San Francisco Planetarium Tickets → the SMART Way to Buy

A large glass dome with plants inside.

Looking to buy the best tickets for the San Francisco Planetarium and Academy of Sciences? Then follow me, my friend, as I’ll help you out with all the details you need!

I’ve researched for hours to find the best ways to get your San Francisco Planetarium tickets and I’ve included all the super useful information in this carefully-curated guide! You’ll find everything from prices, deals, City Passes, and lots of incredible tips on how to visit the Planetarium right here!

Plus a short section below which I highly recommend reading before planning your trip with details on how to get there, opening hours, and more things!

Quick Picks for Your Stay

If you are here just to get your tickets, here are the best links to do so:

Adult entranceKids entrance Cancelation policy
Official websitefrom US$36.75from US$28.75Non-refundableBook tickets
Viatorfrom US$40.75from US$31.79>24-hour free cancellationBook tickets
Tiqetsfrom US$39.95from US$31.79>24-hour free cancellationBook tickets

Why buy in advance?

A t-rex skeleton is displayed in a museum.

San Francisco Planetarium officially known as Morrison Planetarium is set within the Academy of Sciences California, which is a super popular attraction as it hosts lots of fun places like an aquarium, a Planetarium, and others inside just one building.

It’s important to get your tickets in advance as you’ll pay less! Plus you’ll have more chances to catch a show at the Planetarium, where spaces are limited and they offer them on a first-come, first-served basis for everyone who got their admission tickets for the Academy!

1. Different types of tickets

Set within the Academy of Sciences California, the San Francisco Planetarium (Morrison Planetarium) is a fun place that showcases different types of shows about our infinite Universe! There are different tickets that you can get, however, all of them are for the entire Academy which includes an aquarium, a rainforest, and a Natural History Museum.

It can get a bit confusing but in the section below you’ll find all the info you need on all the types of tickets, prices, and how to get the best deals!

Daytime admission

California academy of sciences entrance with various people walking around

Before we jump to talk about this ticket, you should know that although the ticket you’ll buy guarantees access to the Academy, you’ll need to make a reservation when you arrive for a show at the Morrison Planetarium. The Academy itself has a first-come, first-served system so I recommend arriving super early, to secure your spot.

You can find all the info on their official website, but in short what you’ll need to do when you arrive is: look for lobby signage with QR codes, then point your smartphone at the code, wait for the URL to appear, which will take you to a webpage where you’ll find all the shows available on that day.

NOTE: If you’re coming with your kids then you should know that children under 4 are not allowed inside the Planetarium and some shows are not appropriate for children under 7.

A group of people are walking through a large building.

Put the required details there, including the number of people that you’re making the reservation for (the maximum is 8), and then you’re done! Then you’ll receive a text message with a confirmation and a reminder 10 min before the show starts, so you can head there right away.

PRO TIP: I highly recommend checking their daily calendar before booking your ticket as on some days they may not have any shows. Also if you can, avoid coming during public holidays or weekends as that’s when you run the high risk of not finding any available spots!

There is another way to secure your spot in the Planetarium but, of course, it costs more. When booking your daytime admission ticket on the official website you can buy their add-on which is called the VIP Tour. This option costs an extra US$26.95 besides the ticket which costs at least US$37, so in total, you’ll pay at least US$63.95.

This VIP tour includes a peek inside all the attractions of the Academy plus a VIP entrance to select exhibits and reserved Planetarium seating, meaning you’ll know for sure you’ve secured your spot (these tours are only available for people who are 8+)

the academy of sciences indoor map

The daytime admission ticket includes entrance to all the attractions inside the Academy:

  • San Francisco Planetarium
  • Aquarium
  • Rainforest
  • Natural History Museum

The cheapest place to buy your ticket is from the official website, where it costs from US$37 for adults and US$29 for kids. However the price varies, as you’ll see when picking your dates, on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays the prices are higher by US$2 to US$3, so definitely choose to visit during the week if that’s possible for you!

These tickets are non-refundable but you can exchange them for a visit on a different day.

These tickets are also available on Viator which has a 24h cancellation policy. Meaning you can cancel your tickets 24 hours before the reserved date, and get the whole sum you paid refunded.

P.S. If you can’t find tickets on these main 2 websites, definitely look on Klook, GetYourGuide, or aRes Travel.

Price: from $36.75

NightLife (21+)

The ceiling of a building with a lot of lights and plants

This is a great experience for those who want to experience the fun world of the San Francisco Planetarium and all the other attractions inside the Academy at night! Available only on Thursday night, from 6 PM to 10 PM these events are a great way to see all the attractions in a whole new light (all of them are open unless specified otherwise on their website).

