Your safety is the Academy's top priority. Our health and safety measures are informed by the latest science and align with all local, state, and federal public health requirements. Please keep the following in mind as you plan your visit:

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1. Proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test required!

Illustration of band-aid with check mark to indicate vaccination

Through January 31, all guests ages 12+ must provide proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of a scheduled visit in order to enter the Academy. Guests ages 18+ must also provide photo ID.

Full vaccination means at least 14 days have passed since your final vaccine dose. If you are not fully vaccinated, you must bring a negative COVID-19 test result from within the past 72 hours. Results from at-home tests are not accepted.

Heads up! For visits on February 1 and beyond, all guests ages 12+ must provide proof of full vaccination and a booster shot (if eligible) in order to enter the Academy. Negative COVID-19 tests will no longer be accepted. For visits on March 15 and beyond, proof of full vaccination will also be required for ages 5–11, with this age group exempted from the booster requirement at this time.

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2. Advance reservations strongly recommended!

Illustration of smartphone with barcoded ticket

All guests are encouraged to reserve timed-entry tickets online in advance.

Ticket availability is not guaranteed unless you reserve in advance, especially on busy days. Plus, the further in advance you buy, the more you’ll save—so you’ll save your spot and get a better deal.

Attention members: Walkup admission is back! You may visit anytime, no advance reservations required. Simply show your new digital membership card, proof of vaccination, and photo ID at the member entrance for admission.

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3. Mask up!

Illustration of person wearing mask

All guests ages 2+ must wear a mask indoors at all times, and all guests must complete a health self-screening before entry.

Inside the Academy, all guests ages 2 and up must wear a mask at all times, regardless of vaccination status. Failure to wear your mask properly over your nose and mouth while indoors may result in your being asked to leave the museum.

health self-screening is also required for all guests on the day of their visit. Please stay home if you're feeling sick—we’ll help you reschedule!

For more information, view the Masks and safety FAQ.

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4. Reservations required for Morrison Planetarium!

Illustration of smartphone with barcoded ticket on screen

A limited quantity of reservations are available for planetarium shows. Please reserve as soon as you arrive.

To reserve a showtime for the planetarium, scan the QR code posted in the lobby with your phone as soon as you arrive. Please note that the quantity of reservations is limited for your safety and we regret that we cannot guarantee available reservations for planetarium shows.

For more information, view the Exhibit reservations and updates FAQ.

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Vaccination policy

The Academy requires proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of a scheduled visit for all guests ages 12 and up, along with photo ID for guests ages 18 and up.

For visits on February 1 and beyond, all guests ages 12 and up must provide proof of full vaccination and a booster shot (if eligible) in order to enter the Academy. Negative COVID-19 tests will no longer be accepted. For visits on March 15 and beyond, we will also require proof of full vaccination for children ages 5-11. Boosters for this age group will not be required at this time.

Properly fitted masks are still required indoors for all guests ages 2 and up. To minimize face-to-face contact at the ticket window and encourage visitation throughout the day, guests are strongly encouraged to reserve timed-entry tickets in advance.

While the current San Francisco Department of Public Health mandate does not require museums to implement a proof of vaccination policy at this time, as a scientific institution the Academy remains deeply committed to following the latest science and ensuring the health and safety of our visitors, staff, and community.

Please note that as local and state public health guidelines continue to evolve, the Academy may adjust guidelines as appropriate. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we work to keep each other healthy.

Click below to expand FAQs, including acceptable forms of proof of vaccination.

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FAQ

Vaccination

Why has the Academy updated its vaccination policy?
As a science institution, the Academy is committed to ensuring our COVID-19 policies follow all local and federal guidelines, reflect the latest epidemiological research, and protect public health. With the more-transmissible Omicron variant driving a surge in COVID-19 cases in the Bay Area and around the world, requiring a booster shot along with full vaccination and proper masking is simply the safest and most effective way to reduce the risk of infection and severe illness among our staff and guests—especially as booster availability and eligibility increases. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation during this time!

