California Academy of Sciences

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California Academy of Sciences: Our most recommended tours and activities

San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Ticket

1. San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Ticket

Hop aboard a sightseeing bus for a tour of the 'City by the Bay' and delve into the fascinating history of San Francisco and its legendary sites, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman's Wharf. The hop-on-hop-off route stops at key points of interest all around San Francisco. Experience the diverse culture, beautiful parks, stunning architecture, and picturesque views from the top of an open-air sightseeing bus. Hop off and back on at your leisure to create your own customized itinerary around the city. Explore 3 routes depending on your ticket purchase. San Francisco City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Explore San Francisco’s famous landmarks on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour. Sit back and enjoy the ride as you cruise through the city on an open-top bus and learn about San Francisco's unique history Panoramic Night Tour Board the bus at Pier 41 at the end of Powell St in Fisherman's Wharf to explore the dazzling city of San Francisco at night. Climb up the historic Nob Hill for a stunning close-up view of the magnificent Grace Cathedral. Then, make your way across the grand Bay Bridge for picturesque views of the city skyline from Treasure Island, the site of the 1939’s World Fair. Heading back into the city, continue along the Embarcadero to view the glittering lights on the Port of San Francisco.

1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour

2. 1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour

The Official city tour begins in Fisherman's Wharf heading towards the ferry building, then downtown Union Square. Go on a shopping spree with the top brands in the world and take lots of pictures with the heart of San Francisco. The tour will then continue to the Civic Center which houses the City Hall, Opera House and Symphony Hall. Moving on, you will be at Alamo Square with the world famous attraction 'painted ladies' (Victorian houses) and taken back in time to 'Summer of Love' at Haight & Ashbury. Next stop will be Golden Gate Park which holds the California Academy of Sciences, De-Young Museum, Japanese Tea Gardens, Conservatory of flowers and many more attractions. From here, you will be taken to the most iconic attraction of San Francisco, The Golden Gate bridge. Don't forget your cameras to capture the great views of the bridge, Alcatraz Island and the Bay. On the way back to downtown, you will pass The Palace of Fine Arts. Continuing through Van Ness Ave, down to Chinatown with lots of restaurants and souvenir gift shops, bustling cultural shops and the famous Chinatown Gates. At the end of your tour, you will return to the Fisherman's Wharf area with Pier 39, San Francisco Dungeons, Aquarium of the Bay, Madame Tussauds, etc.

San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Golden Gate Bay Cruise

3. San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Make your way around San Francisco with a 1-day hop-on hop-off bus pass. Explore 17 points of interest or enjoy a 360 panoramic view of the city for two hours. Combine your pass with a 1-hour Golden Gate Bay cruise to sail around the wonderful areas of San Francisco. Golden Gate Bay Cruise Arrive at Fisherman's Wharf and look out for the red and white colors of the "Red & White Fleet" to find your boat. Sail past the lively neighborhood of North Beach and take advantage of the bar onboard with drinks, snacks, and merchandise. Admire the famous swimming clubs of the Aquatic Park and the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier. Enjoy idyllic views of Crissy Field and the Presidio of San Francisco before the stunning image of the Golden Gate Bridge comes into view. Cruise straight under the bridge as the sun shines and waves lap against the boat. Travel past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands to reach the shores of Sausalito, once home to the Flower Children. With Angel Island State Park to your left, finish your cruise outside the infamous Alcatraz prison. Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Exchange your voucher at any of the bus stops and get ready to discover the city of San Francisco. Discover local parks and architecture as you listen to the recorded commentary, available in 10 languages. The route of the hop-on hop-off bus includes 17 stops at iconic landmarks from Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Golden Gate Bridge, and Little Italy, this flexible approach to sightseeing allows you to enjoy your day at your own pace.

