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

Please note: The Academy will be closing at 3:00 pm on 10/24 (final entry at 2:00 pm). We apologize for any inconvenience.

There are no notifications at this time.


Early Explorers Cove

The Early Explorers Cove is an activity area for children 0-5 years and their adult friends.


Pretend to be an Academy scientist on a voyage to the Galapagos Islands in 1905. Navigate the schooner, examine specimens, and prepare a lunch for your crew-mates in our child-sized model of the research schooner Academy.

Garden Shed

Be green and tend to the garden in the Early Explorers Cove! Put on some gloves and plant some vegetables!

California Backyard

Go on an expedition and see what animals you can find hiding in their burrows! Grab some binoculars and discover all the animals in our California mural.

Infant Tide Pool

Infants can comfortably explore their surroundings and discover themselves along the mirror waves in the Tidal Pool.

Coral Reef

Explore the under water mural to see what oceanic animal you can find hiding in the coral reefs. Develop your fine motor skills at our manipulative table.

Farmers Market

Pick up a reusable tote bag and shop in our mini farmers market for some seasonal items. Can you identify what’s for sale today?

Toddler Treks

Offered three times per month, dates and times vary, meets by the pendulum

A caregiver/child participatory program designed especially for children ages 18-36 months. Children and adults participate together during group activities as we learn about new animals. Each month features a different animal theme.

Space is limited, reservations are required: $5 per member child; $7 per non-member child; free to attending adults with general admission. Museum general admission is free for children ages 3 and under. Buy a ticket online or over the phone at 415-379-8000.

Little Naturalists

Wednesdays at 9:45am in the Naturalist Center

Hands-on programs for children ages 3-5, presented in the Naturalist Center. Every week features a unique theme. Space is limited, reservations are required: $5 per member child; $7 per non-member child; free to attending adults with general admission. Buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 800-794-7576.

Saturday Safari

Saturdays at 11:00am in African Hall, under the leopard tree

Join us for an imaginary expedition around the corner or around the world! We will begin by using maps to chart our trip, and then be transported via stories, specimens, props, songs and dance. All ages are welcome! Free with general admission. Adult supervision required.

Junior Academy

Junior Academy programs are designed to engage children age 5 to 11 and their families. We invite you to join us for hands-on, science based activities. Watch for a new program to be added in the spring of 2014!

Family Nature Crafts

Join us for Family Nature Crafts every Sunday starting at 10am by the Swamp (supplies limited to the first 100 participants).

Naturalist Know-how

Learn how to be a naturalist! Youth ages 8-11 learn a new nature skill each month. Offered every Sunday at 2pm in the Naturalist Center (space is limited to the first 20 participants).

Stellar Cosmic Kids

Children ages 6–8 explore the universe through fun, hands-on activities. Dates vary; participants meet at the pendulum at 10:30am. Space is limited; make a free member or non-member reservation online or over the phone at 415-379-8000.

Buy Tickets

Member Tickets Non-Member Tickets

Learn more

Select Date
African Hall
Animal Attraction
Aquarium Elevator
Aquarium Stairs
Cafe & Moss Room
Coral Reef Exhibit
Discovery Tidepool
Early Explorers Cove
East Garden
Exit from Rainforest
Flooded Forest
Forum Theater
Islands of Evolution
Level 1 Elevator
Level 1 Stairs
Living Roof
Naturalist Center
Northern California Coast
Observation Deck
Planetarium Entrance
Project Lab
Reef Lagoon
Science in Action
Stairs / Elevator to Living Roof & Naturalist Center
Swamp (Aquarium Level)
Upper Gallery
Water Planet
West Garden

Programs for Kids
Week of Tuesday, October 21st

Please select a date to see upcoming events.

  • Junior Academy: Family Nature Crafts
    Sunday, October 19th

    Junior Academy: Family Nature Crafts

    Location: Swamp

    10:00 am

    Families with children aged 5-11 are invited to make nature-themed crafts. Supplies are limited to the first 50 participants. Free with general admission. Adult supervision required.

  • Little Naturalists: Sprouts
    Wednesday, October 22nd

    Little Naturalists: Sprouts

    Location: Naturalist Center

    9:45 am

    Children ages 3-5 explore the plants and animals of nature’s gardens through hands-on investigation and activities.

    Today's activity - Agriculture in SF: Learn what local farmers are growing for the fall table, then design a harvest hat to wear home.

    Reservations: Space is limited. Reservations and a fee are required for all Little Naturalists programs: $5 per member child; $7 per non-member child; free to supervising adults with general admission. To reserve a place today, buy a ticket online or over the phone at 415-379-8000.

    Buy Tickets

 Print out an Academy coloring sheet [69k]

Do you ever wonder what kind of activities are available for you and your child? Are you unable to attend a program? Download and print the page below for a sample activity.

 Caribou Crossword Puzzle [300k]

 Penguin Connect the Dots [410k]


These policies were developed to keep the Cove clean and safe for all our guests.

Each attending adult is responsible for the children in his or her care. Maximum ratio 1 adult per 3 children, or 3 adults per child.

  • This is a shoe free zone; socks are recommended
  • This is a food/drink free zone
  • Keep the Cove safe, no running or climbing
  • Keep the Cove healthy, don’t share illness
  • Stroller parking is only for Cove visits

Space is limited in the Early Explorers Cove. Your wait time in the entrance line may vary. We have provided coloring tables to occupy children while an adult waits in line.

The Cove has puzzles, books and games to amuse children in your party that are older than 5.


Is your child too old for the Cove now? You can visit the Naturalist Center for some fun activities.

Getting ready to enroll your child in school? Visit First 5 California for some helpful tips.

Download the Family Guide prior to your visit for some activity ideas.

Cove Hours


Monday - Saturday

10:00 am - 5:00 pm


11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Last entry is at 4:30 pm, space permitting

Members Hours

Tuesday: 8:30 am - 9:30 am
Sunday: 10:00 am - 11:00 am

The Academy is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.






The Early Explorers Cove is located on the main floor across from the pendulum.