55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
Regular Hours:


9:30 am – 5:00 pm


11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:


8:30 – 9:30 am


10:00 – 11:00 am

The Academy will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Planetarium will be closed Sep. 22, 23, 24


Kimball Natural History Museum

The exhibits of the Kimball Natural History Museum address two of the most significant and closely-intertwined scientific issues of our time: The evolution of life on Earth and the maintenance of life on Earth. The exhibits draw heavily from the Academy's 150-plus years of research, its 45.6 million specimens, and the expertise of its many world-class scientists and affiliates.


Prepare to be moved! Delve into the science behind earthquakes and learn how societies prepare for and respond to these destructive phenomena. Experience a high-magnitude jolt in our earthquake simulator, fly over and into our dynamic planet in an immersive planetarium show, and explore the impacts of the largest disaster in San Francisco’s history—the 1906 earthquake and fire. Along the way, you’ll see how earthquakes fit into the larger story of plate tectonics, a constant process that builds mountains, moves continents, and creates the landscape in which life evolves or goes extinct.

Tusher African Hall

Take a virtual safari through Africa by exploring majestic dioramas of African landscapes. Lions and cheetahs face off with zebras and antelope through the glass windows of their detailed displays, and a lowland gorilla invites you to ponder your ancestry.

Trace the milestones of our species' fascinating history in Human Odyssey. Compare fossils of early human relatives, walk alongside a computer animation of the famous "Lucy" skeleton, map our species' extensive journey across the world, and follow the clues that scientists use to investigate our past.

Look closely as you wander through the hall—the dioramas contain a few surprises too: live tortoises, lizards, and fish occupy some of the smaller displays, and a colony of African Penguins dip and dive in a 25,000-gallon tank at the end of the hall.

Islands of Evolution

This exhibit explores the remote islands of Madagascar and the Galapagos through the eyes of Academy scientists.

Examine specimens collected during past expeditions, such as Galapagos tortoise shells and Darwin's famous finches; use Wii gaming wands to collect virtual insects; and learn how islands function as living laboratories for evolution.

Science in Action: Beyond the Headlines

This interactive exhibit allows visitors to go beyond the headlines and gain in-depth information about recent scientific discoveries around the world.

Live talks by Academy scientists, multimedia displays, computer stations, and podcasts provide a reliable source of timely and relevant news about the natural world.

Foucault Pendulum

A returning favorite from the original Academy, the Foucault pendulum provides simple and elegant proof of the Earth's rotation.

Suspended from the ceiling next to Morrison Planetarium, it consists of a 235-pound brass ball attached to a 30-foot-long steel aircraft cable. The plane of the pendulum's swing appears to rotate 220 degrees every day. Since no rotational forces act on the pendulum, it must be the Earth beneath that is actually rotating.

Learn more about the Foucault Pendulum

Other Highlights

  • Skeletons: An 87-foot long blue whale skeleton hangs from the ceiling while a towering Tyrannosaurus Rex looms nearby.
  • Building Green: A series of interpretive panels shows how the new Academy is one of the most environmentally friendly buildings on the planet.
  • Where the Land Meets the Sea: One of two art installations by Maya Lin, this suspended wire landscape depicts the topography above and below San Francisco Bay. The other installation, “Missing,” consists of a “Listening Cone” with a screen located within that features more than 20 minutes of video footage and sound recordings that link extinct as well as threatened and endangered species to the habitats and ecosystems that are vital to their survival.
  • Research Lab: Visitors can watch Academy scientists at work through the windows of this active research laboratory.

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Natural history exhibits and venues can be found in various places throughout the Academy.

Academy Floor Plan

The Naturalist Center


Have a question about the natural world? The reference librarians and educators at the Naturalist Center can help. Visitors can bring in items for identification, research green technologies, and sign up for seminars. Learn more

Early Explorers Cove


This early childhood education center caters to infants, preschoolers, and their caregivers. Tots can explore a 15-foot replica of an Academy schooner, climb into a tree-house, tend an organic garden, and more!