Experience a winter wonderland in the heart of San Francisco. Indoor snow flurries, a hands-on polar-themed exhibit, and an all-new ice rink make the Academy a holiday destination for science lovers of all ages.

‘Tis the Season for Science: Life on Ice, the Academy’s annual holiday exhibit, celebrates the remarkable adaptations that allow Arctic and Antarctic animals to thrive in snowy ecosystems.

This year, see how another animal adapts to life on ice: You! Lace up your skates and take a spin around our all-new outdoor ice rink. With several skating sessions available daily, you’ll have plenty of time to perfect your form.

‘Tis the Season for Science and the holiday ice rink are open daily through January 7, 2018.

'Tis the Season for Science is free with Academy admission, but a separate ice rink ticket ($12 non-members/$10 members) is required for those wishing to skate. Ice rink tickets alone are not valid for general admission to the Academy and a separate general admission ticket or membership is required for entry.

Skaters enjoy an ice rink

Holiday Ice Rink

Science and skating, all in a day's adventure. Add a 55-minute ice skating session to your Academy visit for just $12 ($10 members). See FAQ below for ice rink details.

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Two kids pose next to life size models of Emperor penguins

Life on Ice

Learn how plants and animals brave the planet’s most extreme environments—and see how you stack up next to life-size models of polar bears and Emperor penguins!

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A close-up shot of bell ringers ringing brass bells

Live Performances

Festive live performances by musicians and cultural groups bring holiday cheer to the Academy’s Piazza stage on select dates this season.

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Guests line up to enter the giant Snowman Theater inside the Academy's Piazza

Snowman Theater

Step inside a snowman-shaped digital dome theater for Science of Snow, a kid-friendly short film about the dazzling geometry of snowflakes.


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Got ice rink questions? Click to expand each section below for answers to frequently asked questions. Still need help? Email info@calacademy.org or call (415) 379-8000.
Ticket types and age restrictions

How much are tickets for the ice rink?
Tickets are $12 for non-members and $10 for Academy members. Each ice skater must have an ice rink ticket, regardless of age.

Where can I buy ice rink tickets?
You may purchase ice rink tickets online or onsite at the Academy.

  • If you need to purchase general admission and ice rink tickets, click here.
  • ​If you already have a general admission ticket or are an Academy member and only need to purchase an ice rink ticket, click here.

Are there any age restrictions?
The ice rink is open to all ages, but children under 12 must skate with an adult. 

Do ice rink tickets include museum admission?
No. A separate general admission or NightLife ticket or proof of Academy membership is required for entry.

Can I skate without buying a ticket to the museum?
No. If you wish to access the ice rink, you must also have a valid general admission or NightLife ticket or proof of Academy membership.

Can I bring a large group?
Yes. To buy tickets for groups of 10 or more, click here. School and youth groups may call (877) 227-3311 to add tickets to their field trip reservation.

Rink location and schedule

Where is the ice rink?
The ice rink is located outside in the Academy’s East Garden. After entering the building, head left past T. rex and follow signage to the rink.

When are skating sessions?
The schedule below is subject to change, so please check the Daily Calendar in advance.

  • Mon-Sat: 9:55-10:50 am; 11:05 am-12 pm; 12:15-1:10 pm; 1:25-2:20 pm; 2:35-3:30 pm; 3:45-4:40 pm
  • Sun: 12:15-1:10 pm; 1:25-2:20 pm; 2:35-3:30 pm; 3:45-4:40 pm
  • NightLife (21+): Thu, 7-7:45 pm; 8-8:45 pm; 9-9:45 pm
  • Members only: Tue, 8:45-9:40 am; Sun, 11:05 am-12 pm

How soon before my session should I arrive?
Check in at the East Garden 10 minutes before your ticketed session begins to allow enough time for skate rental.

Can I skate for more than one session?
As long as tickets are available, you may skate as often as you like. There is a 15 minute break between sessions for rink maintenance. A ticket is required for each timed ice rink session.

Can I enter the skate area if I’m not skating?
Non-ticketed guests are welcome to watch from the sidelines, but you must have a wristband to enter the ice.

Skate rental and accessories

How much does it cost to rent skates?
Skate rental is included with your ice rink ticket. Need socks? They're available for purchase for $3.

Can I bring my own skates?
Yes, but please note there is no discount on ice rink tickets.

What size skates are available?
Youth: 10-13; Adult: 1-13.

Do you have any training equipment for young skaters?
Yes, a limited number of Child Ice Skate Trainers are available to rent on a first-come, first-served basis for $3 per session.

What should I wear?
Nothing special is required, but we do recommend warm clothing that doesn't restrict movement. Thick socks may also make skating more comfortable.  

Where can I store my belongings while I skate?
Lockers are available to rent for $1. Please note that lockers are only available for use during your skate session; they may not be used for storage while visiting the rest of the museum.