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California Academy of Sciences Behind-the-Scenes VIP Tour

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San Francisco, United States

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Free Cancellation
up to 24 hours in advance
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icon45 minutes  (Approx.)
Paper ticket
iconOffered in: English

Keeping you safe during COVID-19
What you can expect during your visit
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Face masks provided for travelers
Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
Social distancing enforced throughout experience
Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
Guides required to regularly wash hands
Regular temperature checks for staff
More questions?
(888) 651-9785

Overview

Enhance your visit to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco on this special behind-the-scenes tour to learn about the facility's animal life or its research focus. Plus, your tour grants you general admission, so you can also explore the attraction’s 4-story rain forest and planetarium at your own pace. Express entry to the Rain Forest exhibit and a reserved ticket to a show at Morrison Planetarium are also included.
  • Admission ticket at California Academy of Sciences, one of the largest public ‘green’ buildings in the US
  • Receive a reserved seat at Morrison Planetarium, one of the world's largest digital planetariums
  • Gain express entry to the Rain Forests of the World exhibit
  • Small-group tour limited to 14 people ensures an intimate experience
Saved to wishlist!
45-minute physically distanced guided tour
Behind-the-scenes access
VIP entry into the Osher Rainforest and earthquake simulator
10% discount at Academy stores and restaurants
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Gratuities

Departure Point

California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA 94118-4503
Make your way to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, where the California Academy of Sciences is located. Breeze right past the long ticket lines, and head into this super-popular attraction that includes a planetarium and a 4-story rain forest. Enjoy express entry into the rain forest exhibit and a reserved seat at a Morrison Planetarium show. Feel free to explore all the exhibits the museum has to offer before or after your scheduled tour.

On this insider-access tour, explore the museum from a science and research perspective. With your museum guide, learn about the institution's 160-year history and how its scientists are tackling critical questions about life on Earth. Visit the research collections and a working laboratory; get closer to the living roof; and see breathtaking geology specimens in the vault.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
California Academy of Sciences
Enjoy exclusive access and see what's beyond the museum with a Behind-the-Scenes tour. Spend an hour behind the scenes learning more about the institution’s 160-year history and what it takes to house nearly 46 million specimens. Visit the research collections, not on view to the public, and develop an appreciation for our vast library of life, which includes amazing specimens from our ichthyology (fish), entomology (insects), and ornithology (birds) departments. From stepping out onto our living roof (weather permitting) to examining breathtaking geology specimens in our private vault, the Academy tour is sure to show you more of the museum than you ever knew existed.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Morrison Planetarium
Morrison Planetarium shows take place throughout the day; you will receive a reserved ticket to the show of your choice
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Steinhart Aquarium
Visit the Aquarium and any of the other exhibits at your own leisure after your behind-the-scenes tour.
Admission Ticket Included
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Great for guests 4+, and guests between the ages of 8 and 17 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Maximum of 6 people per tour
  • Wheelchair accessible; wheelchairs are available at Coat Check on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Infant seats available
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
  • OPERATED BY California Academy of Sciences

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during California Academy of Sciences Behind-the-Scenes VIP Tour?
A:
The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Face masks provided for travelers
See all safety measures taken by California Academy of Sciences Behind-the-Scenes VIP Tour.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitization during California Academy of Sciences Behind-the-Scenes VIP Tour?
A:
The policies on sanitization are:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
See all safety measures taken by California Academy of Sciences Behind-the-Scenes VIP Tour.
Q:
What is the social distancing policy during California Academy of Sciences Behind-the-Scenes VIP Tour?
A:
The policy on social distancing is:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
See all safety measures taken by California Academy of Sciences Behind-the-Scenes VIP Tour.
Q:
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during California Academy of Sciences Behind-the-Scenes VIP Tour?
A:
The policies on staff health & safety are:

  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Regular temperature checks for staff
See all safety measures taken by California Academy of Sciences Behind-the-Scenes VIP Tour.
Q:
What is the maximum group size during California Academy of Sciences Behind-the-Scenes VIP Tour?
A:
This activity will have a maximum of 14 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by California Academy of Sciences Behind-the-Scenes VIP Tour.

