We're committed to making our exhibits, programs, and services accessible to everyone. As you're planning your visit, please review the following tips and policies, and let us know if we can be of further assistance.
Parking and Arrival
Accessible parking is available on the B1 level of the underground Music Concourse Garage (enter Golden Gate Park from 9th Avenue and then take a right on Music Concourse Drive to enter the garage). The Academy's entrance and exits are fully wheelchair-accessible from either street level or the underground parking garage. All entrance lines accommodate wheelchairs.
Wheelchairs and Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMDs)
The Academy is fully wheelchair accessible, welcoming manual and electric wheelchairs. Manual wheelchairs are available to borrow free of charge at Coat Check on a ﬁrst-come, ﬁrst-served basis. To borrow one, visitors are asked simply to leave their photo ID at Coat Check for the duration of their visit.
Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMDs)
The recreational use of Segways, golf carts, hoverboards, skateboards, etc. are strictly prohibited from use in the facility. The Academy is fully wheelchair accessible, welcoming manual and electric wheelchairs, electric mobility scooters, and other power-driven mobility devices (OPDMDs) such as Segways subject to reasonable restrictions in certain areas of the facility.
Users must remain in control of their device, operate at the lowest speed (turtle mode) consistent with walking pace, yield to children, seniors and other walking patrons as well as exercise caution turning corners, entering and exiting exhibit areas, and obey all reasonable safety instructions given by staff. Subject to the specific device’s dimensions, users may need to dismount and walk through certain thresholds and when entering and exiting elevators. Additionally the device user may need to dismount in the vicinity of railings around open exhibits and on raised walkways.
Academy staff may monitor, to the extent practical, the safe and responsible operation of OPDMDs. Staff reserve the right to prohibit the use of OPDMDs during certain times and events with high attendance or restrict its use in certain areas. In such cases storage of the device may be provided on-site along with the use of a manual wheelchair free of charge if requested. If you plan on using an OPDMD please check in with Academy staff upon arrival and a courtesy call would be appreciated to the Academy’s Contact Center line at (415) 379-8000 and press 0 to speak with a representative.
Accessible restrooms are located on each and every ﬂoor of the Academy. The most spacious of these is found on Level 1, next to the Swamp Gallery.
Service dogs are welcome at the Academy if providing assistance to individuals with disabilities, but a small number of areas—including the Rainforest, Early Explorers Cove, research collections, and back of house—do remain off-limits. While we understand that animals other than dogs may provide assistance to individuals with disabilities, dogs and miniature horses are the only animals legally regarded as service animals, and therefore, dogs (and under certain circumstances, miniature horses) are the only animals permitted at the Academy. Service dogs must be under the control of their handler at all times during their visit to the Academy. Leash-control is preferred, but under certain circumstances voice or signal control is acceptable.
If you plan to bring a service dog to the Academy, or would like additional information on the Academy's service-animal policy, please call the Academy’s Contact Center at (415) 379-8000 and press 0 to speak with a representative.
Exhibit Access and Seating
We provide ADA-compliant ramps and alternate entrances to all of our exhibits, including the Rainforest and Planetarium. When picking up your Planetarium show pass, simply ask a staff-person to escort you to the third-ﬂoor accessibility entrance. Both the Planetarium and the Forum's 3D theater have reserved seating for visitors with disabilities.
Guests Who Are Blind or Partially Sighted
All exhibits have built-in detection points for the blind, and our public elevators are equipped with auditory signals. Wherever possible, exhibits have been made tactile for an enhanced experience.
A person who accompanies and performs the task of interpreter for a visitor who is blind or visually impaired, is admitted free-of-charge. Readers and specially-trained tour guides are available with two weeks prior notice. For more information, or to book a service, please call the Contact Center at (415) 379-8000 or see our Plan Your Visit page.
Guests Who Are Deaf or Hearing-Impaired
Transcripts are available for all regularly scheduled Planetarium shows and other multimedia in the Academy, and assistive listening transmitters are positioned in the Planetarium, Earthquake Mini-Dome Theater, and Earthquake Shake House exhibit. For more information please, stop by our Information desk.
Any interpreter accompanying a deaf or hearing-impaired visitor (for the purpose of interpreting) is admitted free of charge. Additionally, sign-language interpreters for the Planetarium, the 3D theater in the Forum, and exhibit tours are available with two weeks prior notice. To book a service, please call the Contact Center at (415) 379-8000.
Children with Special Sensory Needs
- Try visiting the Academy at low volume times: The 1–2 hours before closing can be a good time to experience the Academy without heavy crowds, especially in the fall and winter. The Academy typically is busier with school groups until 2 pm on weekdays, especially during the spring.
- Be thoughtful of transitions: Moving between exhibits can be difficult for children with sensory needs. Please be aware that there are noise, temperature and lighting changes when going from the Main Floor to the Aquarium, from the Rainforest to the Aquarium, or from the Planetarium to the Naturalist Center.
- Use the developmentally appropriate Exhibit Guides to familiarize your child with the Academy before your visit.
- Take advantage of the Academy's in and out privileges by getting a hand stamp as you exit. You can step out and enjoy Golden Gate Park, and re-enter the same day, if you need a break.
If you have additional questions about accessibility, contact an Academy ADA coordinator at:
Director of Guest Operations
California Academy of Sciences
Golden Gate Park
55 Music Concourse Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
Ph: (415) 379-8000
Visiting from out of town? You'll find a number of hotel recommendations on our lodging page.