Tours & activities by Travora Media from Viator

Skip the Line: California Academy of Sciences Behind-the-Scenes Tour

36 Reviews

  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Duration: Varies (approx.)
  • Tour code: 5072BTS
Skip the line and go behind-the-scenes at San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences – the only place on Earth with an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and 4-story rainforest all under one (living) roof! On this small-group insider tour, enjoy an intimate look at either the academy’s research focus or animal life. Choose the Academy Tour to explore a lab, see the collection of rare gems and learn about the museum's history and scientists. Choose the Aquarium Tour to see and learn how the animals are cared for that live in the building. Both options include a reserved ticket to Morrison Planetarium and express entry to Rainforests of the World.


  • Skip the line
  • Small group ensures personal service
  • Ideal choice for families
No matter which behind-the-scenes tour you choose, you’ll dive deep into the California Academy of Sciences, learning about its commitment to science, research, education and conservation, both inside the exhibits and around the world.

Academy Tour
On this insider-access tour, explore the ‘world’s greenest museum’ from a science and research perspective. With your museum guide, learn about the institution's 159-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.

Aquarium Tour
With this option, learn about the history of Steinhart Aquarium and how biologists care for the 38,000 animals – including butterflies, fish, penguins and even an albino alligator – that live in the building. Visit the food-prep kitchen and see the complex water filtration system.

Both options include general admission to the museum, so you can visit all of the exhibits at your leisure before or after your tour. You’ll also receive a reserved seat at Morrison Planetarium and express entrance to Rainforests of the World, a 4-story rainforest exhibit that takes you through many of the planet’s eco-systems.

Recent Photos of this Tour

Schedule details

Select a month to view a calendar of availability and departure details.

Departure Dates:
Departure Point:
California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park
Departure Time:
Academy Hours of Operation:
9:30am-5pm Monday to Saturday
11am-5pm Sunday
  • Academy Tour: Monday–Friday at 11 am and 2 pm; Weekends at 11am, 2pm, and 3:30pm
  • Aquarium Tour: Monday–Friday at 1 pm; Weekends at 10am, 1pm, and 3pm

Pricing information

Click the link below to check pricing & availability on your preferred travel date. Our pricing is constantly updated to ensure you always receive the lowest price possible.

Academy 11am Tour
Code: ACA1100

Behind-the-Scenes Academy Tour at 11am

USD $59.90
Pricing details
Academy 2pm Tour
Code: ACA200

Behind-the-Scenes Academy Tour at 2pm

USD $59.90
Pricing details
Academy 3:30pm Tour
Code: ACA330

Behind-the-Scenes Academy Tour at 3:30pm

USD $59.90
Pricing details
Aquarium 10am Tour
Code: AQU1000

Behind-the-Scenes Aquarium Tour at 10am

USD $59.90
Pricing details
Aquarium 1pm Tour
Code: AQU100

Behind-the-Scenes Aquarium Tour at 1pm

USD $59.90
Pricing details
Aquarium 3pm Tour
Code: AQU300

Behind-the-Scenes Aquarium Tour at 3pm

USD $59.90
Pricing details

Pricing information

Skip the Line: California Academy of Sciences Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Guide on the Living Roof

  • General admission
  • 1-hour behind-the-scenes guided tour
  • Express entry to the Rainforests of the World exhibit
  • Reserved Morrison Planetarium seat
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Gratuities (optional)
Additional Information:
  • Guests 8 years and older
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Passes to special exhibits are handed out daily on a first-come, first-served basis and are subject to availability
  • Maximum of 14 people per tour
  • Morrison Planetarium shows take place throughout the day; you will receive a reserved ticket to the show of your choice
  • Wheelchair accessible; wheelchairs are available at Coat Check on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Adult pricing applies to all travelers
Voucher Info:
You must present a paper voucher for this tour. We will email a link to access and print your voucher at the Lead Travelers email address. What's this?
Local Operator Information:
Complete Operator information, including local telephone numbers at your destination, are included on your Confirmation Voucher. Our Product Managers select only the most experienced and reliable operators in each destination, removing the guesswork for you, and ensuring your peace of mind.

Traveler Reviews

Reviewed by: mst529, January 2016

I felt like a kid again! Getting to go behind the scenes was the way to go. You learn so much about what it actually takes to run this place. Hats off to all the employees that keep this place going from day to day! They are the real unsung heroes. My favorite for the day was the planetarium. Second, was the rain forest exhibit. It's definitely a must see if your visiting San Francisco.

Reviewed by: Amberley P, November 2015

This was great value for money. No queuing and a very interesting and informative tour behind the scenes! The only way to do it with a Skip the line, behind the scenes tour ticket! Thank you

From USD $59.90

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Please note: After your purchase is confirmed we will email you a link to your voucher.
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Tour code: 5072BTS