7D Experience: A Unique Activity on SF's Pier 39

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: May 3, 2024

The 7D Experience at Pier 39 is a fun, interactive activity for the entire family. Now called the Flyer Thrill Zone, this attraction offers several exhilarating experiences: the 7D Ride Experience, the Flyer, the Laser Maze Challenge, escape rooms, and a virtual reality game.

Of these activities, the 7D Experience is the most popular. It is part movie, part roller coaster, and part video game. During your time in the theater, you will view the screen through your 3D movie glasses.

You will also feel the wind in your hair, take every bump (as your chair moves around), and interact with the villains as you shoot the bad guys and defend those in trouble.

The selection of rides changes from year to year, but generally they offer about five different options. Currently, you can choose from Zombies, Werewolves, Carnival, Los Banditos (robot cowboys) and Road Fighters.

The 7D experience sign on Pier 39

The Flyer is a flying theater experience in which you strap into your seat before the floor drops away for takeoff, soaring 20 feet above the ground. With a 50-foot wrap-around screen in front of you and other special effects, you'll feel like you're really flying over the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Muir Woods, and other local landmarks.

The Laser Maze Challenge puts you in a room full of lasers. Your goal is to get through the beams and click on a designated light button to move to the next phase. You can do this as an individual or as a team. Your goal is to finish as quickly as possible.

During our visit, we tested out all three of these experiences. All of them were SO much fun and in addition the staff was super friendly!

I highly recommend this unique experience for individuals, couples, and those traveling with kids.

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

New Additions at the Flyer Thrill Zone

In addition to the three activities that I got to experience myself, this Pier 39 attraction now also offers two escape rooms and a virtual reality (VR) game. 

For those who love the challenge of looking for clues and problem solving in teams, the escape rooms are a great choice. Beginning to intermediate level players will enjoy the Escape the Rock option, which is based on prisoner escapes from Alcatraz. 

Intermediate to advanced players will enjoy the Malone’s Mobster Hideout escape room, where danger lurks around every corner of this mafia-ridden Depression Era puzzle. 

The exhilarating VR experience is called RUSH! In this game, you'll put on your headset and immerse yourself in a larger-than-life landscape that you'll explore as a wingsuit diver. You'll soar down mountainsides, weave through canyons, and dodge obstacles. 

What to Expect on the 7D Ride Experience

For the most popular ride, your adventure starts by selecting which game interests you. Their most popular is Zombies, a game that takes you through the woods as you shoot zombies and try to save humans.

Los Banditos is one that is suited for younger kids. It still has all of the same action, but the movie itself is not as scary as the others. During this game, you hunt for tin robots that are trying to steal the humans' loot.

Their selection of rides changes and they will inform you the day of your visit which ones you can play.

After You Purchase Your Tickets

When it's your turn to enter, your journey begins with a short video about what to expect inside, as well as a few clips from your movie. You will then enter the theater and take your seat.

The theater is small (only 20 seats), so everyone has a perfect view of the screen.

Inside the Dark Ride, 7D theater in SF

After you grab your seat, you will buckle the seat belt, put on your glasses, and grab your gun. In order to make sure you are all set, they run a short intro for practice. This gets you comfortable with the equipment before the scene begins.

You are then ready to go! The video moves at a rapid pace and there are villains everywhere. Your goal is to shoot as many as you can!

The entire process takes about 10 minutes with about 5 to 7 minutes in the theater.

At the end, you will find out how well you did.

The final results of the winners of the Dark Ride at the 7D Experience.That's my husband and me enjoying Gigamon!

It's so much fun that the last time we visited, we ended up playing three times! We couldn't get enough of it!

Additional Things to Consider for the 7D Ride Experience

Since the 7D Experience offers quite a bit of movement in the chairs, they require the same limitations as roller coasters (sort of).

The reason I say "sort of" is that they can actually disable the seats, so you can still participate without the movement if the jolting seat will bother you. It is also accessible for those who want to participate from their wheelchair.

