In response to the latest guidelines and information from local and state public health authorities, the Academy will be temporarily closed to the public, effective March 12 at 5 pm.
As a leading scientific institution and trusted community space, we remain committed to following the recommendations of public health authorities and will continue to act in an abundance of caution with the health and safety of our visitors, staff, and volunteers as our top priority and responsibility.
We encourage everyone to stay healthy, informed, and updated with resources from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization. We will also be posting regular updates on this page and on Twitter.
Frequently asked questions
View the FAQs below for additional information and resources. Click the plus sign (+) next to each question to expand.
Common-sense hygiene and the usual tactics used to prevent seasonal colds and flu are super important in the fight against COVID-19:
Wash hands with soap and water frequently for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have soap and water handy, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and throw the tissue away.
Avoid touching your face, especially eyes, nose, and mouth.
Practice social distancing: Avoid unnecessary travel, don’t shake hands or hug, and try to stay at least six feet away from people. Greeting alternatives include waving and elbow bumps.
If you are sick, stay home. If you have flu-like symptoms, call your doctor.
And last but not least:
- Don’t panic! We’re all in this together, even if we have to stay six feet apart for a while. Be kinder than necessary to family, friends, neighbors, first responders, food service workers, medical professionals, and yourself.
The Academy implemented a number of extra cleaning and hygiene protocols in the days prior to closure:
Increasing routine cleaning and disinfecting of commonly-touched spaces and surfaces, including restrooms, tabletops, handrails, doors, exhibit touch screens, and elevator buttons
Providing additional hand sanitizer dispensers in our visitor locker room and within our dining spaces, as well as at business reception and in common office areas
Encouraging all visitors and staff to practice healthy habits, including frequent and thorough hand washing for 20 seconds with soap and water, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and staying home if you are sick or not feeling well
Reducing the density of visitors permitted at any given time in public exhibit areas like the planetarium, earthquake simulator, and rainforest to encourage social distancing among and between visitors and staff
While many Academy staff will work remotely during our temporary closure, a limited number of essential personnel will have access to the museum to continue providing the highest level of care for our 38,000+ live animals and keep the building and its critical systems running. These staff members will practice social distancing and implement rigorous safety protocols while at work to reduce any health risks.
Want to learn more about how we keep our animals healthy and active? Watch our video on animal enrichment.
If you purchased tickets for Daytime Admission, NightLife, or any other Academy event scheduled during the time of our temporary closure period, we will refund your order to the original form of payment within 5-7 business days. If you do not receive your refund within seven business days, please contact us and provide your order number. We appreciate your patience as we process these refunds.
As a scientific, research, and educational institution, the Academy believes it’s more important than ever to seek out COVID-19 information from reliable, science-based sources. Here are some links from trusted international, national, and local public health authorities to help you stay informed:
World Health Organization (WHO):
- WHO's COVID-19 hub: A global homebase for COVID-19 updates and resources.
- Advice for the public: Helpful videos and shareable, downloadable infographics.
- Myth busters: Separate rumor from reality—and pass it on.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- CDC's COVID-19 hub: Another helpful homebase for US-specific updates and resources.
- Facts about COVID-19: The top five most important things to know about the disease.
City and County of San Francisco:
- SF.gov’s COVID-19 hub: A simple, user-friendly site with info about available city services.
- Shelter-in-place guidelines: All the info you need about Bay Area counties’ current shelter-in-place order.
- SF Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 hub: Updated a little less frequently, but a still-useful list of SF-specific FAQs.
- Text COVID19SF to 888-777 for official updates about coronavirus in San Francisco.
Make a donation! Whatever the amount, we're grateful to each and every donor for supporting world-class care for our nearly 40,000 animals and cutting-edge learning resources for thousands of students studying at home. Thank you!
Keep your mind open while the Academy is closed with an eclectic array of science content for all ages and all places.