Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco, CA

Embarcadero at Beach StreetSan Francisco, CA 94133
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Starting at
$32.75 $26.00
Total Price: $26.00 (USD)
You Save: $6.75
TripAdvisor user rating 3.50 out of 5 Based on 1704 reviews


From adorable river otters to green moray eels, explore the marine life below San Francisco Bay at Aquarium of the Bay. Dive deep into the bay (without the diving, of course) to see over 20,000 aquatic animal species including octopuses, jellyfish, and sharks. Get up close and personal with several types of sea animals at the touch pools. And more…

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Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our San Francisco Travel Experts
  • Plan to spend about an hour and a half to see all exhibits.
  • Walk through two acrylic tunnels (Near Shore and Sharks of Alcatraz) for a fully immersive experience that allows you to truly explore the Bay.
  • Aquarium of the Bay is located on the iconic waterfront at PIER 39.
  • Exhibits feature thousands of aquatic animals and plants.
  • Interactive exhibits provide visitors with hands-on learning opportunities.
  • Last entry is 30 minutes prior to closing time.
  • Aquarium of the Bay does not validate parking.
  • The aquarium is closed on Christmas Day.
  • Face masks are required for unvaccinated guests.


from Aquarium of the Bay
Explore the magic, beauty, and wonder of San Francisco Bay at the Aquarium of the Bay. Get up close and personal and come face to fin with more than 24,000 local marine animals. Your visit will take you through three main habitat areas that display the amazing riches that lie beneath the surface of the San Francisco Bay and surrounding waters.

Your exploration begins with Discover the Bay. This gallery introduces the ecosystem of San Francisco Bay and features seven different animal habitats, showing how they form homes for the creatures who live in the Bay. Exhibit highlights include the bright orange Garibaldi (the California State Marine Fish), green moray eels, rockfish, swirling schools of anchovies and newly hatched skates, baby perch, and other fish.

Continue your journey and see mesmerizing jellies before entering our two tunnels with leopard sharks, giant sea bass, bat rays, giant Pacific octopuses, eight-foot seven-gill sharks, San Francisco Bay’s largest predators, and five other local species of sharks.

Get ready for an unforgettable experience with the chance to touch bay rays, sharks, sea stars, sea cucumbers and more. The touch pools are accompanied by the interactive Bay lab station, where you'll learn how climate change is affecting the Bay’s animals on land and in the water.

These adorable and playful wildlife ambassadors help to teach us how important it is to have a healthy environment to live in and swim in. Watch their antics as they romp, wrestle, and tumble around in cascading waterfalls, two pools, and naturalistic climbing logs.

Your Aquarium of the Bay tickets also include admission to the Sea Lion Center – PIER 39, Eco Center at Heron Park – South end of San Francisco and the Bay Model – in Sausalito. The Sea Lion Center features interactive displays, educational videos, fascinating presentations, and one-on-one interactions with Naturalists. Visitors can touch real sea lion artifacts, including pelts and skulls, or size themselves up next to a life-sized sea lion skeleton.

The EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park is an educational community center that uses sustainable on-site power, water, and wastewater systems. Nearly every feature of this facility is designed to educating the public about
renewable energy, pollution and greenhouse gas reduction, wastewater treatment, sustainable building materials, rainwater harvesting, and the green economy. It features a solar photovoltaic energy system, a living roof, and Native Only Landscaping.

The Bay Model shows the effect of the water flow of the San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This allows scientists, educators, and visitors the chance to view the complete bay-delta system in its entirety, complete with working tides and currents.

Closed on Christmas Day.

Aquarium of the Bay Reviews

168 Reviews
Fabian Schäfer Tripster User Profile Image
Fabian Schäfer
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Beautiful aquarium for 1 or 2 hours"
December 2022
Nice Aquarium with many different fishes, not that big, two beautiful undersea tunnels and otters.
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Tip: Need about an hour to get through, 2 hours if relaxed. Prices at the aquarium are much higher than via Tripster.

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Jacquelyn West Tripster User Profile Image
Jacquelyn West
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Bay creatures"
July 2021
It has plenty of duplicate plaques with each creature's information so won't get crowded at one plaque. The dimmed environment makes it realistic as if truly under the depths with the creatures.
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Tip: It's not too large so stays length is no more than 1-2 hours. No flash photography.