I’m fully vaccinated but not yet eligible for a booster. Can I still visit?
Yes! If it has been more than 14 days but less than five months (two months for Johnson & Johnson) since your final vaccine dose, you may visit the Academy with your proof of vaccination since you are not yet eligible for a booster shot. Please be sure to get a booster shot as soon as you become eligible! Learn more at cdc.gov

I’m eligible for a booster shot, but I haven’t gotten it yet. Can I still visit?
Sorry, not yet. If it has been more than five months (two months for Johnson & Johnson) since your final vaccine dose and you are eligible for a booster shot but have not received one yet, please postpone your visit until after you get your booster. We regret any inconvenience and encourage you to get your booster as soon as possible! Learn more at cdc.gov

How long after my booster do I have to wait before my visit?
You are welcome to visit the Academy once you have received your booster. Please be sure to bring proof of full vaccination and booster when you visit.

Where can I get vaccinated or get a booster shot?
California residents can visit myturn.ca.gov for vaccine and booster information, and residents of other states can visit www.vaccines.gov.

Why is the Academy’s vaccination policy stricter than other places I’ve visited?
As a science institution, we believe in the power of research, discovery, and data to protect public health. Right now, the data is undeniable: Vaccines and booster shots save lives. Plus, with a significant proportion of Academy guests under age 5 and currently ineligible for vaccination, and many others unable to be vaccinated due to other medical conditions, the best way to keep our most vulnerable community members safe is to require vaccination and booster shots for all eligible staff and guests.

Do kids need to be vaccinated and boosted to visit?
Proof of full vaccination has been required for all Academy guests ages 12+ since August 27, 2021. Beginning February 1, 2022, all guests ages 12+ who are eligible for a booster shot will also be required to provide proof of their booster to visit the museum. Beginning March 15, 2022, all guests ages 5-11 will be required to provide proof of full vaccination in order to visit. Booster shots for ages 5-11 will not be required at this time.

What are acceptable forms of proof of vaccination?
Before entering the museum, you may present a paper vaccine card, photo of a valid vaccine card, or digital vaccine card. Please note that proof of booster shot only is not acceptable. Valid forms of vaccination proof include a valid photo ID (for guests 18+) and:

  • original, copy or electronic photo of the CDC vaccination card (or similar documentation issued by another foreign governmental jurisdiction
  • documentation from a healthcare provider
  • personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued by the State of California available by going to https://myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov
  • personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued by another state, local, or foreign governmental jurisdiction
  • personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued by an approved private company

If I'm not fully vaccinated, can I show a negative test instead?
If you are unable to provide proof of being fully vaccinated at the time of your visit, we would be happy to help you reschedule—please contact us at info@calacademy.org for assistance. Please note that effective February 1, 2022, negative test results will no longer be accepted as a substitute for proof of full vaccination and booster shot (if eligible).

What kinds of COVID-19 tests are accepted?
We accept negative COVID-19 test results via a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or rapid antigen test. Acceptable proof of a negative COVID-19 test must include name, date and type of test, and indication that the result was negative for COVID-19. Negative test results must be from a lab, not an at-home test. Visitors 18 years and over will also be required to provide photo ID in order to verify that the negative test result is their own. Please note: Negative COVID-19 tests will only be accepted as a substitute for proof of full vaccination through January 31, 2022.

Will this policy be in place for the foreseeable future, or for a defined period?
Our vaccination policy, along with our other health and safety policies, will be in effect until further notice, and may be modified at any time. As always, we will do our best to inform guests about upcoming policy changes as far in advance as possible.

Does the vaccination policy apply to NightLife and Academy events?
Yes, our vaccine policy applies to NightLife, as well as Academy lectures, talks, and Penguins+Pajamas Sleepovers.

What is the vaccination policy for Academy staff, business guests, facility rental clients, and contractors?
With limited exceptions, everyone who enters the Academy as a guest, staff member, volunteer, business partner, facility rental client, or contractor is subject to the same vaccination policy.

Ticketing

I’m a member. Do I still need to make a reservation?
Nope! As of January 20, 2022, members and donors no longer need to reserve tickets online. Instead, simply show your new digital membership card, proof of vaccination, and photo ID at the member entrance for admission.

How do I purchase tickets?
We strongly recommend that guests purchase tickets online at least one day in advance for the best prices and to guarantee availability on busy days. Tickets are available up to four weeks in advance—and the further in advance you buy, the more you’ll save. As of January 20, 2022, members and donors no longer need to reserve tickets in advance—simply arrive anytime with your new digital membership card, proof of vaccination, and photo ID for entry!