San Francisco: Go City All-Inclusive Pass 25+ Attractions

4. San Francisco: Go City All-Inclusive Pass 25+ Attractions

The San Francisco All-Inclusive Pass is an all-access city pass that offers the ultimate in convenience, cost savings, and flexibility for visitors to the Bay Area. Customers choose 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7-day passes at a low, pre-paid price. Use the pass to gain access to any and all of the 25+ included attractions, saving up to 55% off compared to full retail admissions. The California Academy of Sciences, Aquarium of the Bay, Exploratorium, bay cruises, theme parks and rides, bike rental, and much more are all included! See below for the complete list. The free digital guide helps you decide what to do, where to go, and how to get there. With the San Francisco All-Inclusive Pass, you’ll spend your time in the Bay Area collecting memories instead of credit card receipts. Attractions and activities included with the San Francisco All-Inclusive Pass: Tours and Cruises • Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off San Francisco: 1-day Classic Tour • Escape from the Rock - Cruise around Alcatraz • San Francisco Bay Cruise • Scenic Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour • Go Car San Francisco 30-min Rental • One All-Day Comfort Bike Rental by Blazing Saddles • Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour • Fisherman's Wharf Walking Tour • Tiled Steps Urban Hiking Tour • Golden Gate Park Bike Rental by Unlimited Biking Museums and Places of Interest • Aquarium of the Bay • Exploratorium • Madame Tussauds • California Academy of Sciences • The Walt Disney Family Museum • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom • The Flyer - San Francisco's Flying Theater • California's Great America • San Francisco Zoo & Gardens • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) • Legoland Discovery Center • de Young Museum and Legion of Honor • USS Pampanito • Asian Art Museum • USS Hornet Museum • The Contemporary Jewish Museum • The Beat Museum • California Historical Society Attractions and tours are subject to change. Check your included digital guide for an up-to-date attraction line-up including opening times and instructions on how to access each attraction with your pass before you go.

San Francisco CityPASS®: Save 45% at 4 Top Attractions

5. San Francisco CityPASS®: Save 45% at 4 Top Attractions

With so much to see and do in San Francisco, it is often difficult to know where to begin with your sightseeing schedule. Avoid the hassle with the San Francisco CityPASS, featuring top attractions priced at 44% less than the same tickets purchased separately. San Francisco CityPASS provides admission into: 1. California Academy of SciencesClimb into the canopy of a butterfly-filled four-story rainforest. Come face-to-face with a colony of penguins, then explore the outer limits of the universe in a 75-foot planetarium. Decompress in front of the deepest indoor coral reef on Earth. At the Academy, you’ll get to experience nearly 40,000 of the world’s most beautiful, unusual creatures — from the heart of Golden Gate Park. 2. Blue & Gold Fleet San Francisco Bay CruiseComplete your visit to San Francisco with Blue & Gold Fleet’s 1-hour bay cruise adventure. Sail underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, around Alcatraz, and past Angel Island on this fully-narrated tour offering breathtaking views. Plus, get admission to your choice of 2 more of the following attractions: Aquarium of the BayMeet local inhabitants of the San Francisco Bay and surrounding watersheds at Aquarium of the Bay, located at Pier 39 next to Fisherman’s Wharf. Experience the closest thing to being underwater when you walk through glass tunnels with close-up views of sharks, bat rays, Spiny Lumpsuckers, and Garibaldis. The Walt Disney Family MuseumVisit the Walt Disney Family Museum in the scenic San Francisco Presidio. Find animation, innovation, and inspiration through interactive galleries featuring films, music, artifacts, and a spectacular model of Disneyland. Explore Walt’s remarkable life story, told through his own voice, family photographs, and personal collections. Exploratorium Embrace the wild wonder at the intersection of science and art at the Exploratorium, the most experimental museum in the world. Tinker and play with more than 650 interactive exhibits and immerse yourself in San Francisco’s independent, innovative culture. San Francisco Zoo & GardensSan Francisco Zoo & Gardens is home to more than 2000 exotic, endangered, and rescued animals on 100 acres of majestic and peaceful gardens nestled against the Pacific Ocean. In addition to many animals, the zoo offers entertainment for the whole family to enjoy, including the historic steam train, carousel, and uniquely themed play zone area that will ignite the imagination of children of all ages.