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Sibi s. Tripster User Profile Image
Sibi s.
Pleasanton, CA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"A wonderful experience"
January 2020
I should definitely thanks Tripster for giving tickets at a really great price. I have been comparing many websites for cheaper ticket prices ,but I got the best deal with tripster.
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Kayla Chelman  Tripster User Profile Image
Kayla Chelman
Tracy, CA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Took our son for the first time"
January 2020
My son is 1, and he loved seeing all the fish swimming! Just wish it were bigger
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Vladimir  German  Tripster User Profile Image
Vladimir German
Sacramento , CA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Amazing Experience!"
January 2020
One of the most interesting places to visit on Pier 39! The staff here is very kind and energetic. They gave us specific directions on how we could touch the stingrays, and also explained everything you would want to know about jellyfish. Personally, my favorite was walking through the two long tunnels and seeing all the different species of animals swim overhead!
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Tip: Kids will love seeing the marine life at this aquarium!

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Duvan Castano Tripster User Profile Image
Duvan Castano
1 Review
December 2019
Animals should be free
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Tip: No

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Ashley Jones Tripster User Profile Image
Ashley Jones
Sonoma, CA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Not worth the money"
November 2019
It’s very small and crowded. For the prices they are asking for, this was not worth it at all. It took only 40 minutes to go through it and that was us taking our time. You’re better off going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
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Vanessa G. Tripster User Profile Image
Vanessa G.
Vacaville , CA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
September 2019
My fiancé and I were in San Francisco for the day. We had absolutely no plans and came up with the idea of heading to the aquarium.
Not only did we save $20, the purchase was so quick and so easy!!!
We will definitely be using this again!
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Frequently Asked Questions about Aquarium of the Bay

How long does Aquarium of the Bay take to go through?

Generally walking through at an average pace, seeing all exhibits, it takes about 90 minutes. Scheduled presentations can extend 10-20 minutes.

Is there parking for Aquarium of the Bay?

Aquarium of the Bay does not have a parking lot, but public parking and paid metered street parking is available. Parking facilities are available at Pier 35 or across from the aquarium's main entrance at the PIER 39 Garage (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Aquarium of the Bay does not validate parking, but many PIER 39 restaurants do.

What is the best way to get to Aquarium of the Bay?

Aquarium of the Bay is located on the iconic waterfront at PIER 39. Utilizing public transportation is highly recommended. If you are using your own transportation, driving directions to the Aquarium from various destinations are listed below for your convenience: (1) Oakland/East Bay via Bay Bridge – TOLL ROAD: I-80 West, take Exit 2B Harrison St/Embarcadero, Right turn onto Harrison, Left onto Embarcadero (2) Marin/North Bay via Golden Gate Bridge – TOLL ROAD: HWY 101 South, Exit Marina Blvd/Girard Rd, left onto Girard Rd/Marina Blvd, Left onto Bay Street, Left onto Mason Street, Right onto North Point, Left onto Grant Avenue (3) San Jose/South Bay/Peninsula: EITHER VIA 101 North, Exit Fourth Street, Merge onto Bryant Street, Left onto Embarcadero OR VIA 280 North, Exit King Street/Embarcadero (4) VIA BART or MUNI: Get off train at Embarcadero Station, go to ground level exiting tunnel toward Drumm Street or Spear Street @ street level. Walk to Market Street & Main Street and transfer to the MUNI F-Market Street Car.

What programs are available to ticket holders?

Aquarium of the Bay hosts several daily programs for guests, including Shark Station, Sharks of Alcatraz, Meet Our Otters, California touch pools, and many “up close and personal” opportunities with several animals.

Does Aquarium of the Bay allow food and drinks in the aquarium?

Closed lid drinks are allowed, food is not allowed.

Can I bring my dog?

Unfortunately, animals are not allowed on PIER 39, with the exception of Service Animals.

Is the Aquarium wheelchair accessible?

The Aquarium is mostly accessible. Behind the Scenes and Feed the Sharks Experiences: Accommodations can be made for standard-size wheelchairs. (Must check with Aquarium Operations prior to arrival by calling the number on your e-ticket.) The Aquarium has wheelchairs to use during your visit on a first come first serve basis, photo ID is held during the use of the wheelchair.