Here’s how:

  1. Head to our Buy Tickets page and select your ticket. 
  2. Select your visit date. Click the first dropdown menu to select a visit date. Unless otherwise noted, the Academy is open daily, Monday-Saturday, 9:30-5 pm, and Sunday, 11 am-5 pm. Members-only hours are Tuesday, 8:30-9:30 am and Sunday, 10-11 am. Tip: Weekdays and afternoons are usually quieter than weekends, and ticket prices are usually lower.
  3. Select your entry time. Click the second dropdown menu to select an available entry timeslot. You may enter the museum at any time within your timeslot. Please do not arrive before your timeslot, and note that late entries may not be accommodated.
  4. Select your ticket quantity. Indicate how many Adults (18-64), Youth (3-17), Students (18+ with ID), and Seniors (65+ with ID) are in your party. Children 2 and under always visit for free. 
  5. Click Add to Cart to proceed to checkout. After completing your purchase, you will receive your tickets via email. On the day of your visit, please be sure to have your tickets ready for scanning, either on your smartphone (brightness all the way up, please!) or printed out.

Are discounted tickets available online?
At this time, the following discounted tickets are not currently available online and must be purchased or redeemed at the Academy ticket window:

  • Museums for All: $3 Daytime Admission tickets are available year-round for EBT, WIC, Lifeline Pass, and Medi-Cal cardholders. Simply present your card at the ticket window to purchase your $3 tickets. Limit 4 per group per visit; not valid for special events or NightLife. 
  • Sustainable transportation discount: Enjoy $3 off Daytime Admission tickets when you walk, bike, or take public transit to the Academy.
  • Military discount: Active-duty military personnel enjoy $3 off Daytime Admission tickets with valid military ID or proof of service (e.g., VA card or DD-214).
  • Discover & Go: Library cardholders 14 and older can check out passes good for free Academy admission at participating libraries from San Francisco to Sacramento. Select your library system and log in, or contact your local branch for details.

Questions about any of these discounts? Please email us at info@calacademy.org.

Why do I have to choose a specific time of day to visit?
Timed ticketing helps us regulate and monitor guest flow so all guests can enjoy a safe, comfortable visit. Because ticket prices vary by timeslot, this also gives guests the opportunity to select an entry time that works best for their budget. Please note that there is no time limit for your visit, but the average guest visit is approximately three hours.

Can I visit the Academy with a San Francisco CityPASS?
Yes. Simply purchase your CityPASS online for immediate, paperless delivery to your mobile device.

Is Plan-Ahead Pricing still in effect?
Yes. The further in advance you buy, the more you’ll save on tickets. At this time, tickets are available to reserve up to four weeks in advance. Please note that ticket prices may vary depending on your entry time, with lower prices generally available later in the day. Learn more on our Plan-Ahead Pricing page.

Can I bring my class on a field trip?
Yes. School field trip reservations are available for formal California school groups of students in grades pre-K through 12, including preschool. To read more and apply, visit our School Field Trips page.

Can I bring a group?
If sufficient ticket quantities are available for your desired entry time, you are welcome to purchase tickets for up to 20 members of your group. Learn more on our Groups page.

Masks and safety

Do I still have to wear a mask to visit?
Yes. For the safety of all guests as well as our staff, the Academy will continue to require masks indoors for all guests ages 2 and up, as well as all Academy staff, volunteers, contractors, and partners, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are no longer required in our outdoor spaces. Please ensure everyone in your party brings their own mask.

What kind of mask can I wear?
Not all masks are created equal! Please ensure your mask:

  • Is made with at least two layers of breathable material (consider wearing a disposable mask under your cloth mask if you are in doubt)
  • Is able to fully cover your nose and mouth and secure under your chin
  • Is snug but comfortable against the side of your face
  • Is securable with ties or ear loops
  • Isn’t made of mesh or porous or transparent material
  • Isn’t equipped with one-way air valves or vents

Please note: The CDC has updated its guidance on masking. Learn more

What's the proper way to wear a mask?
Masks are only effective if they're worn snugly and securely over the nose and mouth—not on your neck, forehead, or chin! For your safety and the safety of everyone around you, please ensure you wear your mask properly at all times while inside the Academy. Failure to keep your mask on properly may result in your removal from the museum.   

What if I can’t wear a mask for health reasons?
If you are unable to wear a mask due to a medical condition or disability, please email us at info@calacademy.org at least 48 hours before your visit so we can discuss alternative options with you.