As you’ve seen in the heading these types of tickets are only for people who are 21+ years old and they cost at least US$20 and include access to these places:

  • San Francisco Planetarium (+US$5)
  • Aquarium
  • Rainforest
  • Natural History Museum

This ticket grants you access inside but unlike the Daytime Pass, it doesn’t offer free entrance to the Planetarium. You’ll have to pay an extra US$5 to get your ticket for a show at the Planetarium. When buying your ticket you’ll be taken to a page that has an add-on with a reservation for the Planetarium, click on it and you’ll know for sure that you’ve secured your spot there!

Usually, the shows for the Planetarium during nighttime are at 6:30 PM, 7:30 PM, 8:30 PM, and 9:30 PM.

If the tickets are sold out on the official website you can also try Viator or GetYourGuide, both of which cost US$23 (a few dollars extra but they also have a cancellation policy that lets you cancel 24h before your visit and still get a full refund).

The only downside is that if you do get your ticket from GetYourGuide or Viator you will have to buy your Planetarium ticket once you get there and chances are they could be sold out so make sure you think this carefully before buying!

Price: from US$20

NightLife Vip Experience (21+)

a girl watching the fish swimming at an aquarium

Want to treat yourself to a fabulous night at the Academy and have no worries about whether you’ll find a spot at the Planetarium? Then book the NightLife Vip Experience Ticket which is also available only on Thursday night, from 6 PM to 10 PM only for people who are 21+.

This ticket price starts at US$74 and it includes the following:

  • Aquarium
  • Natural History Museum
  • 2 complimentary cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres
  • Reservations to a Planetarium show
  • Private VIP Lounge
  • VIP entrance to Osher Rainforest and Shake House earthquake simulator
  • 10% discount at the café and retail stores
  • Digital scavenger hunt of the Academy’s exhibit

The NightLife Vip Experience ticket is only available on the official website!

Price: from US$74.25

2. San Francisco CityPass – Is it worth it?

miniature San francisco trolley and city pass tickets

Planning to visit multiple attractions while you’re in San Francisco? Then you might want to know if it’s worth getting a City Pass!

These City Passes are becoming super popular as lots of tourists love to have one all-inclusive ticket that grants access to most of the big attractions in town and possibly saves a few bucks!

This is what a City Pass should do, but unfortunately, some of them aren’t really designed to do that but on the contrary, they may even cost more. That’s why it’s always a must to check all the prices and compare them before buying yours.

Luckily I’ll be doing that for you today with the San Francisco Go City All-Inclusive Pass! So let’s see if it’s worth getting one or nah!

You can buy passes for 1, 2, 3, and 5 days of validity for different prices, depending on how much time you have:

  • 1 Day – US$79
  • 2 Days – US$119
  • 3 Days – US$139
  • 5 Days – US$169

The pass includes access to around 30 attractions in San Francisco, but it’s not just museums. You’ll also find walking tours, GoCar tours, bike rentals, and many other fun things!

A large model of a whale skeleton with the globe under it

You’ll probably agree with me that’s pretty impossible to visit 30 attractions on just 1 holiday so to help you out a bit I’ve picked some of the most popular ones, which I’ll add below with their individual price so we can get an idea of how much you’d save:

By my calculations, if you’re planning to see around 5 to 7 attractions then it’s worth getting the 3-Day Pass or the 5-Day Pass (that way you’ll have time and won’t have to rush from one attraction to the other).

Here’s how I calculated everything:

San Francisco Planetarium (inside the California Academy of Sciences) (US$37) + Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus 1-Day Tour (US$63) + Aquarium of the Bay (US$31.75) + Madame Tussauds (US$26.99) + The Walt Disney Family Museum (US$25) + San Francisco Bay Cruise (US$38) + San Francisco Zoo (US$25)

37 + 63 + 31.75 + 26.99 + 25 + 38 + 25 = 246.74

You save US$77.74 (246,74 – 169 = 77,74)

Since the 5-day Pass is US$169 you’d need to visit around 7 attractions to make the pass worth it!

Get your San Francisco All-Inclusive Pass

3. Buying tickets at the entrance (not recommended)

outside view of the academy of sciences california

It’s pretty simple: if you don’t want to pay a few bucks extra, then book your ticket for the Academy of Sciences and Morrison Planetarium in advance!

As you’ll probably see on their website if you buy your ticket at the door or online, right on the day of your visit you’ll pay more!

Also, as I’ve mentioned earlier, you will have to reserve your tickets for the Planetarium once you get inside, so if you waste a lot of time waiting in the queue all the shows at the Planetarium will be filled out!

Since the Academy is such a fun attraction, and it has so many things to do in one place, you can be sure that everyone will head there when visiting San Francisco, so it’s definitely better to secure your spot and book in advance!

Important things you should know before your visit

A group of people walking through a museum with posters on the wall.