Kids should be at least 40 inches tall. They recommend shutting off the seat movement for those who are pregnant and those who have back or neck problems.

Since the screen moves quickly, it could possibly provoke motion sickness for some people. I personally have motion sickness issues but didn't have any problems with the games. It's fast paced, but only lasts a few minutes, so I didn't notice anything other than how much fun the ride was the whole time!

What to Expect During the Laser Maze Challenge

As I mentioned above, the Laser Maze Challenge is also an interactive game. First, you decide whether you want to tackle the challenge on your own, as the only one in the room, or as a team.

You will then select the difficulty from easy, medium, hard, and expert. They can also recommend one for you if you aren't sure.

The higher the ranking, the more laser beams you will find inside the room. They usually recommend the harder levels for kids, as they can easily squeeze through.

Before you start, they will give you a quick overview of the goals of the game. You can also see the room you are about to enter on a video monitor. This brief intro gives you a great feel for what to expect upon entering.

The lazer room for the Lazer Challenge.

When you step behind the curtain, you will find yourself in a room full of laser beams. You will see a light across the room. Your goal is to touch that light without hitting any of the beams. Once you hit the light, another light will appear, and you will head off in that direction.

Each time you hit a beam, it adds to your time. In the end, you will have a total time that includes how long it takes to hit the final button plus the number of beams you hit during the game.

The Flyer

If you've ever wanted to fly over San Francisco up close, then you definitely have to try the Flyer. It will give you a totally new perspective of some of the city's most iconic landmarks.

This ride uses moving seats, special effects, and computer-generated images on a huge screen that will make you feel like you are flying over the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Chinatown, and so much more. This is a great ride for kids of all ages.

The experience usually lasts about 10 minutes.

Hours and Location

The Flyer Thrill Zone / 7D Experience is on the first level of Pier 39 to the right of the carousel.

They are open every day from 11 am to 9 pm.


You can either buy your tickets online in advance or in person. The stand-alone prices are as follows:

  • 7D Ride Experience: $14 per person* 
  • Laser Maze Challenge: $5 per person
  • The Flyer: $14 per person
  • Escape Room (either of the two): $28 per person
  • Rush VR: $8 per person

You can also buy tickets in packages for two, three, four, or even all five experiences and get great discounts!

*If you love the first 7D ride and decide to try another one, there are also discounts on the subsequent rides.

>> Visit their website to check out their pricing

More Fun Kid-Friendly Activities

Aquarium of the Bay: While you are on Pier 39, head over to the Aquarium of the Bay. This living museum offers a look at the plants and animals that live in the San Francisco Bay. You will find everything from jellyfish to small sharks. Click here for pictures and additional details on visiting.

Mirror Maze: Another kid-friendly experience on Pier 39 is the Mirror Maze. You will walk through a colorful maze as you try to find your way out. It's an adventure that is fun for the entire family.

SF Bay Cruises: Just a few steps away from Pier 39, you will find the ferries for the SF Bay Cruises. The standard cruise is 60 minutes long and takes you on a journey around the bay. This popular cruise takes you under the Golden Gate Bridge twice! Click here for details.

Other Things to Do in Fisherman's Wharf

Ghirardelli Square: This cute, historic square features more than a dozen boutique shops, gourmet bakeries, and a place for wine tasting. It also houses four Ghirardelli Chocolate Stores. It's the perfect place to spend a few hours and find that perfect gift. Click here for details.

Alcatraz: A visit to Alcatraz is a must for any first-time visitors to San Francisco. During your visit to this old federal prison, you will learn more about its infamous inmates (Al Capone, the Birdman, and George Machine Gun Kelly). Click here to see pictures and to learn more about what it's like to visit.

Musee Mecanique: For those who love games, this museum at Pier 45 is a paradise and a walk down memory lane for many. That's because they offer over 300 vintage mechanical arcade games that still operate. It's free to visit, but you'll want to bring quarters to play. Find out more and see pictures of this attraction.

Go for a Ride at the 7D Experience

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