I'm fully vaccinated. Do I still have to wear a mask while visiting the Academy?
Yes. At this time, the Academy is still requiring all guests ages 2 and up to wear a mask indoors. Continuing our mask requirement is the best way to provide a safe, healthy environment for guests of all ages, as well as Academy staff. Need some fresh air? Masks are not required in our outdoor spaces.

What if I see someone who’s not wearing a mask or wearing one improperly?
Please do not approach or confront anyone you suspect may be violating any health and safety rules. Simply keep your distance and notify a staff member. Thank you for keeping yourself and others safe!

Do I still need to practice physical distancing during my visit?
6 feet: no. Common courtesy: yes! While the Academy no longer requires guests to maintain a physical distance of 6 feet (2 meters) from other parties, comfort levels do vary from person to person. By respecting the personal space of your fellow guests, a safer, stress-free visit is within reach.

What if someone is getting too close for comfort?
Please do not approach or confront anyone you suspect may be violating any health and safety rules. Simply keep your distance and notify a staff member. Thank you for keeping yourself and others safe!

How often should I wash or sanitize my hands?
Maintaining good hand hygiene is an important tactic in the fight against COVID-19. A good rule of thumb is to wash or sanitize your hands

  • before entering the Academy
  • before eating
  • after touching door handles, banisters, railings, elevator buttons, glass, or other high-touch surfaces while moving between exhibits
  • after using the restroom or changing diapers
  • after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face
  • after eating
  • after exiting the Academy

Please also be sure to encourage good hand hygiene with your children while at the museum—and lend a hand if necessary!

Where can I wash or sanitize my hands?
Hand sanitizer stations have been placed in prominent locations throughout the Academy so you’ll never be too far from clean hands. Additionally, there are restrooms on every floor where you can wash up with soap and water.

Should I bring my own hand sanitizer?
While there is plenty of sanitizer available at the Academy, you are welcome to bring your own. The CDC recommends hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Entry and guest flow

How do guests enter the Academy?
Guests still enter the Academy at our main entrance at 55 Music Concourse Drive, but additional health and safety measures are in place to protect guests and staff. Please take note of the following for a safe, speedy entry:

  • If you purchased tickets in advance, please arrive within your entry timeslot. Avoid arriving early to minimize crowding at the main entrance. You may arrive at any time within your timeslot, but you may not be permitted to enter early if you arrive early. If you arrive after your entry timeslot, we’ll do our best to accommodate you, but admission cannot be guaranteed. Please ensure all members of your party ages 2 and up are wearing masks upon arrival.
  • Please have your tickets, proof of vaccination, and photo ID ready for scanning, either printed out or displayed on your smartphone—brightness all the way up, please!
  • Just prior to entry, confirm your answers to the health-screening questions that you reviewed before purchasing your tickets online. If anyone in your party can answer “yes” to any of the questions on the day of your visit, we will help you to reschedule your visit for a later date.
  • Please sanitize your hands before entry. We’re doing our best to keep germs outside!
  • No re-entry after exiting. For your safety, we’re no longer offering re-entry hand stamps. If you wish to re-enter after exiting, you will need to purchase a new ticket.

Can I buy tickets at the door?
We strongly recommend that guests purchase tickets online at least one day in advance for the best prices and to guarantee availability on busy days. Tickets are available up to four weeks in advance—and the further in advance you buy, the more you’ll save.

Please note that at this time, the following discounted tickets are not currently available online and must be purchased or redeemed at the Academy ticket window:

  • Museums for All: $3 Daytime Admission tickets are available year-round for EBT, WIC, Lifeline Pass, and Medi-Cal cardholders. Simply present your card at the ticket window to purchase your $3 tickets. Limit 4 per group per visit; not valid for special events or NightLife.
  • Sustainable transportation discount: Enjoy $3 off Daytime Admission tickets when you walk, bike, or take public transit to the Academy.
  • Military discount: Active-duty military personnel enjoy $3 off Daytime Admission tickets with valid military ID or proof of service (e.g., VA card or DD-214).
  • Discover & Go: Library cardholders 14 and older can check out passes good for free Academy admission at participating libraries from San Francisco to Sacramento. Select your library system and log in, or contact your local branch for details.

Is there a time limit for Academy visits?
Take your time! While the average guest stays for about three hours, you are welcome to enjoy the Academy safely for as long as you like. Become a member to support science and enjoy unlimited admission year-round.

