Group tours

Having a company outing or meeting at the museum? Do you simply have a lot of friends? Why not take the whole group on a tour? If you have a group of over 14, we can work with you to customize multiple tour times to accommodate your needs. All of our Behind-the-Scenes tours and After-Hours tour are available for large groups.

A Mandarin Dragonet in the Steinhart Aquarium

Aquarium Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Did you know our Aquarium has been a part of San Francisco since 1923? Venture behind the scenes to learn more about the history of Steinhart Aquarium and how it has changed over the years. Experience how our biologists care for the 40,000 animals—including the inhabitants of our Philippine Coral Reef, the deepest and largest indoor display of living corals. Visit the food prep kitchen and see what Claude, the albino alligator, gets fed for breakfast. Step inside our salt water mixing room and follow in the footsteps of our biologists by visiting a few of the spaces they work in each day—you never know who or what you will run into as part of this exclusive, hour-long tour.

Tour guests explore Academy collections during their Behind-the-Scenes tour.

Academy Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Explore the lesser seen regions of the Academy! Spend an hour behind the scenes learning more about the institution’s 160-year history and what it takes to house nearly 46 million specimens. Visit the research collections, unavailable to the public, and develop an appreciation for our vast library of life. From stepping out onto our living roof to examining breathtaking geology specimens in our private vault, the Academy tour is sure to show you more of the museum than you ever knew existed.

The Living Roof and its automated ventilation system on a sunny day.

Green Building and Architecture Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Our building is an exhibit in itself! Spend an hour going behind the scenes to learn what makes us the greenest museum on Earth. Discover what makes our Living Roof so green (hint: it's more than plants), what makes our building's construction so special, and how even our collections are maintained in a sustainable way.

What's Included in a Behind-the-Scenes Tour:

  • One-hour guided tour
  • Behind-the-scenes access
  • Express entry into the building
  • VIP entrance to the Osher Rainforest
  • Express entry into the Earthquake simulator
  • Reserved space in the Planetarium
  • 10% discount in Academy Café and The Terrace Restaurant
  • 10% discount at the Academy Store, Lab Junior, and the Aquarium stores

Costs and Criteria

  • $21.21 per person (general admission not included—group discount applies)
  • All tour guests must also purchase general admission tickets
  • Large Group Tours must be booked 14 days in advance of tour date.
  • These tours are designed for group sizes of over 10. Groups of fewer than 10 people may still book a private tour, but must meet the minimum tour price of 10 spots.

Please note: Guests must be age 8 or older to participate, and strollers are not permitted. Guests between the ages of 8 and 17 must be accompanied by an adult. If the size of your group is over 14, we will need to split your group up and have staggered tour start times.

An Academy researcher interacts with an after-hours tour group.

After-Hours Tour

This exclusive tour option for groups of 25 or more allows you to explore Academy exhibits after the building closes to the public.

Meander from Swamp to pendulum to penguins, or just spend a whole hour in the Aquarium with our large California Coast and Philippine Coral Reef tanks—it's up to you!

What’s Included in an After-Hours Tour

  • One-hour or 30 minute guided tour option
  • Exclusive viewing of Academy exhibits for your private group

Cost and Criteria

  • $50 per person for one-hour tour option
  • $25 per person for 30-minute tour option
  • General admission tickets are not needed for After-Hours Tours
  • After-Hours Tours must be booked at least 14 days in advance of tour date.
  • These tours are designed for groups 25 or more. Groups of fewer than 25 may still book these tours, but must meet the minimum tour price for 25 spots.

Please note: This tour does not include the Osher Rainforest or Planetarium exhibits. Guests must be age 5 or older to participate, and guests between the ages of 5 and 17 must be accompanied by an adult. These tours are done on the Public Floor Exhibits and not behind-the-scenes spaces.

Reminders

  • This tour does not include the Osher Rainforest or Planetarium shows. These are walking tours, but all tours are ADA accessible. Please wear comfortable shoes and clothing appropriate for indoor and outdoor environments. Uneven surfaces, slick spots, or inclement weather may be encountered.
  • Elements of the tours and exhibits at the Academy are subject to change without prior notice.

 

Cancellations

A 50% non-refundable deposit is due at the time of booking to reserve group tickets for 10 or more guests. Total balance is due 30 days prior to your tour date. If you are booking a tour within 30 days of your tour date, full payment is due at the time of booking. Cancellations occurring 30 days or more prior to tour date, will receive a full refund minus the deposit. No refunds are given for cancellations made within 30 days of tour.

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