Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco, CA

Embarcadero at Beach Street San Francisco, CA 94133
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Overview

From adorable river otters to green moray eels, you’ll discover the natural wonders of marine life at Aquarium of the Bay. With over 1000 aquatic animal species to see and learn about, this aquarium is ideal for all ages. Dive deep into the bay (without the diving, of course) to see the octopus, jellyfish, and more. A touch exhibit is available but remember to respect the marine life!

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our San Francisco Travel Experts
  • The aquarium is closed on Christmas Day.
  • Aquarium of the Bay does not validate parking.
  • Exhibits feature thousands of aquatic animals and plants.
  • Interactive exhibits provide visitors with hands-on learning opportunities.

Description

from Aquarium of the Bay
Explore the magic, beauty, and wonder of San Francisco Bay at Aquarium of the Bay. 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.

DISCOVER THE BAY
Your exploration begins in Discover the Bay, which features eight exhibits holding over 1,000 aquatic animals. 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.

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

TOUCH THE BAY
Get ready for an unforgettable experience with the change to touch bay rays, sharks, sea stars, sea cucumbers and more.

At the interactive PG&E Bay Lab, learn from our naturalist how climate change is affecting the Bay’s animals on land in the water.

NORTH AMERICAN RIVER OTTERS: WATERSHED AMBASSADORS
These active and engaging wildlife ambassadors help to teach us how important it is to have a healthy environment to live and swim in. Watch their antics as they romp, wrestle and tumble around in cascading waterfalls, two pools, and naturalistic climbing logs.

Your ticket also includes 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 education 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. Features Solar Photovoltaic Energy System, 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, educations, and visitors the chance to view the complete bay-delta system complete with working tides and currents.

Closed on Christmas Day.


Tripster Customer Reviews

160 Reviews
Tripster Customer
Brentwood , CA
2 Reviews
Verified Traveler
"Flippin’ Fantastic"
July 2019
This Aquarium is wonderful! The exhibits are fun and well taken care of. They had the cutest baby bat rays that were very social in the touch pool. They had the largest freshwater fish in North America. They also make a point to express the need for conservation and care of our oceans and those who live there. Fantastic, Thanks!
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Tip: It is on pier 39, and they stamp your hand so you can be exploring other places, and come back for shows and feedings!

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Jael Raymond
Midland , MI
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Small but nice"
June 2019
There was some really cool areas in the aquarium like the tunnels that has sea life surrounding you. Just wish it was a little bigger.
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Darian Wang
San Jose , CA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"SF Aquarium of the Bay"
June 2019
Fast and easy, download tickets in phone and screen it when arriving.
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Tip: Go straight to the entrance to redeem your ticket

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Ty Ferguson
Twain Harte, CA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Not Worth the Price"
June 2019
I was expecting a lot more than was delivered. If you have visited any other major aquarium in the past do not waste your money on this one. Very small (took less than 30 minutes to see 'everything') and very little interaction or activity. The Sea Otter "encounter" amounted to two sea otters asleep in the rocks.
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Tip: High price for the experience

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Ana Rivera
1 Review
"We love this Aquarium"
June 2019
Its very good place . Clean, safe and they have a friendly staff.
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Luis Becerril
Winter Park, FL
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"visit to San Francisco"
May 2019
it was simple to get access to get my tickets
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Tip: The visit to pier 39

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Mohinder Kumar
Fremont , CA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Fabulous Trip to SF Pier 39"
April 2019
Aquarium of the Bay is a beautiful place to take kids . It was a learning experience for my 7 and 9 years old. They loved visiting sea animals especially Sharks at theBay. I recommend parents to take kids to this place and explore sea life to them.
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Tip: Sharks and Sea lions.

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Wasif Saddique
Sacramento , CA
1 Review
Verified Traveler
"Honeymoon"
April 2019
It was a great experience
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TripAdvisor Reviews
TripAdvisor user image
Li S
"Great layout, terrific UNDERWATER view in their tunnels"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 24, 2019 NEW
All aquarium should have tunnels!! You really feel you are inside the ocean in their two tunnels. I almost screamed out when I see the shark swimming across right above my head (I first noticed it by the shark's shadow :D ). It is so romantic when groups of sardine fish swim across, like stars which light up the ocean. You can also re-enter at any time of the same day. We tried to use their restrooms to skip the long line at public restroom. XD Anyway, well worth the money.
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MelissaA707
Thornton, Colorado
"Glad we went"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 23, 2019 NEW
The tunnels were really cool and they had a lot of variety there. The otters were adorable. Touching the sting rays and watching how playful they were was mesmerizing.
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joedasmith
Charlotte, North Carolina
"Sea Life"
TripAdvisor user rating 3 out of 5
Reviewed August 15, 2019 NEW
In the heart of the touristy area of San Fran, the Aquarium came up a little short as many touristy spots do. The layout of the building can be a little confusing. You have to walk up a sizable set of stairs to find the, not so obvious, entrance. A short walk pass several fish tanks will lead you to an elevator to take you to the next section. The next section was a pretty cool walk past many jelly fish then through a tunnel under a huge tank. There was a plethora of fish ranging from seven-gil sharks to a school of anchovies. In the middle there is a tank with one octopus. After this section you find your way back to the elevator that takes you to the third and final section. The final section was my favorite; the sea otters. It was pass a few hands on exhibits that allow you to touch baby rays and other sea life that I found the otters. Full of life and character, these little mammals torpedoed through the water making a spectacle of themselves. The tour ends in the gift shop, like most tours end. Overall, it was a nice aquarium but I was expecting more. It took us no more than an hour to go through and we weren’t rushing.
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MDHonu
"Fantastic! Aquarium of the Bay"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed August 14, 2019 NEW
This is a relatively small aquarium, but it is full of aquatic life and has a great vibe. We bought tickets through our hotel concierge, so there was a slight discount. We decided to go right when it opened, so it was not too crowded. As we were leaving about an hour later, there was a line at the door. The tunnels are a lot of fun, and we spent quite a bit of time just watching the fish, especially the school of anchovies. Upstairs are some reptiles and the river otters. Although a bit pricey, this is worth a visit. It took us about an hour, but we were allowed to return later that day if we chose. If timing had allowed, we would have upgraded to the behind the scenes tour, but we had something else already booked. The staff are friendly and answered all our questions and made the visit even more enjoyable.
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HannaBragberg
Strangnas, Sweden
"Always fascinating with aquariums"
TripAdvisor user rating 3 out of 5
Reviewed August 12, 2019 NEW
Conveniently located on Pier 39 and entrance included in the San Francisco City Pass, this aquarium is not to be missed. Not very big, but very interactive.
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Aquarium of the Bay is located at Embarcadero at Beach Street San Francisco, CA 94133
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Frequently Asked Questions about Aquarium of the Bay

Is parking available?
Parking facilities are available at Pier 35 or across from the main entrance at the PIER 39 garage. The garage is 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?
Utilizing public transportation is highly recommended. Present a valid Bay Area public transportation pass and receive $2 off adult admission, and $1 off child/senior admission (cannot be combined with any other offer).

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.

Can I bring my service dog?
Yes. Guests may bring service dogs into the aquarium.