How will the Academy ensure guests experience the museum safely?
For the safety of all guests as well as our staff, we require masks to be worn indoors by all humans ages 2 and up regardless of vaccination status. We’d also like to remind all guests that a little common courtesy goes a long way:

  1. Be patient. Academy staff may ask you to wait for other groups to exit before entering certain spaces.
  2. Limit lingering. Channel your inner fish and keep it moving through the museum to help reduce “schooling” in front of exhibits.
  3. Be polite and stay to the right. Please yield to faster groups and let people pass on your left whenever possible.
  4. Resist the urge to run. We know it’ll be hard for kids to contain their excitement, but please do your best to encourage little ones to slow down indoors. Outdoor play is encouraged in the East and West Gardens!
NightLife, sleepovers, and events

When will Penguins+Pajamas Sleepovers start back up again?
Unpack that sleeping bag: Sleepovers are starting up again in March 2022! Please visit our Penguins+Pajamas Sleepovers page for ticketing and health and safety info.

What can I expect at NightLife?
We’ve made some adjustments to in-person NightLife events to help keep guests safe. At this time, NightLife capacity is limited and advance purchase is strongly recommended. View upcoming events here. As always, all guests must be 21+ with ID to attend. For those unable to attend in person, the Academy will continue to offer its free virtual NightSchool programs—informal online "classes" with an eclectic mix of science and culture—streaming live (and available as recordings afterwards) on the Academy’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Am I required to purchase a planetarium pass in advance in order to see a show during NightLife?
Yes. Due to high demand for planetarium shows during NightLife events, reserved planetarium passes ensure that guests have the opportunity to guarantee a seat, reduce wait times, and better plan their night. Passes must be purchased online in advance for an additional $5, and most NightLife events have showtimes at 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, and 9:30 pm. A limited number of standby seats will be available for all showtimes as space allows on a first-come, first-served basis.

Can I select a specific planetarium seat with my pass?
No, there is no assigned seating in the planetarium. We suggest you arrive 15 minutes before your showtime for choice seating.

How can I find out which shows are playing during NightLife before I purchase a pass?
A weekly program schedule, including planetarium shows, is available on each NightLife event page. Please note: Scheduled programming is subject to change prior to each event date.

What happens if I miss my reserved showtime? Can I exchange or get a refund?
Unfortunately, refunds are not available for planetarium passes. If you miss your reserved showtime or arrive after the planetarium doors have closed, our staff will do their best to accommodate entry to a later show if space permits. If you know you won’t be able to attend the event or would like to exchange for a different showtime, we are happy to exchange your planetarium pass for another date or time up to three days in advance of the event date. After that time, no exchanges can be made.

I’ve already purchased a NightLife VIP ticket. Do I still need to purchase a reserved planetarium pass?
No, all NightLife VIP tickets include entry to the 8:30 pm planetarium show. This is included in the cost of your NightLife VIP Ticket.

What dining options will be available during NightLife?
Food and beverages are available for purchase in the Academy Café and West Garden​ from 6-9:30 pm and include ​a variety of grab-and-go options, craft cocktails, and more​. All food and drink must be enjoyed outdoors in the East or West Garden.

Can I re-enter the event after exiting?
For your safety, we’re no longer offering re-entry hand stamps. If you wish to re-enter after exiting, you will need to purchase a new NightLife ticket.

Are NightLife VIP Experiences available?
Yes. NightLife VIP guests enjoy a private rooftop lounge atop the Academy's lush 2.5-acre living roof to encounter native wildflowers in bloom, enjoy eye-popping views, and learn about the building’s impressive feats of green engineering. The experience also includes two complimentary cocktails and snack, priority entry to Osher Rainforest and the Shake House earthquake simulator, reserved planetarium seating, an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour into our collections (including our rare Gem and Mineral Vault!), and 10% off at the Café and retail stores. Masks will be required indoors. Learn more!

Are there still public programs and demonstrations during the day?
Yes. However, to minimize crowding inside the museum, we are not currently scheduling public programs and demonstrations at specific times. Instead, we will continue to present “pop-up” programs where Academy staff will host spontaneous, exciting, educational mini-programs throughout the day on every floor, in the East and West Gardens, and on our Living Roof.