Traveler Photos

Traveler Tips


  • "Guided tours are awesome, but private guided tours are the best!" See review
  • "Definitely worth the time and money to see the behind-the-scene collection!" See review

Reviews

4.5
star-4.5
45 Reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 45 reviews
star-5
Definitely worth the time and money to...
Kristine v
, Sep 2018
Definitely worth the time and money to see the behind-the-scene collection!
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
Word to the wise: book during work...
Robert F
, Mar 2018
Word to the wise: book during work hours. Tell your boss you're sick or schedule some emergency dental work with a doctor who never keeps schedules, but going to the California Academy of Sciences for a Behind-the-Scenes Tour during work hours almost ensures that your tour group will be tiny, if not non-existent such as it was for me. Guided tours are awesome, but private guided tours are the best! My tour guide was Lee from Minnesota. Lee led me up to the living roof as in roof that has plants living on it, not roof with a couch and TV and tacky pictures of in-laws first and onto a part of the roof where no one else could go where she showed me the whale bones they were bleaching for preservation. Apparently, the California Academy of Sciences is part of a beached whale watch group and will travel for beached whales up and down 500 miles of California coastline. Everyone needs a hobby, yeah? From the roof, we went into the biology wing, where I let into both plant and mammal sample storage rooms. In 20 minutes' time, I saw and held samples from the original academy, saved by a scientist who ran into a burning building during the earthquake in 1906 and then walked through a hallway of ethanol-filled jars preserving mammals not for the squeamish. All throughout the tour, Lee peppered me with information not only about the science I was witness to, but also the history of the building and the practice of the academy. Technically not a museum, the research done at the academy disqualifies it from such a classification. Rather than just be interested in preservation, the scientists there ask where, when, how, and why about every what. To the person who watches a movie, play, or even magic trick and wonders, 'how,' this is the perfect tour. Five stars to Lee, five stars to the California Academy of Sciences, and five stars to the albino alligator who I'm pretty sure was named Frank.
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star-5
Our guide for the behind-the-scenes...
Linda L
, Jan 2018
Our guide for the behind-the-scenes tour of the California Academy of Sciences was extraordinary and very passionate about her work and the research work being performed at the Academy.
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star-1
Were somewhat disappointed in this...
Carolyn A
, Oct 2017
Were somewhat disappointed in this tour, we had skip the line tickets which we had to present to the special desk at the left of the building which was un attended, we were told basically tough join the ordinary queue which was very long, we then approached a Manager who told us there was no such thing as Skip the Line, that was a Company name and did not mean we could skip the line. When we did eventually gain access our ticket included a trip to the Rainforest Exhibit which was closed, so we paid for two things we did not get!
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star-5
The aquarium tour was outstanding. We...
Jon C
, Oct 2017
The aquarium tour was outstanding. We should have spent more than one day here!
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star-5
This is absolutely the way to go...
Valerie T
, Sep 2017
This is absolutely the way to go. Not only do you get a behind the scenes tour, but you also get to skip the line for several attractions inside as well as skipping the line to enter the facility. This is the only way to do the California Academy of Sciences!
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star-5
An excellent behind the scenes tour...
Julie M
, Sep 2017
An excellent behind the scenes tour. I thoroughly recommend it, the place is awesome. I'll definitely go back next time I'm n the city
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star-5
Best tour ever got so much more from...
cangeletti13
, Jul 2017
Best tour ever got so much more from the behind the scenes aspect. So much more information, insight, and fun for the whole family.
HelpfulHelpful
star-5
I cannot say enough good things...
Ngayan L
, Jul 2017
I cannot say enough good things about the tour because it did allow us to enter places that most people weren't allowed to and we were shown things that were not commonly seen in public. It was interesting, informative, fun, and exciting. The pass for the tour also allowed us to get 10 off most everything in the museum including photos, food, and merchandise. Best yet, it allowed us to skip the line for the Rainforest and shows at the Planetarium. It was definitely worth the cost. The Academy itself is a lot of fun for both grown-ups and kids. The aquarium at the bottom level is most enchanting, and the butterfly garden in the Rainforest is mesmerizing. I definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to take a break doing the usual touristy stuff in San Francisco.
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star-4
My group was not sure where to pick...
wanda_wise
, Apr 2017
My group was not sure where to pick up our passes out side the Academy larger sign might be helpful but once inside very helpful and great day was had by my family. We had been to the Academy of Sciences as children the changes greatly improved our visit. WE started the day at opening and left at closing the whole family enjoyed the day.
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Product code: 5072BTS

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