt Academy, once again making history—this time as the world’s largest all-digital planetarium.

Next week, from November 5-9, 2012 Morrison Planetarium will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a week of special programs including a “quadruple feature” of the planetarium’s all-digital, fulldome shows; a display of rarely seen artwork and photographs from the Morrison’s history; special screenings of vintage Science in Action episodes; and two evening programs for adults. Morrison Planetarium’s 60th anniversary celebration is generously sponsored by Morrison & Foerster.

Here’s how to join the fun:

November 5-9, 2012 from 11:30 am – 4:30 pm

For the first time since its reopening, Morrison Planetarium will play all four shows in its repertory throughout the day. Free with Academy admission. Seating is limited; pick up your show passes at the planetarium entrance.

  • Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet (2012)
    Narrated by Benjamin Bratt
    11:30 am, 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm

    Witness the processes that shape our landscape in Morrison Planetarium’s newest show. Fly along the San Andreas Fault before diving into the planet’s interior, travel back in time to witness the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the break-up of Pangaea 200 million years ago, and get up to speed on the latest tremors.
  • Fragile Planet (2008)
    Narrated by Sigourney Weaver
    12:30 pm

    Leave planet Earth behind as you fly to the farthest reaches of the Universe and back in this 30-minute show. Begin your voyage at the Academy, lift off through the atmosphere to gain an astronaut’s view of Earth, then travel to the Moon, Mars, and beyond to search for habitats that might support life.

  • Life: A Cosmic Story (2010)
    Narrated by Jodie Foster
    1:30 pm

    How did life on Earth begin? Take a high-speed tour of key events since the Big Bang that set the stage for life. Starting with the first stars and ending with the tremendous biological diversity on Earth today, Life will show audiences that the human pedigree is actually 13.7 billion years in the making.
  • Journey to the Stars (2009)
    Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg
    3:30 pm

    Travel through space and time to experience the dramatic lives and deaths of stars. See brilliant supernova explosions, dive into the heart of the fiery Sun, and watch it transform into a red giant five billion years in the future. Along the way, you will discover the deep-rooted connection between humanity and the stars. Journey to the Stars was developed by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org) in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences as well as GOTO INC., Tokyo, Japan; Papalote Museo del Niño, Mexico City, Mexico; and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C. The show was created with the major support and partnership of NASA, Science Mission Directorate, Heliophysics Division.

The History of Planetariums: The Morrison Turns 60
Monday, November 5, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Planetariums have informed and inspired audiences about the wonders of the Universe for almost 90 years. How did they come to be, and how have their approaches to science education and entertainment evolved during that time? As a science historian, Dr. Jordan D. Marché II of the University of Wisconsin will describe the major threads in planetarium history, including how the Morrison hosted the first planetarium light shows in the late 1950s. More than an account of evolving projection technologies, his talk will examine how the community of planetarium educators organized in response to broader social changes, including the dawning space age. $12 adults, $10 seniors, $6 Academy members. Purchase tickets in advance here, or by calling (415) 379-8000. Seating is limited.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 from 6:00 – 10:00 pm

Every Thursday night, music, creatures, and cocktails come together for NightLife at the Academy. In honor of its 60th anniversary, Morrison Planetarium will screen a mini-marathon of its three recent productions: Fragile Planet, Life: A Cosmic Story, and Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet, preceded by a Tour of the Night Sky at 6:30. Planetarium Director Ryan Wyatt and his staff will share the history of Morrison Planetarium, and what it takes to make a show for a 75-foot dome. Battle some retro-extraterrestrials in a game of Space Invaders for Atari or Star Fox for Super Nintendo, and weather permitting, join staff on the living roof for stargazing and a glimpse of the planet Jupiter. Stellar cocktail in-hand, check out the lunar topography carvings of Craig Dorety, watch 1950s-era documentary footage introducing the world to the Morrison, and touch a 35-pound meteorite from the Academy’s collections. Then track down LoveTech’s out-of-this-world live electronic musicians and interactive art installations in the east pavilion and coral reef. NightLife is for ages 21+; a valid ID is required for entry. $12 per person ($10 for Academy members). Get NightLife tickets.

November 5-9, 2012 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

From 1950-1966, the Academy delighted millions of viewers with Science in Action, one of the first educational nature series on television. Step back in time and watch two 30-minute episodes from the archives, which have been specially transferred from 16 mm film: “Stars over San Francisco” (1952) and “Morrison Planetarium” (1965). Free with Academy admission. Takes place in the Naturalist Center.

Weekdays in November 2012 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Weekends in November 2012 from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Visit the Naturalist Center on Level 3 to see a display of memorabilia from the old Morrison Planetarium: original artwork, blueprints, photographs, star projector light bulbs, and more. Got questions? An educator can help you with books, websites, and other resources. Free with Academy admission.

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