Visit dates for the 2021-2022 school year are now available.
We recognize that bringing a group to the Academy can be intimidating: the learning environment is stimulating and the list of daily events staggering. To assist you with trip planning, we have a few suggestions for selecting daily activities, and we've designed resources for structuring learning.
School groups are exempt from Health & Safety screening
Because many students are not yet eligible for vaccination, and because schools are subject to their own requirements based on their district or county, the Academy will not ask any adults or minors visiting as part of a school field trip to show proof of vaccination or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to gain entrance to the museum.
Do note, however, that masks will continue to be required indoors for all guests ages 2 and up.
Eating and drinking is limited to the Academy's outdoor spaces. You'll find tables and chairs in either the West Garden or East Garden. Because lunch storage is unavailable, we recommend that students carry lunches in their own backpacks!
Make a Plan!
Choose Your Own Pathway
We recommend aligning your visit with a singular learning objective. Less is more!
- Select your learning objective.
- Find one exhibit that fits this goal well.
- Design a simple self-guided or group activity, or browse through the Academy's scavenger hunts. Emphasize concepts rather than facts. Use things you can observe directly rather than focusing on text. Consider using these scaffolds for field trips that involve a tiny bit of pre-work in students' science notebooks.
- Leave time for student exploration, social interaction, and memory-making! Academy staff and docents are scattered throughout the building. Encourage your students to talk with them!
- Consider reading this Social Story to prepare younger students for their visit.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost?
San Francisco school groups are admitted free. Other California school groups and some youth groups may be eligible to receive heavily discounted rates subsidized by donations to the Academy for All fundraising effort. Prices may vary based on time of year.
Can I explore the Academy before the field trip to plan?
Yes! Field trip organizers can bring their order confirmation to the Ticket Office, and we'll print one complimentary admission ticket for you. As long as you have an upcoming field trip, you can get into the building to plan!
Educator Exhibit Guides
Consider planning your trip around a particular exhibit that complements your science curriculum. We've developed Educator Exhibit Guides to help you:
- Plan an Academy field trip around a specific exhibit.
- Learn about an exhibit’s themes and key concepts to guide students’ experience.
- Discover Academy-written activities related to the exhibit.
- Find out about scientific research happening behind-the-scenes.
Feedings & Presentations
No two visits to the California Academy of Sciences are alike!
To reduce crowding, public programs are no longer scheduled at specific times. Instead, look forward to "pop-up" programs on every floor and in our outdoor spaces. Most are appropriate for a wide variety of ages.
The Discovery Tidepool in the Aquarium is temporarily closed.
Scavenger Hunts & Museum Worksheets
Educators are always looking for worksheets and activities to guide student learning. These museum worksheets don't involve finding "the answers," but rather serve as tools to structure your visit around a given theme.
Encourage your students to slow down, make careful observations, and engage in science discourse with their peers!
Sensory Bags & Social Story
If you have children in your group with sensory needs, head over to the Information Desk to borrow a bag containing noise-canceling headphones, sunglasses, fidget toys, and other anxiety-reducing touchables.
You can also plan to visit museum areas that are less likely to be loud, smelly, or visually complex, using the Sensory Guide on the interactive floor map.
Consider reading this Social Story to prepare students for their visit.
The Rock Fund Program is open to K-5 classes in the city of San Francisco. This unique opportunity includes free field trip programming and needs-based transportation scholarships.