The application for the 2023-2024 school year is now open! Field trips are available from September 5, 2023 - May 31, 2024.
We recognize that bringing a group to the Academy can be intimidating: the learning environment is stimulating and the list of daily events staggering. To assist you with trip planning, we have a few suggestions for selecting daily activities, and we've designed resources for structuring learning.
Tips for Planning a Visit Date
Generally, field trips can be scheduled on most dates with the exception of holidays and school breaks. Your school's academic calendar plays a role: a field trip must occur on a school day, not on weekends, afterschool, or during any dates that are off for students.
For those interested in reserving seats in the Morrison Planetarium for your school group, be sure to review the calendar of student shows to select a date when a grade-appropriate show is playing. Seats are limited; reservations for schools usually book by the end of December for dates through the following May.
Make a Plan!
Choose Your Own Pathway
We recommend aligning your visit with a singular learning objective. Less is more!
- Select your learning objective.
- Find one exhibit that fits this goal well.
- Design a simple self-guided or group activity, or browse through the Academy's scavenger hunts. Emphasize concepts rather than facts. Use things you can observe directly rather than focusing on text. Consider using these scaffolds for field trips that involve a tiny bit of pre-work in students' science notebooks.
- Leave time for student exploration, social interaction, and memory-making! Academy staff and docents are scattered throughout the building. Encourage your students to talk with them!
- Consider reading this Social Story to prepare younger students for their visit.
- Lastly, consider printing the English/Spanish Chaperone Guide or English/Chinese Chaperone Guide for a handy map.
- Upon check-in at the Ticket Office on the morning of, you'll read and sign these School Group Guidelines.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost?
San Francisco school groups are admitted free when school is in session. During the 2023-2024 school year, the field trip rate for other eligible school groups from California is $14.95 per person.
Can I explore the Academy before the field trip to plan?
Yes! Field trip organizers can bring their order confirmation to the Ticket Office, and we'll print one complimentary admission ticket for you.
Educator Exhibit Guides
Consider planning your trip around a particular exhibit that complements your science curriculum. We've developed Educator Exhibit Guides to help you:
- Plan an Academy field trip around a specific exhibit.
- Learn about an exhibit’s themes and key concepts to guide students’ experience.
- Discover Academy-written activities related to the exhibit.
- Find out about scientific research happening behind-the-scenes.
Feedings & Presentations
Scavenger Hunts & Museum Worksheets
Educators are always looking for worksheets and activities to guide student learning. These museum worksheets don't involve finding "the answers," but rather serve as tools to structure your visit around a given theme.
Encourage your students to slow down, make careful observations, and engage in science discourse with their peers!
Sensory Bags & Social Story
If you have children in your group with sensory needs, head over to the Information Desk to borrow a bag containing noise-canceling headphones, sunglasses, fidget toys, and other anxiety-reducing touchables.
You can also plan to visit museum areas that are less likely to be loud, smelly, or visually complex, using the Sensory Guide on the interactive floor map.
Consider reading this Social Story to prepare students for their visit.
Seeking Transportation Scholarships?
Don't Forget to Reflect...
Give students an opportunity to reflect on what they've learned and to revise any initial misconceptions using these simple notebook exercises and sentence starters.
If you'd like to assign a writing project for your students, we love receiving Thank You Letters!
ATTN: Education California Academy of Sciences 55 Music Concourse Drive San Francisco, CA 94118
The Rock Fund Program is open to K-5 classes in the city of San Francisco. This unique opportunity includes free field trip programming and needs-based transportation scholarships.