• Lush rolling hills with open skylights on the Academy's Living Roof
    Adventure off the beaten track atop our lush Living Roof.
  • View of the 4-story glass dome of Academy's Osher Rainforest
    Enjoy priority access into the four-story indoor rainforest.
  • Tour guests atop the Living Roof
    See science in action and learn why whale bones are on the Living Roof.
  • Guests in sleeping bags in front of Philippine Coral Reef exhibit during Academy sleepover
    Explore the exhibits after hours at a Penguins+Pajamas Sleepover.

See the Academy in a whole new light—or with the lights out!—on one of our fascinating tours or Penguins+Pajamas Sleepovers.


VIP Tour

Colorful wildflowers on the Academy's Living Roof

Explore the secrets of one of the world's greenest museums on this hour-long tour. Examine rare specimens in our collections, be dazzled in our private gem vault, head off the beaten track atop our living roof, and enjoy 10% off at Academy stores and restaurants. (Please note: Tour includes stairs and unpaved paths. However, the tour route can be shifted to avoid stairs if needed, no advance notice is required.)

  • Priority entrance to Osher Rainforest and The Shake House earthquake simulator*
  • Reserved seating for a planetarium show
  • Includes 10% off shopping and dining
  • Guests must be age 8 or older to participate

Tour guests must also purchase a Daytime Admission ticket to join a tour. Visit our Buy Tickets page to purchase a Daytime Admission ticket, then add VIP Tour tickets to your order after Step 3.


Birthday Parties

Child with face paint smiling and holding a crayon

Celebrate Academy-style with one of four customizable parties for children ages 4-12!

  • 2-hour party room rental, including setup and cleanup
  • Interactive stories and games with your dedicated party host
  • Express entry into Osher Rainforest and The Shake House earthquake simulator
  • Reserved seating in the Morrison Planetarium (minimum age of 4)
  • A special gift for the birthday child and party favors for all kids

NightLife Plus

A close up of the Academy's Gem and Mineral Vault

Cocktails, collections, and VIP access. Cultivate your curiosity with NightLife Plus. 

  • 2 complimentary cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres
  • Complimentary tickets to a Morrison Planetarium show
  • Private bar on the 3rd floor in the Gems and Minerals Unearthed exhibit
  • Priority entrance to Osher Rainforest and The Shake House
  • Exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the Academy’s research collections with a guided tour
  • 10% discount at the Café and retail stores
  • Digital scavenger hunt of the Academy's exhibits

Ticket prices vary by date—plan ahead and save! For guests 21+ with ID.


Penguins+Pajamas Sleepovers

A family gets cozy for the night in front of a gigantic aquarium exhibit.

Slumber like a sea cucumber during a family-friendly overnight stay — and find out what nearly 60,000 live animals get into after-hours.


  • Overnight stay in one of our iconic exhibits
  • Rainforest access until 8 pm
  • Planetarium showings
  • Late night snack and early morning breakfast
  • Overnight parking and next-day museum admission
  • For ages 4 and up; adult chaperones (18+) required


Got tour questions? We've got answers!

What will I see on a VIP Tour?  

Our VIP Tours visit behind-the-scenes spaces of the Academy including our Living Roof (weather permitting) and various collection rooms. The tour does not spend much time on the public side of the museum, and will not visit exhibits such as the rainforest or aquarium.

What is the minimum age requirement for VIP Tours?  

All VIP Tour guests must be age 8 or older. 

Is there a lot of walking on the VIP Tour?  

Yes! Our VIP Tours are walking tours, and include walking up and down stairs, on uneven outdoor terrain, and standing for about an hour. Restrooms are not available on the tour.

We can shift the tour route to avoid stairs if needed, no advance notice is required. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email us at experiences@calacademy.org or call us at 415-379-5854 to inquire about accessible tour options.

Can I take photos on the VIP Tour?  

Yes! Photos are allowed on our tours, but flash photography and video recording are prohibited. If your tour guide has any specific photography rules, they will tell you at the beginning of your tour.

Will I meet scientists or see them working on my tour?  

VIP Tours typically don't venture into areas where scientists are working, as our scientists like to give tours plenty of space. Rest assured that your tour guide is very knowledgeable about the Academy and our current research, so please feel free to ask as many questions as you like!

Interested in a tour for your group?

Please complete this form if you're interested in booking a tour for a large group and we'll follow up with you.