I found the CityPass's built-in transit pass invaluable and easy to use.
The ticket book IS the pass so it's one less thing to have to carry -- just flash the ticket book and you're on your way. The "F" streetcar is a great alternative to the cable cars between the Union Square area and Fisherman's wharf as they run much more frequently and, most importantly, there aren't long waits to get onto one the cable cars can have lines of 30 minutes or more at each end of the route. The "F", meanwhile, seldom has more than a handful of people waiting and it runs very frequently.
Here's a recommendation that you might not see very often on this Forum but I discovered this attraction, a few years ago and took some friends to see it who also loved it. It will involve taking the BART to Berkeley and then a short taxi ride or other transfer method but if your family likes museums this one's huge and a lot less expensive than Academy:. You could visit 10 times and still not see all of it. The gardens are laid out by geographic region so you can explore plants from South Africa or the Mediterranean, etc, etc. The gardens are built into the side of a massive hillside so you'll get a good workout trekking up and down the trails and if you get there in the early morning, the views of the sun cutting through the mist of the mountains is really fantastic.
If you're visiting during the first Thursday of the month, admission on that day is free. If you can't get enough of the science museums, Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley is an additional possibility.
Chabot planetarium in Oakland another possibility. Plus there are computer and tech museums in Silicon Valley. Thank you for the great ideas! I am going to try to fit in Chabot because we have family friends with a connection there and also I grew up going there and kind of want to check it out again.
We're flying into Oakland so maybe go the day we arrive. We are meeting up with a group on a weekend somewhere in Golden Gate Park. Kids range from baby to What would be a good place to meet? I am thinking Japanese garden. Also ideas for a place to pick up good picnic food? We are staying at Union Square and would be heading from our hotel to the park. If you walk to the Westfield Mall which is on Market, and go to the Basement, there is Bristol farms store with hot and cold food, meats, fruit and everything you need for a nice picnic.
Sure you can meet at the Japanese garden but I would suggest you find a nice spot to setup after you meet there as that would not be the spot for a picnic. There are tables with benches around the park but it does get crowded on weekends. Tip: All of your saved places can be found here in My Trips. Log in to get trip updates and message other travelers. Profile Join. Log in Join. City Pass vs Cal Academy of Sciences membership? Watch this Topic. Browse forums All Browse by destination.
San Francisco forums. All forums. Level Contributor. Report inappropriate content. Dioramas showcasing different African animals are in the museum, as well as an exhibit on the Islands of the Galapagos and Madagascar as well as an exhibit on climate change in California. The beautiful four-story rainforest is a feast for the senses. With warm temperatures, high humidity, dripping water and interesting animals, kids of all ages will be in awe.
The rainforest housed within a foot diameter glass dome that is accessed through a spiraling ramp. Inside the rainforest are free-flying birds and butterflies, as well as freshwater fish, and over 1, live animals. The tropical plants are equally as stunning as the animals.
The Naturalist Center is focused on providing resources to people interested in learning more about the natural work. It is open to Academy visitors and staff members are available to help you understand the various resources.
The rainforest housed within a foot diameter glass dome that is accessed through a spiraling ramp. Food is available. I would love to win tickets so I can visit and also bring a friend with me. I would go via public transit. Searching codes My favorite exhibit is the rainforest. I haven't checked routes or itinteraries yet but I'm guessing we'd be using those at least daily.
Aside from all the wonderful exhibits, the California Academy of Sciences building, itself, is worth a mention. It has a platinum rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Open daily except for certain holidays. Closed on Christmas Day. See closed and blackout days on the ticket page. Closed December 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.
Book your time as soon as you walk in the door! Most people spend about four hours in the museum. 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. We have two young, budding scientists. They are our adopted former foster children — ages 4 and 7. They love the California Academy and would like the chance to visit again. They need to see and study animals to help their dreams come true.
It was one of the most enriching, fun, educational moments in my youth.
I am now mentoring a middle school youth living in East Oakland. I want to be able to share what I experienced when I was younger with him as well as see the new California Academy of Sciences and experience something new together. It would be a great chance to fuse our generations together in an educational environment.
As a bonus he would be psyched to know that we won the tickets and I would too!! We had great times last year when we received a one year gift membership from the grandparents. This year we do not have membership just too expensive for the budget but my kids keep asking for the rain forest and the spiders. We have many great memories of the Cal Academy and wish that someone gives us a special gift again!
Please, pretty please!!!!!
My best memory was on Mothers day two years ago; we took a big family trip and went and saw the rainforest, all the butterflies were amazing! Now that my son is walking and able to appreciate i would love another family trip. My favorite exhibit is the rainforest. I remember standing there as still as a tree with my arms extended and having the butterflies land on my hand. I would love to win tickets so I can visit and also bring a friend with me. My son is turning 10 on St. We can spend ALL day and would love to — soon! Claud was so great as Santa Claud during Christmas time. Please keep up the good work and continue reaching out to the community — more people need to have access to your site!!!
We visited the Cal last summer for the first time and my son got fascinated! We still talk about how fun the visit to Cal was, but never had a chance to go there again since then. Please enter me in the contest to win the complimentary tickets. The first year I was given a membership for my birthday, I visited times. That would make my year. Hi bb — I just checked and both deal sources in my post do still show cheaper prices. What may be confusing is that these are about what the full price tickets were earlier this year.
The two ticket sources featured in my post both have cheaper prices than that until further notice. And one of them lets you skip the peak season line out front. Take another look. Thanks and Merry Christmas to you, too…. I love the aquarium exhibits. So many different fish from all over the world.
The rainforest area is also great. We have not had an opportunity to go the California Academy of Sciences but have always wanted to! I would love to take my family to experience the entire museum.
We need to go back so we can see the other exhibits! I always loved checking out the alligators. I have not been yet since it was re-done and have been wanting to go for a long time.