There one place in The City By The Bay where you can travel through the ocean as if you were scuba diving — but without getting wet! At the San Francisco Aquarium of the Bay you walk through 300 feet of crystal-clear tunnels surrounded by water filtered directly from the San Francisco Bay, which is right outside the door. Circling above you are schools of fish, sharks, darting bat rays, mesmerizing moon jellies, and sea nettles.
Gone are the days of boring aquariums filled with fish behind glass that you can only look at. The modern San Francisco Aquarium of the Bay has a wide selection of hands-on activities, including feeding the sharks, exploring the interactive Bay Lab station, talking to divers and naturalists, and watching 3D films in the spacious Bay Theater. An interpretative naturalist is always nearby to answer questions.
Ecology at the San Francisco Aquarium
This large non-profit marine nature center holds over 700,000 gallons of water and 20,000 aquatic animals including a lair of giant Pacific octopus.
It’s very fascinating, so it’s easy to see why more than 600,000 visitors make their way to the Aquarium of the Bay each year. With that number of people, it’s a good idea to see it with an expert. On private and small group tours you discover how to help protect the world’s animals, with exhibitions focused on the Bay’s diverse aquatic animals and distinct ecosystems. The aquarium is a Certified Green Business and is dedicated to preserving the health of the San Francisco Bay and the animals living in it.
Ways to Visit the Aquarium
Of course, you can simply buy tickets, but there are also several ways to get free entrance into the Aquarium of the Bay.
1. CityPASS includes entrance to the aquarium plus free transportation during your stay in San Francisco, including the cable cars.
2. GO Card includes entrance to the aquarium plus 45 other popular attractions like SF-MOMA, the Exploratorium, de Young, and more.
3. Pier 39 Attraction Pass also includes admission to the aquarium, plus a Bay cruise and a Pier 39 Fun Pack with extra discounts.
Take a Guided Tour to Discover More
The San Francisco Aquarium offers behind-the-scenes tours where you join a professional naturalist on your visit to learn about one of the world’s great bays and its endless variety of life.
Following your guide, you stroll above the 700,000-gallon exhibit and take in the eight-foot-long sharks only an arm’s length away. Then there is the “jellies nursery” and other animals not on exhibit, only on this special tour. You’ll learn about the aquarium’s research on sharks and ways they are working to protect endangered species. Tours are 45 minutes and limited to 10 participants.