Why We Love It: As the museum's own tagline says, you can "visit an aquarium, planetarium, and a natural history museum, all under one living roof." Seriously. The roof of the building is 87 percent covered in grass and filled with native plants as well as a few sustainable initiatives that keep the rest of the building green.
Naturally, the Steinhart Aquarium is a big draw, thanks to its giant fish tanks, one of which you can walk under, but we really love that there's a rainforest in the middle of San Francisco here at the California Academy of Sciences, with exotic butterflies, bugs, parrots, and plant species galore. (We also love that it keeps our skin nice and dewy for a little bit!) Just past that, is a random little swamp set-up with a rare albino alligator. Be sure to look for the friendly museum staffers in bright orange lab coats who will give you mini-lessons about what you're seeing in each exhibit.
The planetarium was a nice way to chill out for a little bit and there's a cafeteria on-site that puts most other museum food to shame. It is expensive, so if you're watching your budget, bring your own snacks. That said, it was nice to see a caf that goes all-out on sustainable ingredients, meals, and even packaging.
What Ages: All ages, even babies, but the elementary school-aged children will get the most out of this awesome museum.
When to Go: Anytime as this museum is open every single day of the year, including federal holidays. We did see that the museum is working on a new exhibit all about our spirit animals, whales, that will be opening in June 2018. So if you're planning a trip to San Francisco this summer, pop into see this brand-new space.
How Much Does It Cost?: This is a pricey stop with adult tickets starting at around $36 each and children from 4-11 at $21 and teens from 12-17 at $31. You can get a discount through CityPass which is actually a great way to see the sights in a lot of cities, not just San Francisco. You may also be forced to buy your children flippy sequin snakes from the gift store, but then again, that's what grandparents are for, right?
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Children's Fairlyland in Oakland