San Francisco: Go City Explorer Pass with 2-5 Attractions

6. San Francisco: Go City Explorer Pass with 2-5 Attractions

Explore San Francisco at your own pace and according to your interests with an easy-to-use sightseeing pass. Select 2, 3, 4, or 5 must-see, must-do attractions and tours from a comprehensive choice of over 25 things to do in San Francisco. Save time and money as you don't have to buy separate attraction tickets. Ride the hop-on-hop-off Big Bus tour and get to know the city, enjoy a San Francisco bay cruise, visit informative museums, rent a Go Car for an hour, experience the thrills of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, and much more. Tours and cruises: • Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off San Francisco: 1-day Classic Tour • San Francisco Bay Cruise • Escape from the Rock - Cruise around Alcatraz • All-Day Comfort Bike Rental by Blazing Saddles • Go Car Tours San Francisco 1-Hour • Scenic Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour • 1 Day MUNI Pass • Fisherman's Wharf Walking Tour • Tiled Steps Urban Hiking Tour • San Francisco All-Day Bike Rentals at Golden Gate Park Museums and places of interest: • California Academy of Sciences • Aquarium of the Bay • Exploratorium • Madame Tussauds • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom • San Francisco Zoo & Gardens • The Flyer - San Francisco's Flying Theater • The Walt Disney Family Museum • California's Great America • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) • de Young Museum and Legion of Honor • Legoland Discovery Center • USS Pampanito • Asian Art Museum • USS Hornet Museum • The Contemporary Jewish Museum Please note attractions and tours are subject to change. Check your included digital guide for an up-to-date attraction line-up including opening times and instructions on how to access each attraction with your pass before you go.

San Francisco: 1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off City and Night Tour

7. San Francisco: 1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off City and Night Tour

Explore San Francisco with a 1-day ticket, that includes two most popular hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tours. You can hop on and off the bus at any of the designated stops to explore all the major sights of San Francisco at your own pace. The Official City Tour - Hop On, Hop Off This 2 hour tour provides the best views of San Francisco's Downtown, Union Square, The Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park from a Double Decker Bus. Be sure to bring your camera, there will be plenty of photo opportunities to commemorate your visit to the city by the bay.  Official City Tour Highlights: Ghirardelli Square – Over 40 shops and restaurants, including the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop, world famous for its ice cream sundaes. Palace of Fine Arts – Built for the World Fair has been a favorite wedding location for couples throughout the San Francisco Bay area. Also a popular location for many festival celebrations, orchestras and events. Golden Gate Bridge – A great place to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge or visit the Presidio and its former Military establishments Golden Gate Park – An exciting place to visit a number of museums and attractions such as The Conservatory of Flowers, The California Academy of Sciences and The deYoung Museum. Haight/Ashbury – More commonly known as the “Hippie District”, Haight maintains the Summer of Love feel with its numerous shops and murals dedicated to the 1960’s. City Hall – Great photo opportunities of the San Francisco City Hall structures near to the Opera House, Symphony Hall and Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Union Square – The central shopping district in San Francisco, featuring Macy’s, Tiffany’s, Neiman Marcus, Victoria’s Secret, Saks Fifth Avenue, and hundreds of other major retailers. Fisherman’s Wharf – Located on the northern waterfront, this area is best known for Pier 39 (shopping, restaurants, sea lions and much more), San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, the Cannery Shopping Center, Alcatraz Landing, and many other attractions. San Francisco Night Tour This live narrated bus tour shows you the most vibrant neighborhoods of the city at night. Enjoy panoramic views of San Francisco from the top of a double decker bus from Treasure Island. The tour will be led by knowledgeable guides, to make your evening in San Francisco unforgettable.

