Aquarium of the Bay
Location: PIER 39, 2 Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Hours: Hours change seasonally, please check website for details.
Description: A fun day exploring San Francisco's Pier 39 can also include an exploratory trip to the aquarium. You don't have to travel all the way to Monterey for a trip to explore the seas. Although not as gigantic as the aquarium in Monterey, Aquarium of the Bay still has plenty to offer! A movie theater shows rolling movies on different aspects of marine life. There are lots to see for children including many types of the glowing jellies, schools of friendly fish, small amphibians, and rodents. There are two underground walk ways where you walk right beneath many swimming creatures including tiger sharks. There is an octopus tank that children can simulate poking their heads in to. Upstairs is a chance to pet sting rays, sharks, and starfish in their touching pools. My favorite are the river otters which will be running around splishing and splashing all over their exhibit.
Highlights: The touching pool can occupy a lot of time and if your child is adventurous trying to feel their bodies and parts is fun and exciting. Also on that level there are consistently other small animals being handled by keepers for you to touch and learn about. Everyone there is very knowledgeable and very willing to answer all of your child's inquiries. The aquarium is located on Pier 39, so there are many other opportunities to explore your surroundings on the pier as well. The pier offers unlimited eating chances, a chance to watch the famous sea lions barking at each other, and if you walk to the end of the pier you will find a merry-go-round, an arcade, and a 3-D shooting experience game.
Tips: The aquarium is reasonably priced or at least a little less than other similar places but parking costs in San Francisco are gonna get you, so while I suggest exploring all the pier and surrounding areas has to offer I also implore you to watch the time and what lot you park in. $2 every 15 minutes adds up!!!