The weather forecast predicted a sunny day with a high of 64F in SF so we decided to revisit an old favorite - Aquarium of the Bay, at the Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco. We went by car, but a Caltrain and Muni combo will work just as well. Parking in downtown SF can be expensive most parking lots charge $12 for day long parking, street parking is better but getting parking around where you want to go can be tricky. Take along plenty of quarters just in case :).
We had a late start around 11 and reached SF Pier 29 by noon. We walked along the water seeing the boats and birds, and just before we reached the museum came a across a little blue play structure - slide etc. in a little park. So we took a break while our 2yo ran up and down and limbered up after his nap on the drive in. Lots of boats to look at on the bay and along the road, you can start to see the crowds and sightseeing bus tours.
About 30 minutes later we walked into the Aquarium, once again thanks to complimentary passes from Discover & Go. The first exhibit is about the bay’s ecosystems that support a wide variety of marine life, next an elevator ride and a walk through clear tunnels, with marine life from the bay and surrounding waters. There were beautiful jellyfish, schools of anchovies, sea bass and many colorful starfish. Here we also saw a beautiful Giant Pacific Octopus, rescued from a crab net, hermit crabs and red abalones.
In the second clear tunnel the deeper water habitat is shown with sharks, rays, sturgeon, rock fish etc. You can also see face to face (:)) - Sevengill sharks, Soupfin, Spiny Dogfish and Brown Smoothhound sharks. I liked watching a Skate glide by and then go and rest at the bottom of the tunnel, at a 45 degree angle to the wall, just as if he was parking! Once again there is an elevator ride and this time there are 2 pools where you can reach in and touch - rays, starfish etc.- typically the highlight of the visit for my 2yo.
Then we were out and in the sunshine, and had a picnic on a bench overlooking the bay. Once done, we walked out into Fisherman's wharf - enjoying the sun, music and crowds. A little window shopping and 1 carousel ride later ( $ 3 per ticket), we walked out from the shops to see the sea lions. It was an interesting sight - the pier was full of people looking at the sea lions, and the barges on the water were full of sea lions basking in the sun.
We then wrapped up as it was time for another nap for the 2yo, with the feeling of another Saturday well spent :).
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