Time lapse shot of Academy guests exploring African Hall
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The Academy is now open to the public! All tickets must be reserved online in advance, and are only valid for the date and entry time selected. Please visit our reopening page to get started. We can't wait to welcome you back!

Plan-Ahead Pricing allows you to get the best deal on tickets when you purchase further in advance. It also allows you to see when we anticipate the museum being busiest during more popular periods and when it will be quietest if you prefer to plan your visit with fewer crowds.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about how to save when you buy online in advance.

What is Plan-Ahead Pricing?

The Academy launched Plan-Ahead Pricing in May 2019 to give our guests the opportunity to get the best deal on tickets when purchased up to six months in advance. It also allows you to see when we anticipate the museum being busiest during popular periods like holidays and spring break and when it will be quietest if you prefer to plan your visit with fewer crowds.

Reopening update: At this time, tickets are only available up to three weeks in advance. This is to help us better manage capacity in the days and weeks after our public reopening. We hope to resume longer-lead pricing soon!

Does Plan-Ahead Pricing apply to all Academy tickets, including tours and special events?

Any Academy tickets that include admission can be purchased with Plan-Ahead Pricing, including Daytime Admission, NightLife, and NightLife VIP Tours. VIP Tours offered during daytime museum hours do not include admission and therefore have a set price.

Reopening update: At this time, Daytime Admission and VIP Tours are the only tickets available. We look forward to resuming NightLife events and tours soon!

How are admission prices determined and why do they change daily?

Similar to other cultural organizations, prices are determined based on a number of key factors. For Daytime Admission, this includes expected attendance, popular holidays and weekends, and new exhibit offerings. For NightLife, this includes events with live performances and our most popular annual events. In general, for busier periods with higher estimated attendance, prices will reflect high demand. For quieter attendance days, prices will be lower.

How far in advance do I need to buy my ticket in order to save?

Tickets purchased by at least midnight prior to the visit date will always be less expensive than tickets purchased on the date of your visit. The farther in advance you purchase, the more you are likely to save!

Reopening update: Due to capacity restrictions and new health and safety guidelines in place for reopening, all guests must now reserve timed-entry tickets online in advance of their visit. Walkup sales will not be available unless you are a WIC, EBT, Lifeline Pass, or Medi-Cal cardholder. For more information, visit our reopening page.

If I’m buying my tickets on the same day as my visit, will I save by buying online?

Tickets purchased on the same day as your visit will be the same price whether you buy online before you arrive or at the ticket window.

Reopening update: Due to capacity restrictions and new health and safety guidelines in place for reopening, all guests must now reserve timed-entry tickets online in advance of their visit. Walkup sales will not be available unless you are a WIC, EBT, Lifeline Pass, or Medi-Cal cardholder. For more information, visit our reopening page.

What is included in a Daytime Admission ticket?

A Daytime Admission ticket grants you access to everything the Academy has to offer, including the aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, natural history museum, and living roof. This also includes all other exhibits and daily programs. 

Reopening update: Some exhibits, including Morrison Planetarium, Curiosity Grove, Naturalist Center, and Discovery Tidepool will remain temporarily closed until further notice. For more information, please visit our reopening page.

What is included in a NightLife ticket?

NightLife tickets also grant access to all exhibits and programs, plus music and special programming each week. Cocktails and food are available for purchase. Please note that NightLife is for adults 21+. Check out upcoming NightLife events here.

Reopening update: While NightLife events are on hold until further notice, please join us online on select Thursdays at 7 pm PT for Virtual NightLife and NightSchool livestreams!

Does this new pricing structure impact the cost of an Academy membership?

Plan-Ahead Pricing does not impact the price of Academy memberships, though an annual membership is always the best value. Please note that your Daytime Admission tickets can be applied towards the cost of a membership at any point during your visit. To learn more and find the membership level that’s right for you, check out our membership comparison chart.

Can I still buy a ticket when I get to the Academy?

Due to capacity restrictions and new health and safety guidelines in place for reopening, all guests must now reserve timed-entry tickets online in advance of their visit. Walkup sales will not be available unless you are a WIC, EBT, Lifeline Pass, or Medi-Cal cardholder. For more information, visit our reopening page.

What options does the Academy offer for free and reduced admission?

The Academy is proud to offer a number of free and reduced admission programs to make the museum more accessible to all. For a list of ways to visit for free or at a reduced rate, click here.

Contact us
Questions or comments about Plan-Ahead Pricing? We're here to help, 8 am–5 pm daily.
(415) 379-8000