• Lush rolling hills with open skylights on the Academy's Living Roof
    Adventure off the beaten track atop our lush Living Roof.
  • View of the 4-story glass dome of Academy's Osher Rainforest
    Enjoy priority access into the four-story indoor rainforest.
  • Tour guests atop the Living Roof
    See science in action and learn why whale bones are on the Living Roof.
  • Guests in sleeping bags in front of Philippine Coral Reef exhibit during Academy sleepover
    Explore the exhibits after hours at a Penguins+Pajamas Sleepover.

See the Academy in a whole new light—or with the lights out!—on one of our fascinating tours or Penguins+Pajamas Sleepovers.


VIP Tour

Colorful wildflowers on the Academy's Living Roof

Explore the secrets of one of the world's greenest museums on this hourlong tour. Examine rare specimens in our collections, be dazzled in our private gem vault, head off the beaten track atop our living roof, and enjoy 10% off at Academy stores and restaurants. (Please note: Tour includes stairs and unpaved paths.)

  • VIP entrance to Osher Rainforest and Shake House earthquake simulator*
  • Reserved space in the planetarium
  • Includes 10% off shopping and dining
  • Guests must be age 8 or older to participate

Tour guests must also purchase a Daytime Admission ticket to join a tour. Visit our Buy Tickets page to purchase a Daytime Admission ticket, then add VIP Tour tickets to your order after Step 3.

*The earthquake simulator will be temporarily closed from January 16 through May 23, 2024 as we close the exhibit Giants of Land and Sea and build an exciting new exhibit - California: State of Nature, opening May 24, 2024.


Birthday Parties

Illustration of Claude the albino alligator in headphones

Celebrate Academy-style with one of four customizable parties for children ages 4-12!

  • Decorated party room 
  • Party favors
  • Gift for birthday child
  • Guided activities
  • Party host

NightLife Plus

A close up of the Academy's Gem and Mineral Vault

Cocktails, collections, and VIP access. Cultivate your curiosity with NightLife Plus.

  • 2 complimentary cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres
  • Reservations to a planetarium show
  • Private VIP Lounge
  • VIP entrance to Osher Rainforest
  • 10% discount at the Café and retail stores
  • Ticket prices vary by date—plan ahead and save!
  • For guests 21+ with ID

Penguins+Pajamas Sleepovers

A family gets cozy for the night in front of a gigantic aquarium exhibit.

Slumber like a sea cucumber during a family-friendly overnight stay—and find out what nearly 40,000 live animals get into after-hours.


  • Overnight stay in one of our iconic exhibits
  • Special programs and late-night planetarium shows
  • Evening snack and hot breakfast
  • Overnight parking and next-day museum admission
  • For ages 5 and up; adult chaperones required


Got tour questions? We've got answers!

What will I see on a VIP Tour?  

Our VIP Tours visit behind-the-scenes spaces of the Academy including our Living Roof (weather permitting) and various collection rooms. The tour does not spend much time on the public side of the museum, and will not visit exhibits such as the rainforest or aquarium.

What is the minimum age requirement for VIP Tours?  

All VIP Tour guests must be age 8 or older. 

Is there a lot of walking on the VIP Tour?  

Yes! Our VIP Tours are walking tours, and include walking up and down stairs, on uneven outdoor terrain, and standing for about an hour. Restrooms are not available on the tour.

Can I take photos on the VIP Tour?  

Yes! Photos are allowed on our tours, but flash photography and video recording are prohibited. If your tour guide has any specific photography rules, they will tell you at the beginning of your tour.

Will I meet scientists or see them working on my tour?  

VIP Tours typically don't venture into areas where scientists are working, as our scientists like to give tours plenty of space. Rest assured that your tour guide is very knowledgeable about the Academy and our current research, so please feel free to ask as many questions as you like!

Interested in a tour for your group?

Please complete this form if you're interested in booking a tour for a large group and we'll follow up with you.