June is National Aquarium Month. This should be the impetus for you to get to the nearest aquarium and learn about the wonders of the deep sea and about the bay. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we’re actually quite close to the ocean, which is teeming with complex life below its cloudy surface. To aid you in your educational journey of watery habitats, we at the Clog have put together a list of Bay Area aquariums for you to visit this month.
Aquarium of the Bay
Pier 39, 2 Beach St., San Francisco
Located right off the Embarcadero BART station, this aquarium is the perfect place to learn about the animals that inhabit the bay. With 30,000 marine animals and a plethora of underwater glass tunnels, the Aquarium of the Bay allows you to get up close and personal with creatures ranging from the the bay’s largest predator, the sevengill shark, to the adorable and rambunctious river otter. It also houses touch pools, where you can directly interact with a rainbow of sea stars and a plethora of silky smooth rays. You can also pay a visit to California’s designated marine animal, the bright orange Garibaldi, and learn about the beguiling color-changing properties of the giant Pacific octopus.
California Academy of Sciences’ Steinhart Aquarium
55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco
The resident aquarium of the expansive California Academy of Sciences located in Golden Gate Park boasts one of the largest and deepest displays of coral reefs. It allows you glimpses of what it would be like to dive deep down into the waters surrounding the Philippines and swim among the inhabitants. This aquarium also houses the endangered African penguin, which you can see dive and frolic underwater. “Whales: Giants of the Deep” is an exhibit, until the end of November, where you can learn about the cultural significance of whales and the forces that endanger them in their natural habitats.
Marine Mammal Care Center
2000 Bunker Road, Sausalito, California
This is not necessarily an aquarium but rather a center for injured seals and sea lions, as well as their rehabilitation and eventual release back into the wild. Visitors are welcome to learn about and meet the center’s seal and sea lion patients. It’s located minutes away from the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlands, so it could be a nice stop on your way to the beach or to the various hiking trails in the area. More than half of all California sea lions are born June 15 each year, so on June 21, the center will be holding a birthday celebration for them. June 28 is Marine Science Sunday at the center, and the theme is “marine superheroes.” You can learn about how mammals learned to use tools and how dolphins learned to hunt on land.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
886 Cannery Row, Monterey, California
If you’re fine with driving a bit farther south and taking a day trip, then we highly recommend going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It’s one of the best aquariums in California. There are always plenty of exhibits that are engaging and educational. There is a “Tentacles” exhibit, where you can observe the world’s largest octopus, the world’s smallest squid and the vividly colorful flamboyant cuttlefish. Also, check out the exhibit “The Jellies Experience,” where watching the gentle movements of an abundance of exotic jellyfish might put you into a near-zen state of mind. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the aquarium’s resident sea otters, Abby, Gidget, Ivy, Kit and Rosa!
Image Sources: Carol Sawada, Clotee Allochuku, Steven Miller, John C. Bruckman, Veronica Belmont under Creative Commons