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.

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About the Building

Nearly 10 years and $500 million dollars in the making, it's finally here. The new Academy is a masterpiece in sustainable architecture, blends seamlessly into the park's natural setting, and is filled with hundreds of innovative exhibits and thousands of extraordinary plants and animals.

Academy Places

The Academy is a single structure but contains multiple venues, including the aquarium, the planetarium, the natural history museum and the 4-story rainforest. In addition, there's a 3D theater, a lecture hall, a Naturalist Center, two restaurants, an adjacent garden and aviary, a roof terrace, and an Academy store.

The building also houses the Academy science labs and administrative offices, including an extensive library and scientific archive consisting of more than 26 million specimens.

 Download a visitor map [418k]

Explore the floor plan

Our Commitment to Sustainability

The Academy is now the largest public Platinum-rated building in the world, and also the world’s greenest museum. The Academy earned the platinum rating (highest rating possible) for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). This commitment to sustainability extends to all facets of the facility - from the bike racks and rechargeable vehicle stations outside the building to the radiant sub-floor heating inside the building to the energy-generating solar panels on top of the building!

The Architect as Explorer

By any measure, Renzo Piano stands among the world's greatest architects. As the jury awarding him the 1998 Pritzker Prize wrote, “Piano achieves a rare melding of art, architecture, and engineering in a truly remarkable synthesis. He celebrates structure in a perfect union of technology and art.”

“I try to get at the fundamental emotion of a site,” says the architect. The roof design “is like lifting up a piece of the park and putting a building under it.”

"This museum has always worked on three levels - displaying the collection, educating the public, researching the science. The spirit of this new building is to announce and enforce this complexity of function."

Green Building


Listen to this presentation on the history and build-out of the new California Academy of Sciences building.

Total Time - 2hr 8min [117MB]

Architect's Vision


The vision has become reality. Listen to Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Renzo Piano, as he talks about this vision back in 2002.

See a Timelapse


Design and construction of the building required nearly a decade's worth of planning efforts. You wouldn't know it from the 1 1/2 minute timelapse video below!

The Building Team


Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Genoa, Italy
Stantec Architecture, San Francisco, CA

Project Manager, Owner Rep
DR Young Associates, San Rafael, CA

Engineering and Sustainability
Arup, San Francisco, CA
Teecom Design Group, Oakland, CA

General Contractor
Webcor Builders, San Mateo, CA

Landscape Architecture
SWA Group, Sausalito, CA

Living Roof Consultants
Rana Creek Living Architecture, Carmel Valley, CA

Planetarium Technical Consultant
Visual Acuity, Brighton, England