Time lapse shot of Academy guests exploring African Hall

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.

Ready to plan ahead and save? See admission prices for the next six months on our Hours & Admission page.


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.

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.

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!

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.

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. To see what’s on at the museum on any given day, please explore our Daily Calendar.

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.

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?

Yes! Tickets will still be sold onsite at the ticket window, but purchasing tickets online by midnight the day prior to your visit will allow you to lock in a lower ticket price.

What if I purchased my ticket before Plan-Ahead Pricing went into effect? Will it still grant admission to the Academy?

If you purchased a ticket to the Academy prior to May 14, 2019, your ticket is still good anytime during the one-year window it was purchased. Going forward, all tickets sold will only be valid on the date for which they were purchased unless otherwise noted on the front of each ticket.

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