Tours & activities by Travora Media from Viator
From USD $59.90

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You must print and bring a paper voucher for this activity. What's this?
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

Voucher Info

A paper voucher is required for this attraction/activity. You must print and bring your printed voucher with you on the day of the activity, as required by our local provider. What's this?

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
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.

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel at least 7 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is no cancellation fee.
If you cancel between 3 and 6 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is a 50 percent cancellation fee.
If you cancel within 2 day(s) of the scheduled departure, there is a 100 percent cancellation fee.

Traveler Reviews

Reviewed by: Deborah B, January 2017

We really enjoyed the behind the scenes tour. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and energetic. It was obvious that she enjoyed talking about her subject! We enjoyed seeing the living roof and hearing how the building is environmentally friendly. All in all, a most enjoyable time. While we did not have children with us, I believe it would be a great adventure for the entire family. It is very kid-friendly. The museum is definitely a recommendation we would make to others.

Reviewed by: Joguar3, United States of America, September 2016

The general public are is very well done and suitable for both adults and children. Plenty of interesting things to see and well laid out. There were several individuals giving presentations to children that captured their attention and mine too!.
And then there was the Behind the Scenes tour. That was the absolutely positively and actually awesome thing to do. You will see the green roof, the research area and where specimens from their research are stored. Actually saw a botanical specimen from Captain Cook's exploration! This portion of the tour I would not recommend for children.