If your kids like ocean life, a visit to the Aquarium by the Bay will be a big hit. The Aquarium Of The Bay is located on the picturesque shores of the San Francisco Bay. The aquarium is home to nearly 20,000 animals, many of which are native to the waters just outside the facility.
Visitors will encounter mesmerizing walls of jellies, a huge octopus, a couple sharks, turtles, crabs, & otters, and enjoy the chance to have up close and personal encounters with leopard sharks, bat rays, skates, and other “splash zone" animals. There are also a few pools to touch the starfish, sea cucumbers, & manta rays.
While smaller in size than most major aquariums, there are still many interesting exhibits to see. Guests are encouraged to visit, enjoy, learn, and form a new appreciation for the ecosystem and its inhabitants. Plan to stay for about an hour.
Things to Do
- Visit the Bay Theater to view a documentary or animated film. Many of the animated films are available in 3D and proceeds benefit conservation efforts.
- Take advantage of tours! For an extra fee aquarium visitors five years and older are welcome to participate in the Behind The Scenes tour, which includes an exclusive view from above the tanks, as well as information on conservation efforts.
- Walk through the "tunnel of the sea" for a full view of sharks and fish as they swim all around you. Sometimes you'll even get to see live fish feedings.
- Guests eight years and older are also invited to take part in a shark feeding tour, in which visitors are able to feed sharks and rays; guests are also invited to view baby animals not yet featured on exhibit.
- Otters up Close is one of the newest exhibits in the aquarium. Make sure to stop by and see the daily presentations featuring these beautiful river otters native to North America!
Aquarium Of The Bay Insider Tips
- This is a smaller-sized aquarium so you can probably see most of the exhibits in about an hour or so. It's a little pricey for it's size, but definitely worth a visit. Pier 39 has lots of great options for lunch & dinner as well as shopping.
- Avoid the mid-day crowds
- The aquarium is the host of nearly 500,000 visitors per year. It is recommended that families visit when the exhibits open in the morning, or just before closing in order to get the best view.
- Make Reservations
- If planning on being part of the shark feeding tour, it is recommended that you reserve your spot at least one week in advance.
- Locals receive discounts
- Residents of San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, Santa Clara, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, San Mateo, and Contra Costa counties are eligible for reduced admission prices. Please show a valid drivers license to aquarium staff at the time of entry to receive your discounted rate.
- Explore the pier outside
- Admission into the aquarium is guaranteed throughout the day. Visitors can exit the facility to enjoy unrelated activities and are welcomed back with ticket at any time.
- Purchase Tickets Online
- Purchasing tickets online save you the time and hassle of waiting in line. Your tickets will also be good for 90 days.