Several weeks ago I was excited to learn that a fellow travel blogger took advantage of the discounted admission to the Aquarium of the Bay promotion that we mentioned back in January. So I asked Chester from Relentless Financial Improvement if he would be interested in writing us a guest post reviewing the Aquarium of the Bay. Please welcome him in sharing his experience.
No visit to San Francisco is complete without a walk through San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. This popular tourist spot is home to restaurants, sea lions, cable cars, shopping, street performers and various attractions such as the Aquarium of the Bay.
The Aquarium of the Bay is at the edge of Pier 39, located at Embarcadero and Beach Street. From the outside, this aquarium looks very plain and unassuming. However, once you enter this 50,000 square foot aquarium, you enter an underwater world filled with over 20,000 amazing aquatic animals, focused on species from the San Francisco Bay and neighboring waters. This facility holds 700,000 gallons of bay sea water in 300 feet of crystal clear acrylic tunnels you can travel through.
The Aquarium of the Bay is divided into three main exhibits: Discover the Bay, Under the Bay, and Touch the Bay.
The first exhibit you are introduced to is Discover the Bay, which includes a collection of smaller tanks that display the marine creatures that live in the bay. Here you can see anchovies, Garibaldi (the California State Fish), moray eels, lobsters, fish in coral reefs, and more.
Next, you board an elevator that takes you down to the lower level of the aquarium, where you go to the second exhibit: Discover the Bay. This is the largest exhibit in the aquarium.
You are greeted by beautiful, pulsating groups of various jellyfish.
Then you step onto a moving walkway surrounded by acrylic glass, which allows you to explore what it looks like to be a scuba diver in the deeper waters of the San Francisco Bay. You will slowly travel through 300 feet of tunnels to see hundreds of sea animals swim around and above you. You will be surrounded by various species of sharks, stingrays, sturgeon, and fish.
Here you will see a unique type of shark called the Sevengill, which happens to be San Francisco Bay’s largest predator. This shark has a peculiar blunt snout that you don’t normally see with sharks. While most sharks have 5 gill slits per side, the Sevengill shark has a unique set of 7 gill slits.
Next you get to see a giant octopus up close. Be sure to watch all of the octopus videos, showing how intelligent and incredibly flexible these creatures are.
Touch the Bay is the last exhibit in the aquarium. Here you get a chance to touch different types of rays, skates, sharks, starfish, and more in shallow pools of water. In this part of the aquarium, you can also see some local land animals like snakes, frogs, and even an opossum (so random!).
The newest part of the aquarium is the Otter exhibit, which features 3 river otters. We did not see much here on our visit since all 3 otters were sleeping.
At the Aquarium of the Bay, there are also daily visitor programs like live presentations on otters, live shark feedings, as well as 3D movies in the Bay Theater. (Note: movie tickets are not included with paid admission to the aquarium)
One thing we didn’t realize until later was that your Aquarium ticket provides return privileges throughout the day. After visiting the aquarium, you can walk around the shops, see the sea lions on Pier 39, grab something tasty to eat, then come back and see more of the aquarium.
The Aquarium of the Bay is open 364 days of the year, only closing on Christmas day. The next time you find yourself strolling through San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, don’t forget to stop by the Aquarium of the Bay!
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Source: Relentless Financial Improvement. All photos ©Relentless Financial Improvement and used with permission.