A young girl interacts through the glass with an African penguin in Tusher African Hall.

The Academy is a family-friendly museum with lots of exhibits, programs, and activities designed with kids in mind. To help parents and caretakers plan their visit, here's a handful of logistical tips and age-specific suggestions.

Please note: Some exhibits and spaces may be temporarily closed or modified for your safety. Please visit our reopening page for health and safety information, exhibit updates, and FAQs.

Tips for parents and guardians

Strollers and elevators
Though strollers aren't available for rent at the Academy, they're allowed throughout the museum—with the exception of the earthquake simulator (where short-term stroller parking is provided). There are two elevators for guest use, located next to the Academy Café and the Swamp. 

Changing tables
Changing tables are available in all restrooms on the museum floor, and a family restroom is located next to the Swamp.

Food and beverages 
The Academy Café offers many kid-friendly options. At this time, all food and drink must be consumed outdoors. You are welcome to bring your own food and drink, but we ask that you enjoy it outdoors in the East Garden. Water-bottle-filling stations are located on Level 1, next to the elevators. 

A note about the Osher Rainforest 
The rainforest is suitable for all ages, but because it is a hot, humid, and one-way exhibit, we recommend dressing in layers. Please note that there are no restrooms inside the rainforest dome, but you'll find one immediately after exiting through the Amazon Flooded Forest tunnel. Please note: Capacity is limited and reservations are required to enter the rainforest. Scan the QR code in the lobby or at the rainforest entrance to reserve an entry time. Reservations are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please visit the Getting Here page for directions and parking information.

For your safety, reentry is not available at this time. If you leave the museum and would like to reenter, you will need to purchase a new ticket.

Security office
In the unlikely event that you should lose track of your child, please notify the closest Academy staff member, who will immediately contact our Security department. The Security office is located next to the Swamp.

Should you misplace an item, please visit lost-and-found (located next to the lockers in our front lobby) on the day of your visit. To contact lost-and-found after your visit, please call (415) 379-5831.


Top picks for kids

From penguin feedings and space shows to skulls, we've got something for every member of your family to get excited about. Kid-friendly favorites include:

Curiosity Grove
Ideal for ages 0 – 5, open to all ages
A completely reimagined, California forest-themed playspace for explorers of all ages.

Discovery Tidepool
Suitable for kids capable of gentle touches
Touch and examine a variety of tide pool creatures; located on the Aquarium level.

Planetarium shows
Ages 7 and up
Explore the Universe like never before in one of the world’s largest all-digital planetariums. Shows begin every 45 to 60 minutes, and passes are available on-site on a first-come, first-served basis. Planetarium shows are recommended for kids aged 7 and older, and we cannot welcome anyone under age 4 into the dome. Visitors of all ages, however, are welcome at live presentations in Hohfeld Hall, the Planetarium’s entry lobby on Level 1. No passes are required for Hohfeld Hall presentations; please check the Exhibits & Events page for current planetarium show and Hohfeld Hall program information.

Daily programs
A wide range of ages; see specific program descriptions for age-appropriateness
Many of our story times, crafts, penguin feedings, and other programs are designed with young visitors in mind. Please check the Exhibits & Events page for daily programming.

Naturalist Center
All ages
In this hands-on space, kids and adults alike can touch specimens, watch natural history videos, play games, solve puzzles, browse books, ask questions, and more.

Steinhart Aquarium
All ages
From Claude the alligator with albinism to schools of iridescent fish, the aquarium is home to nearly 40,000 live animals that have a knack for surprising and delighting even the youngest visitor.


Special Family Experiences

Birthday Parties
Ages 2 – 10
Celebrate your birthday at the Academy! You and your guests will enjoy exclusive access to our Moss Room, light refreshments, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Academy gems vault, and celebratory birthday cupcakes.

Penguins+Pajamas Sleepovers
Ages 5 – 17
With an adult chaperone, kids ages 5-17 can spend the night at the Academy, enjoying an evening of special activities before unrolling their sleeping bags next to a favorite exhibit.

Ages 5 and up
Gain a new perspective on the Academy and its exhibits during a specialty tour. Adventure Tours, Celebration Tours (great for birthday parties!), and After-Hours Tours are open to guests ages 5 and up. VIP Tours and Green Building Tours are open to guests ages 8 and up.


Contact us
Have questions about the Academy? We're here to help.  
(415) 379-8000