Are daytime VIP Tours available?
Yes. Book a VIP Tour to explore the secrets of the Academy as you spend 45 minutes behind the scenes learning more about how the museum works—and what it takes to house nearly 46 million specimens. (Please note: Tour includes stairs and unpaved paths.) For ages 8 and up. Members, your discount will be applied after login.

Please note that the VIP Tour ticket price does not include Daytime Admission. You will have the opportunity to add a VIP Tour to your order when reserving your tickets online.

When will Dean Astronomy Lectures start back up again?
We are happy to announce that our Dean Lecture series has returned virtually. Please check out our Dean Lectures page and Morrison Planetarium's Facebook page for upcoming livestreamed programs, stargazing resources, and more.

Exhibit reservations and updates

How do I reserve a planetarium showtime during a daytime visit?
Reserving a daytime showtime in the planetarium is fast and free with your smartphone. When you get to the Academy, keep an eye out for lobby signage with QR codes. Then:

  1. Aim your smartphone camera or QR code reader app at the QR code posted in the lobby, planetarium kiosk, or planetarium entrance
  2. Tap the URL that appears
  3. On the webpage that opens up in your browser, select Morrison Planetarium and your desired showtime
  4. Enter your name, phone number, and size of your party (maximum 8) and confirm your reservation

You’ll receive a text message confirming your reservation and showtime, as well as a reminder ten minutes before showtime. Please be sure to arrive on time as we are not able to accommodate late arrivals.

There is no charge to make a reservation with your smartphone, but message and data rates may apply depending on your carrier. If no time slots are available, please try again later as additional reservations are often released hourly throughout the day depending on the number of tickets still available for scheduled showtimes. Need help making a reservation? Ask any Academy staff member for assistance.

Please note that planetarium shows may not be appropriate for children under 7, and we regret that we cannot permit any child under 4. Food and drink are not permitted inside the planetarium, and masks must be worn properly at all times.

How do I reserve a planetarium showtime during a NightLife visit?
To attend a planetarium show during NightLife, you must purchase a pass online in advance. You may add a pass to your NightLife ticket order for an additional $5 per pass for a 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, or 9:30 pm showtime. A limited number of standby seats will be available for all showtimes as space allows on a first-come, first-served basis.

When are planetarium showtimes?
Please view our Daily Calendar for the latest showtimes, noting that our planetarium schedule is subject to change without notice. 

What health and safety protocols are in place in the planetarium?
Staff and guest safety in the planetarium is our top priority, and a limited number of reservations are available per show. During every show, guests must keep their masks on at all times, and food and drink are strictly prohibited. After every show, our custodial staff will clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces, including handrails and armrests.

What if there are no reservations available?
Reservations for Morrison Planetarium are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and there are a limited number of reservations available per day for your safety. We regret that we can’t guarantee the availability of reservations during periods of high demand, especially weekends, holidays, and NightLife events, and recommend making your reservations as soon as you arrive (for daytime visits only) or online in advance (for NightLife visits only) for the greatest selection of available showtimes. Please help us maximize availability by only making reservations that you can keep, and canceling if you can’t make it.

Academy members and donors enjoy priority reservation access at the time of booking—and the freedom to visit all year long. Join today for as low as $99/year.

Cleaning, disinfection, and HVAC

Is the Academy cleaning and disinfecting more frequently?
Yes. High-touch surfaces like exhibits, restrooms, railings, and seating areas are cleaned and disinfected frequently throughout the day per CDC guidelines, and the entire building is cleaned and disinfected every evening after closing. While the risk of contracting COVID-19 from a contaminated surface—also known as fomite transmission—is thought to be extremely low, we’re doing everything we can to keep our guests, staff, and community safe.

How often are restrooms cleaned?
Restrooms are checked hourly and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected twice daily, and hand dryers have been removed and replaced with paper towels. Please maintain a courteous distance from other guests inside restrooms, keep your mask on (yes, even inside the stall!), and wash and dry your hands thoroughly before exiting.

I’m a little worried about recirculated air. Is it safe to be indoors?
The Academy follows ASHRAE’s (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) CDC-aligned recommendations for HVAC operations, including:

  • Reducing the use of recirculated air and using 100% outside air whenever possible
  • Purging of spaces with outside air before and after occupancy
  • Securing windows that negatively impact central HVAC airflow
  • Use of MERV-13 air filters with an increase in changing frequency
  • Use of portable high-efficiency air filters in some back-of-house areas
  • Use of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) in some areas

While safety can never be guaranteed in any public space, we believe that the Academy’s pre-entry health self-screening, mask requirement, and reduction of recirculated air in our indoor spaces will substantially reduce risk of community spread.

