The next thing on my daughter’s Father’s Day itinerary was to go to the Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39. We parked in the Wharf and promised an arm and a leg for the fee. I wished we would had parked by the Ferry Building (only $5/hour) and taken a pedi cab for about $30. That would have been a fun experience and the same cost as parking. If you have older kids, no kids, or you brought a stroller, walk. It’s really not that far and walking along the Embarcadero is pretty nice.
Anyway, the Aquarium of the Bay is a great place. There are so many things the kids loved! Tickets are $19.95 for adults, $11.95 for 4-12yo, and kids 4 and under are free. I don’t think these prices are that bad. There is a discount for locals. If you book online you get $2 off each ticket. Plus, if you are a Sacramento Zoo member, your admission is 50% off. That’s awesome! For the price of your ticket, you get the basic self-guided tour with docents along the way. You can add a guided tour, a magic show, a 3D movie, and some other perks. You can see a complete list on their website.
We started upstairs and checked out some pretty cool sardines, some tropical fish, and learned what can happen if you’re not careful about what you put down your drain. A docent lead us downstairs to the tunnels and jelly fish exhibits. The jelly fish are amazing. I was surprised to learn that there are so many species of them.
Next, we got on the conveyer belt and checked out the first of two tunnels, Near Shore. Here, you can see who lives in 10-15 feet of water. We saw a school of anchovies and some really beautifully colored fish.
They have a pretty fabulous shark tunnel, Deep Water. There were all different types of sharks, but most of them were pretty young. There was one really big one. The kids really enjoyed seeing the sharks. They liked that they were “having a sleepover” near the end of the tunnel.
Next up, the octopus exhibit. The actual octopus was pretty shy when we were there. I was surprised to learn that octopus have a beak. There were some octopus sensory exhibits that showed what the tentacle of an octopus feels like.
The first of two touch pools was pretty deep and housed sting rays, skate, and a baby tiger shark. My daughter really wanted to touch a sting ray, but the pool was a little deep for her arms, so she had a hard time. With a little help, she and my son both touched one. They squealed so loud!
The other touch pool is more shallow so the kids could reach the sea life easier. This pool had sea anemone and starfish. All touch pools have a one finger touch only rule. I was with my daughter checking out a beautiful bat star when our lovely 2yo decided he wanted to pick up one of these bad boys to see what’s under the hood. My hubby was with him and told him to put it down immediately. None of the docents saw, but the large group of tourists who had been with us since the beginning saw and thought it was hysterical. They were laughing so hard that all I could do was laugh too. I mean, he’s a 2yo boy. Plus, I’m sure this was not the only time someone flipped over a starfish.
Throughout the facility, they were really hyping up their new Otterly Exciting Otter Exhibit. Unfortnuately, this one was a real snoozefest. Literally, they were sleeping… all of them. Out of view from visitors. The docent showed us the difference in skull size from a river otter and a sea otter. That was pretty intersesting.
After that, we headed over to Pier 39 to check out all the touristy fun and frivolity. One of the best parts was the magic shop. My hubby had spent a lot of time in magic shops as a youngster and really loved that our daughter was so into this. Thankfully, the nice guys that worked there were very kind to oblige with some fun, age appropriate magic tricks.
Then not was off to see the sea lions. I have always loved watching them, they are fascinating. They have a hierarchy that I don’t know anything about. But they are such fun to watch. The kids had a great time watching too. They were mimicking the barks along with a handful of other kids.
Then it was time for dinner. We decided to have some delicious burgers at Gott’s Roadside in the Ferry Building. This was my hubby’s request. We love the one in St. Helena. The outdoor dining area was perfect for rambunctious kids. As a bonus, the view of Coit Tower is fantastic.
After a surprisingly good night of sleep, we went to the Noah’s Bagels on Chestnut Street (one if my fave streets in SF) and took breakfast to Chrissy Field for an early morning picnic. The weather was so fantastic and clear.
The kids had the best time checking out all the crabs in the rocks. Looking at the sea anemones and mussels.
There were so many shells to collect (including this heart shaped one), so many sights to see, and so many pups to meet (it’s a dog friendly beach). We even found a starfish that had washed up on the beach. We were laughing so hard at B getting stuck in “quicksand”. Lyla was in heaven here. We had such a great time that I almost wished we skipped the aquarium and came here instead. Oh well, at least we crossed something off our Summer Bucket list.
Such a beautiful day. You should Go See Do: San Francisco.