GoCar 3-Hour Tour of San Francisco's Parks and Beaches

8. GoCar 3-Hour Tour of San Francisco's Parks and Beaches

Let a GPS-guided, talking GoCar be your guide through the beaches and city parks of San Francisco during this 3-hour tour. GoCar lets you experience the beauty of San Francisco and visit places tour buses cannot go – all at your own pace. Zip around in a cute, yellow, storytelling GoCar as it takes you on your own GPS-guided tour. The GoCar is easy and fun to drive and, since it's GPS-guided, the car knows where you are – even if you don't. With you in the driver's seat, it not only tells you where to turn, it tells stories that bring San Francisco to life. Let GoCar guide you to San Francisco's lesser-known beaches such as China Beach and Baker Beach, infamous for a deadly shark attack. Wind past the Cliff House as you descend the cliffs, opening up the dramatic expanse of Ocean Beach. Next, you can visit famous Golden Gate Park and all its attractions, including live buffalo, the Japanese Tea Garden, the M. H. de Young Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Conservatory of Flowers. If you are a fan of the 1960s and 70s, you can extend your tour to Haight-Ashbury, made famous by Janis Joplin, the Grateful dead, and Jefferson Airplane during the Summer of Love.

San Fancisco: Golden Gate Park Surrey Rental

9. San Fancisco: Golden Gate Park Surrey Rental

Pedal through the designated surrey route in the majestic Golden Gate Park. Your two-person surrey will fit two adults and one or two small children in the front child seats, and the four-person surrey will fit four adults and one or two small children in the front child seats. You'll enjoy your hour-long surrey rental by traveling on a designated route in Golden Gate Park. Starting from the music concourse, you'll ride down JFK drive, passing the botanical gardens and Japanese Tea Garden and exploring the beauty this 1,000-acre park has to offer. Later, circle around the Stow Lake Boathouse, where you can see boaters paddling and birds nestling by the lake. The ride concludes past the museums back inside the Golden Gate Park. Particular points of interest that you will encounter include Kezar Stadium, Sharon Meadow, the Conservatory of Flowers, the California Academy of Flowers, the Shakespeare Gardens, the De Young Museum, and the Stow Lake Boathouse.

San Francisco: Golden Gate Park Private Segway Tour

10. San Francisco: Golden Gate Park Private Segway Tour

Experience Golden Gate Park from a different perspective on a private Segway tour. Glide through the urban park by personal transporter, and stop to spend time at its many treasures. Get a fascinating commentary through a compact single earbud sound system as you follow the designated trails. Journey along streets of light traffic at low speed for your comfort and safety. First, benefit from a personal, 1-to-1, 30 to 35-minute safety briefing to ensure you feel confident on the self-balancing vehicles. Then, set off to discover the many landmarks, museums and gardens of Golden Gate Park, such as the Japanese Tea Garden, Shakespeare Garden and Conservatory of Flowers. Encounter hidden gems along the way! Golden Gate Park is larger than New York's Central Park, and once consisted of sand dunes now covered with more than 75,000 trees. The 7-mile (11.2-kilometer) route you will take explores the eastern section of the 1,017-acre (411-hectare) park. See highlights such as the De Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Music Concourse and Temple of Music, Lily Pond and much more. Experience the beauty of the park’s trees, flowers and plants as you traverse the winding trails and bike paths past sites such as the Fern Grotto, San Francisco Botanical Gardens and Rose, Rhododendron and Dahlia Gardens.

Other Sightseeing Options in California Academy of Sciences

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What people are saying about California Academy of Sciences

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 1,030 reviews

If you’re planning to visit or site see San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas or other cities, the red Big Bus is the way to go. You can get in and get out of the bus. Two days pass is needed if you want to stop on all locations in San Francisco and it’s cheaper too. Since we got on and off in different spots, some Red Big Bus drivers drive smoothly while some drove rough.

Use for 3 activities, but we wished we had taken 5. Definitely take if you want more than one activity, it's much cheaper. We took a cruise under the Golden Gate, big bus to do absolutely we learn a lot about the city and a good way to go on the Golden Gate! And the third was the scientific museum of natural history.

Best bang for your buck! If you’re planning to be here a few days and want to see the most while paying less this is what you need! Super easy to use. I would recommend getting on the hop on hop off bus to reach the attractions that are not close to the pier. And google the attractions hours of operation to plan better.

It was great! We got to see everything overall with the ability to get off and explore the things that interested us more. It was worth not having to rent a car and searching for locations or parking and still getting back to our original starting point.

Open air top floor is fun. Two days was great - there is so much to see!