Health self-screening

How does the Academy screen guests for COVID-19?
For everyone’s health and safety, guests who have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms within 24 hours of their visit, have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 10 days of their visit, or have had close contact with anyone who has tested positive within 14 days of their visit will not be permitted to enter the Academy.

All guests are required to review important health and safety information before purchasing tickets online, and are asked to confirm their responses to a confidential health self-screening before being permitted to enter the museum. If you or anyone in your party can answer “yes” to any of the three questions on the screening, you will not be permitted to enter the Academy and will be invited to reschedule your visit for another day. Academy staff will be available to help you select another visit date.

Pre-visit health self-screening (view PDF):

  1. In the last 24 hours, including today, have you had ANY of the symptoms below, that is new or not explained by another condition?

    —fever (100.4°F/38°C or greater)
    —chills or shivering
    —cough, sore throat
    —shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
    —feeling unusually weak or fatigued
    —loss of taste or smell
    —muscle or body aches
    —headache
    —vomiting or diarrhea, nausea
     

  2. In the past 10 days, have you been diagnosed with COVID-19 or had a test confirming you have the virus?
     
  3. In the past 10-14 days, have you had “close contact” with anyone who has COVID-19, during their contagious period? “Close contact” includes:

    —being within 6 feet of them for a total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period
    —having direct contact with their bodily fluids (coughed or sneezed on you or shared food utensils)
    —living or staying overnight with them
    —having physical or intimate contact, including hugging and kissing
    —taking care of them, or having them take care of you

Are there temperature checks at the door?
At this time, the Academy has no plans to conduct temperature checks at the door in order to detect guests with fevers. While fevers over 100.4ºF are a common symptom of COVID-19, the consistent accuracy of infrared thermal temperature scanners and their effectiveness as a means of reducing community spread has not been established.

What precautions is the Academy taking to protect its staff?
Academy staff who can work remotely will continue to do so, while those whose work requires them to be in the building—such as animal care biologists, engineering staff, guest experience, security, and custodial staff—will be subject to the same daily health self-screening as guests, as well as our vaccination requirement. These staff members also continue to remain masked in all back-of-house areas and follow rigorous safety protocols to protect guests, animals, and each other.

Dining, shopping, and amenities

What dining options are available?
The Academy Café serves family-friendly favorites in a variety of options, as well as Andytown Coffee drinks. Indoor dining is no longer permitted, but we offer plenty of outdoor seating.

The Terrace Restaurant serves seasonal dishes made from locally-sourced ingredients, plus beer and wine.

Hours for both of our restaurants vary; please view our Dining page for more information.

Can I eat inside?
Sorry, eating and drinking indoors is prohibited at this time. After purchasing food and drink from the Café, head out to the West Garden or East Garden for abundant outdoor seating.

Can guests bring their own food?
Guests are welcome to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages. Please head to the East Garden to consume items brought from home.

Is the Academy Store open?
Yes, the Academy Store is open daily.

Is cash accepted?
Cash is accepted at all points of sale inside the Academy except locker rental, but cashless payments are preferred whenever possible. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.

Are elevators in service?
Yes, elevators are in service. For the comfort of other guests, please maintain a courteous distance when using elevators.

Are lockers available? How often are they cleaned?
Yes, lockers are located just off the main lobby and are available for rent for $5 per day for standard-size lockers and $8 per day for family-size lockers. Lockers are checked frequently and cleaned and disinfected daily. Payment for lockers is by credit card only.

Will I be able to rent a wheelchair?
Yes, wheelchairs are available for guests to use during their visit. Please see a Guest Experience staff member in the Lobby for assistance when you arrive. Wheelchairs are cleaned and disinfected after every use.

Please note

The enhanced health and safety measures described above are intended to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19, but this risk cannot be completely eliminated at the Academy or any other public space. Anyone visiting the Academy acknowledges that they do so at their own risk, and agrees to comply with all posted health and safety rules and staff instructions. The Academy reserves the right to ask any guest who fails to follow health and safety rules or staff instructions to leave the premises. Thank you for your help and your understanding. We’re all in this together!

For more information, please view the Assumption of Risk and Waiver for Entry.

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