Why You'll Love This Place
A Here Comes The Guide Wedding Venue Review
There’s only one place on the planet where you can get married in front of a coral reef, dine in the company of penguins, and stroll through a rainforest. We’re talking about the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco’s world-renowned, eco-friendly natural history museum. Whether you’re hosting a private dinner for 30, a wedding for 300 or a corporate extravaganza for 3,000, it will be as green as it is memorable.
The California Academy of Sciences building is one of the most innovative and environmentally conscious structures in the world. Not only does it house an aquarium, planetarium and rainforest, but it also has a living roof, whose undulating contours mirror the seven hills of the city and are covered with millions of plants. Hosting a wedding here is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You have access to the main floor as well as the Aquarium on the lower level, and you can even pose for pictures on the roof before your family and friends arrive. Your coordinator will help you choreograph your celebration, while top Bay Area caterers create your menu—featuring organic, sustainable foods, of course.
With a dozen areas to choose from, your event can flow seamlessly from one part of the museum to another. You might serve cocktails in the elegantly columned Swamp, famously inhabited by an albino alligator, then move on to a gourmet five-course repast in the African Hall. Here you’ll be flanked by 21 meticulously crafted dioramas depicting wild animals like lions, antelope, baboons, leopards and mountain gorillas in their natural settings. The best spot for the head table has to be at the end of the room, where permanently “tuxedoed” penguins frolic in the water, observing the festivities from their glassed-in habitat.
Several exhibits offer immersive and interactive activities that will engage your guests. Just add a bar and cocktail tables throughout for a unique social hour. Or serve hors d’oeuvres in the Aquarium itself—the popular “touch tidepool” provides an unusual icebreaker.
Have your ceremony here, too, and prepare to be dazzled: There’s nothing like exchanging vows against a 25-foot-high backdrop of turquoise water, filled with a glimmering confetti of neon-colored fish…unless it’s saying “I do” with the misty greenery of the four-story Rainforest dome behind you. If you prefer an outdoor option, the East and West Gardens are lovely during warm weather. For an intimate rehearsal dinner that’s literally out of this world, reserve the Planetarium anteroom, which can be transformed into a starry galaxy by the state-of-the-art media system.
At the California Academy of Sciences, the “décor” often flies, swims or grows before your very eyes. Let the museum take your guests to beautiful and amazing places they’ve never seen and inspire them with wonder. An event here is so much more than an event—it’s an adventure.
PRICES: What's this going to cost?
- Rental fee varies depending on:
- Space reserved
Venue rental fees include:
- Exclusive use of the couple's selected event space or spaces
- On-site event coordinators and audio/visual professionals
- Getting-ready suites
- Museum security
- And more!
Event Spaces available for rent include: Rainforest, Aquarium, Swamp, Piazza, African Hall, East Pavilion, West Pavilion, Main Lobby, or couples may reserve the Full Academy.
|Total meeting capacity for this venue is 80.
CEREMONY & MEETING CAPACITY: The site accommodates 500 seated guests indoors and 350 outdoors.
EVENT/RECEPTION CAPACITY: The museum holds 500 seated or 3,000 standing guests indoors.
- Outdoor Ceremony
- Wedding Receptions
- Outdoor Reception
- Small Wedding
- Rehearsal Dinner
- Special Events / Parties
- Business Functions / Meetings
- Late Night
$$ • $$$
Must be from a licensed caterer.
Year-round, 6:30pm–midnight, every day except Thursday.
Buildings & other settings available:
- Loft / Warehouse / Industrial
- Zoo / Aquarium
- Patio / Deck / Terrace
Peep the views you’ll enjoy from this venue!
- Forest / Woods
- Landscaped Grounds
Services & Amenities
Feel like a VIP with these services and amenities:
Catering: select from list
Kitchen Facilities: no
Tables & Chairs: through caterer
Linens, Silver, etc.: through caterer
Restrooms: wheelchair accessible
Dance Floor: CBA
Bride’s Dressing Area: yes
Meeting Equipment: CBA
Parking: third party operated garage on premise, fee to extend hours
Accommodations: no guest rooms
Outdoor Night Lighting: yes
Outdoor Cooking Facilities: through caterer
Cleanup: caterer or renter
View: cityscape, park, landscaped grounds
But take note of the following limitations!
Alcohol: BYO licensed server
Smoking: not allowed
Music: amplified OK with restrictions
Wheelchair Access: yes
Insurance: liability required
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