The California Academy of Sciences is one of the largest museums of natural history in the world. It was founded in 1853 and was originally named California Academy of Natural Sciences.
Its first museum opened in 1874 in what’s today Chinatown and brought 80,000 visitors a year. Fifteen years after moving to a new larger building on today’s Market Street in 1891 the 1906 SF Earthquake destroyed the academy’s library and specimen collections. It was not until 1916 that the academy moved to the North American Hall of Birds and Mammals in Golden Gate Park which is where it’s still located today.
During WWII it contributed its workshop facilities to repair optical and navigational equipment for U.S navy ships. In 1923 the Steinhart Aquarium was added followed by the Simson African Hall in 1934, then the Morrison Planetarium in 1952, and in 1959 the Maillard Library, Eastwood Hall of Botany, and the Livermore Room were added, as well as Cowell Hall in 1969. The academy has numerous exhibits in anthropology, marine biology, botany, entomology, herpetology,invertebrate zoology, mammalogy, and ornithology.
Monday-Saturday 9:30a.m 5:00p.m Sunday 11:00a.m-5:00p.m
Members-only Hours:Tuesdays 8:30a.m- 9:30a.m Sundays 10:00 a.m- 11:00a.m.