If you need a checklist before planning your visit to the Planetarium then, have a look below! I made sure to add all the things you’ll need to know before buying your tickets and heading there!

So let’s have a look!

Opening hours & best time to visit

Here are the opening hours for the Academy! To get the showtimes for the Planetarium you’ll have to check their daily calendar:

  • Monday to Saturday: 9:30 AM to 5 PM
  • Sunday: 11 AM to 5 PM
  • Thursday NightLife (21+ with ID): 6 – 10 PM

The best time to visit is when it opens from 9:30 AM to 10 AM. I say this because you’ll have to book your Planetarium ticket once you get inside, so if you get there before everyone else then you’ll know for sure you’ve secured a spot!

How to get to San Francisco Planetarium

An aerial view of san francisco's garden.

The Planetarium is set inside the Academy of Sciences, inside the famous Golden Gate Park, near the waterfront area in San Francisco! By the way, if you’re looking for some great hotels to stay in during your visit, definitely check out our post with the best areas to stay in San Francisco!

Here are all the ways you can get there:

  • Tram: Take the 44 O’Shaughnessy which stops right in front of the Academy.
  • Bike: You can rent a bike and leave it on Music Concourse Dr. where there are bike racks.
  • Car: Right near the Academy you’ll find the Music Concourse Underground Garage where you’ll have to pay US$5 per hour during the week and US$6 per hour during the weekends.
  • By Golden Gate Park Shuttle: This bus is available every day from 12 to 6 PM, during the weekdays, and from 9 AM to 6 PM during the weekends and it stops on JFK Drive and Nancy Pelosi Drive.

What to bring to San Francisco Planetarium

✅ Tickets: You’ll need to show your confirmation email so that you can pick up your tickets.
✅ ID: Bring any form of official identification.
✅ Camera: You can take pictures or videos but with no flash.
❌ Drinks & Food: Only allowed in outdoor areas.

Facilities inside the San Francisco Planetarium

A museum with a large skeleton hanging from the ceiling.

Toilets – You’ll find toilets in the area near the Aquarium and near the Living Roof Observation Deck.
Accessibility – The Academy is fully wheelchair-accessible.
Lockers – There are lockers just off the main lobby and you can rent one for the day for US$5 (for a standard-size locker) and US$8 (for a family-sized locker).
Gift Shop Academy Store near the Living Roof Observation Deck and Lab Junior Store near the Planetarium.
Cafe – Academy Cafe near the Living Roof Observation Deck.

👩‍ Adult price:from US$36.75
👧 Kids price:from US$28.75
💲 Cheapest tickets:Official Website
🎟️ San Francisco Go City Pass:GetYourGuide
🎤 VIP tour:Official Website
🕖 Best time to visit:10 AM

FAQs about the San Francisco Planetarium

A large indoor lagoon with people walking around it.

🕖 How long is the San Francisco Planetarium show?

It depends, usually a show can last around 15 minutes!

🎟️ How do I book my tickets for the San Francisco Planetarium?

You’ll have to buy an admission ticket for the Academy of Sciences and then once inside reserve your spot for the Planetarium as seating is limited!

😎 Is the VIP tour for the Academy of Sciences California worth it?

It’s worth it if you want to know for sure that you’ve secured a spot in the Planetarium! If you book the VIP tour you’ll get instant spots for the Planetarium.

💰 How much are tickets for the California Academy of Sciences?

Prices can vary, depending on whether you’re visiting during the week when they’re around US$37 or during the weekend when they can get up to US$42.


A green dome on top of a building with palm trees.

Woohoo! That was so much information but I feel like now everyone (who’s read the post) knows exactly how to get their San Francisco Planetarium tickets!

Just to recap, today we’ve learned all about how to get the best tickets for the San Francisco Planetarium and Academy of Sciences. We also saw whether it’s worth it to get a City Pass plus lots of fun tips on how to get there and the facilities you’ll find inside the attraction.

No matter whether you’ve decided to get your ticket from the Official Website, Viator or you know for sure you want to get the San Francisco Go City Pass, I recommend securing your spot in advance!

This attraction is super popular, as it offers so much, so most likely the tickets will sell out early!

I hope you spend an incredible time at the Planetarium and at all the other attractions inside the Academy and don’t forget that if you still have any questions that I’ve left unanswered, you can drop me a comment below and I’ll reply as soon as I can!

Safe travels,


Pin it for later!

large globe at a museum

Pin it for later!

collage of 2 images with: an aerial view and the inside of the San Francisco Planetarium

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links on this page might be affiliate links, which means that at absolutely no extra cost for you we will earn a small commission for a sale generated through the website. We only recommend the things we actually use ourselves and never accept useless sponsored crap. Thank you so much for supporting this project!

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Follow @misstourist on Instagram!