The California Academy of Sciences is a natural history museum that is among the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing over 26 million specimens. The Academy began in 1853 as a learned society and still carries out a large amount of original research, It is one of the most prestigious institutions in the US, and one of the few institutes of natural sciences in which public experience and scientific research occur at the same location.
Completely rebuilt in 2008, the building covers 400,000 square feet and is among the newest natural history museums in the United States. The primary building in Golden Gate Park reopened on September 27, 2008
Combining exhibition space, education, conservation and research beneath one roof, the Academy also comprises natural history museum, aquarium and planetarium. The varied shapes of these different elements are expressed in the building’s roofline, which follows the form of its components.
With its native plant–covered living roof, retractable ceiling, three-story rain forest, gigantic planetarium, living coral reef, and frolicking penguins, the California Academy of Sciences is one of the city's most spectacular treasures. It's an eco-friendly, energy-efficient adventure in biodiversity and green architecture. The roof's large mounds and hills mirror the local topography, and Piano's audacious design completes the dramatic transformation of the park's Music Concourse. Moving away from a restrictive role as a museum that catalogued natural history, the academy these days is all about sustainability and the future. The locally beloved dioramas in African Hall have survived the transition, however.
By the time you arrive, hopefully you've decided which shows and programs to attend, looked at the academy's floor plan, and designed a plan to cover it all in the time you have. And if not, here's the quick version: Head left from the entrance to the wooden walkway over otherworldly rays in the Philippine Coral Reef, then continue to the Swamp to see Claude, the famous albino alligator. Swing through African Hall and gander at the penguins, take the elevator up to the living roof, then return to the main floor and get in line to explore the Rainforests of the World, ducking free-flying butterflies and watching for other live surprises. You'll end up below ground in the Amazonian Flooded Rainforest, where you can explore the academy's other aquarium exhibits.
With over 600 indoor and outdoor experimental art and science exhibits where you can play with, tinker, and touch, the The Exploratorium in San Francisco is considered to be the most interactive museum in the world! It’s a huge, unique playground for your mind!
If you are looking for an activity on a rainy day, something that both adult and children will enjoy - The Exploratorium is an excellent choice! This learning laboratory will spark your interest, make you think and marvel at different subjects like the human body, outer space, science, and arts.
You will be thrilled by the Tactile Dome, one of the most visited places inside the museum. Here you can let your sense of feeling discover a pitch-black sphere. The shadow room is another exciting and fun place to explore, where light projects people’s shadow onto a wall. You will also be amazed at a diorama of San Francisco created with just toothpicks and glue! It took the artist 37 long years to build this piece of art which includes ramps that allow ping-pong balls visit each of the city’s popular destinations.
The exhibits’ interactive nature will definitely entertain you the whole time you’re there! There will never be a dull moment at The Exploratorium! And even if you’re not that interested about sciences, you’ll definitely be surprised that you’re already enjoying. This is because the designers of this museum did an excellent job to make sure that each exhibit is fun and will trigger curiosity.
This world-class establishment situated on Pier 15 is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 in the morning to five in the afternoon. On Thursday, hours are extended until 10 in the evening for 18 years old and above. For adults, tickets are sold at $25, $19 for senior citizens as well as for kids six to 17 years old. Five-year old children and below are accommodated in The Exploratorium free of charge!
The museum after dark is as exquisite as in day time! But there is something extra special, something extra exciting, fun, and magnificent about the place at night. The Adult Happy Hour starts at 6 pm and ends at 10 pm. Join the fun and discover the place with the help of our expert tour guides in San Francisco.
So what are you waiting for? Let your mind play and immerse yourself in the wild wonder of science and the art. The Exploratorium will change the way you learn! Contact Private Tours San Francisco for a one-of-a-kind private guided tour in San Francisco.
Since the 1860s the Chinatown in San Francisco has been a popular tourist attraction; a home to one of the biggest Chinese communities beyond the borders of the Asian continent. Chinatown’s main vein is Grant Avenue and its adjacent alleys and streets are rich in culture and history.
The Chinatown Gate located at the intersection of the Grant Avenue and Bush Street is the perfect spot to start your guided tour in San Francisco. You’ll be greeted by the traditional dragons that “crawl” across the top of the gate as well as the fou dogs that guard this beautiful gate.
You’ll pass by colorful queues of shops selling memorabilia as you continue your tour to the famous Grant Avenue and to the Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral. This basilica dedicated in 1854 was San Francisco’s very first Catholic cathedral. It was made of bricks and beautiful granite rocks from China.
If you continue walking along Grant Avenue you’ll find the Chinatown Kite Shop famous for its kooky, colorful collection of fun flying creatures: dragonflies, owls, butterflies, and cartoon characters. You’ll also find Chinatown’s oldest bakery -- the Eastern Bakery built in 1924. Enjoy their freshly baked pastries and their best seller: the lotus golden yolk mooncake.
Waverly Place is another must-see. It’s also known as the “street of painted balconies” because of the colorful building facades nestled along this street. This place was once dubbed as the “15-cent street” because hair cut services here were at 15 cents! Today, haircuts start at around $6. At the mid section of Waverly Place, you’ll see the Tin How Temple, America’s oldest Chinese temple, built in 1852.
Past the Clay Street, you’ll see the Chinese Historical Society Museum founded in 1932 which showcases historic artifacts and photographs that tell the stories of Chinese migrating in the American continent.
Near Stockton Street is the heart of Chinatown’s commerce. Visit the busy shops to see barrels filled with ginseng, shelves packed with herbal medicine, and windows full of beautifully roasted ducks.
The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company sitting at the Ross Alley is famous for its freshly baked wafer. You’ll be amused by women in the shop making fortune cookies at an amazing speed and expertise.
You can end your guided private tour at the Portsmouth Square. At this very place, Captain John Montgomery of the USS Portsmouth raised the flag of the USA for the first time in San Francisco in the year 1846. This is a very special and historic spot which now serves as a beautiful rendezvous for family and friends of all ages.
Have a taste of Chinatown’s knotty food and drinks, unravel its interesting history, and experience its rich culture with the help of our expert tour guides here at Private Tours San Francisco!
Things to do in SF!