Cal Academy of Sciences Discount Tickets + Skip The Line + Free Days.
Discount Tickets — California Academy of Sciences, in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, has so much to offer we want to go again and again. Maybe that’s why Conde’ Nast Traveler named it one of the “New Wonders of the World.” The museum boasts an aquarium, planetarium, and a natural history museum, all under a living roof.
On this page you’ll find:
One of my favorite new exhibits is “Whales: Giants of the Deep,” which runs through November 29, 2015. This, and all special exhibits, are included with the general admission below.
You can get the best deal on tickets with perks this way than when you get them directly or at the door. Cal Academy does this to draw hotel visitors, but locals can use them two. The deal below lets you skip-the-line, and you don’t need to choose your visit date in advance. Just follow the links below, then print and go whenever you like.
If you’d rather go on a free admission day, keep reading. Locals have special free days available. Not a local? The Academy of Sciences offers quarterly free days for everyone. Scroll down this page for details.
Cal Academy is home to an aquarium, natural history museum, planetarium, and world-class research and education programs, all under one living roof. Exhibits include a four-story living rainforest, live coral reef, state-of-the-art space show, interactive activities and programs for all ages, exhibits on climate change and evolution, thousands of live animals, and more.
The Cal Academy ticket offers listed below include admission to everything at the museum, and that means all the amazing special exhibits, too.
California Academy of Sciences Ticket Deals
Skip The Line Tickets
DEAL: California Academy of Sciences Skip-The-Line + Go Any Day (online only deal).
- Adult $32 – (reg. $34.95, more on peak days)
- Senior (65+) – $27 (reg. $29.95, more on peak days)
- Youth (12-17) – $27 (reg. $29.95 more on peak days)
- Child (4 –11) – $22 (reg. $24.95, more on peak days)
- Tots 3 & Younger – Free
NOTE: During peak days (around the holidays and summers), this price is cheaper than you’d pay at the museum. No coupon code needed. Skipping the long line outside during busy days is the way to go. And if you change your plans, you can just use these tickets later because they are “Any Day” tickets. (When you get tickets elsewhere you have to choose the date of your visit when you order.)
BEST DISCOUNTS NOW:
The best way to go now if you want to save on tickets is with a combo pass. Why? Two reasons: Cal Academy stopped offering regular discounts and coupons to upgrade their brand. And discount passes have gotten a lot better lately. The best option is the Go Select card (see below), because you can select as few as two activities (or as many as you want) to and save 20% or more on both/all, and you have an entire month to use them up. Plus you can get it online and show on your smart phone (or print a voucher if you prefer). My second choice would be the CityPASS, but these are all worth a look.
- Go Select San Francisco: Save 30% to 55% on Cal Academy of Sciences tickets when you bundle with one or more other SF Attraction (like SFMOMA or Aquarium Of The Bay). You have 30 days from the time you use the first ticket to use the second. Card comes with free 365 day cancellation insurance. Order online, show on your smart phone or print at home.
- Go San Francisco Card: This discount card provides free admission to 55+ Bay Area attractions including Cal Academy. Best when you’re coming in from out of town.
- San Francisco CityPASS: A discount card that provides free admission to six Bay Area attraction including the California Academy of Sciences. Saves you $57 overall.
OTHER WAYS TO SAVE:
- AAA Discount — If you’re a AAA sometimes offers a discount. Check with your CA AAA representative.
- Public Transportation Deal — Get $3 off anytime when you take public transportation or ride a bicycle to the museum. Simply show your public transportation ticket or bicycle.
DEALS THAT DON’T WORK
Lately we’ve been seeing coupon sites at the top of searches for for Cal Academy discount tickets, namely, Groupon and Savings Story. And big surprise — they don’t have one coupon or deal for this museum, just the regular prices you can get anyway on the Academy’s own website. Don’t be fooled by these.
NIGHTLIFE at California Academy of Sciences
Even if you missed the recent $2 off Nightlife deal, you can still get skip-the-line tickets and go hang with the animals and the party animals without waiting in the horrendous line with the rest of the crowd. Nightlife admission is only $12 (less than have the price of daytime tickets). You can get tickets for this price at the door. Better yet, you get them online here via our link and skip the long line out front.
NIGHTLIFE DEAL: Skip-The-Line Nightlife Tickets — $12. Cal Academy holds adults-only evening mixers every Thursday. These are theme parties with DJs and drinks. Print your voucher and go. Just look for the sign out front for speedy entry.
BIRTHDAY DEAL: Nightlife is free within 7 days of your birthday. The birthday offer is good for a single, non-transferable entrance to NightLife. You’ll have to get this one at the door (and that means waiting in line, so bring good friends). Bring a Valid ID with your birth date on it to the ticket window to receive one complimentary ticket.
WHEN: Nightlife is every Thursday night 6pm – 10pm.
FREE DAYS at California Academy of Sciences
Note: California Academy of Sciences changed its free day policy to target more working families, who found it difficult to make the previous Wednesday free days. Cal Academy now offers quarterly Free Sundays. Details below, along with the new dates for free Neighborhood Days by San Francisco zip code.
QUARTERLY FREE DAYS (for everyone): Here are the quarterly California Academy of Sciences free days coming up. Anyone can go, but it fills up fast so get there early (they open at 9:30am).
- Free Quarterly Sundays — next one is Sunday, June 7, 2015 (reminder: Sunday hours are 11am-5pm).
SAN FRANCISCO LOCAL FREE DAYS: Cal Academy offers Neighborhood Free Days by San Francisco zip code. Each visiting adult is limited to six children for free entry. You’ll need to show proof of residency. Follow the link above for free days in your SF district.
WHEN: Open daily except for certain holidays. REGULAR HOURS: Daily 9:30am – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm. Closed on Christmas Day. Nightlife is on Thursday nights from 6pm – 10pm. See closed and blackout days on the ticket page.
May 12-13, 2015 – Rainforest Closed
June 7, 2015 – FREE DAY
September 28-30, 2015 – Planetarium Closed
November 26, 2015 – HOLIDAY – CLOSED
November 30, 2015 – Whales Exhibit Closes
December 25, 2015 – HOLIDAY – CLOSED
- Peak Season Deals: If you get your tickets directly from Cal Academy during peak Holiday and Summer, you’ll pay Peak Prices. The deals above often stay lower. Like many museums, they bump up admission fees during busy seasons. But they don’t always get around to telling their ticket partners to do the same. This makes the deals listed above even savvier.
- Getting There: California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park is located at the following address: 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118.
- Where to Park: Parking is easy in the parking garage next to the museum, but is far from cheap. You can usually find free parking on the side streets near and behind the museum.
- Public Transportation: First off, BART doesn’t stop within walking distance. (If you’re using BART, ride to one of several transfer stations and catch Muni’s N line.) Other transit options on this CAS “Getting Here page.
- The Planetarium: Book your time as soon as you walk in the door! You’ll be sorry if you don’t. It’s free with your tickets, but you need to reserve your spot, first come first served.
- How Long to Stay: Most people spend about four hours in the museum. You can take a lunch break on site in the museum’s restaurant or snack area.
- Get the free App: Just before you go, get the free Cal Academy app. Called the Cal Academy Insider, this free iPhone app helps you navigate the museum, provides supplemental exhibit info, suggests self-guided tours, and makes sharing easy (via email, Twitter, Facebook).
- Did You Know: A little trivia to share with your friends and family — California Academy of Sciences has been called the ‘Greenest’ Museum in the World and is Platinum LEED certified.