Friday, January 29, 2016

San Francisco's Bay Aquarium brings out the kid in the curious of all ages

These jellyfish -- as graceful as ballerinas -- attract viewers from all over the world, and of all ages at Aquarium of the Bay.
A wondrous, eye-popping time awaits in the undersea tunnels.



IT DOESN'T TAKE much to bring out the kid in me.
An aquarium takes a few decades off my age and behavior immediately.  From the get-go, I'm a kid again.
Seals sun and nap in their own area, just outside the aquarium.
The aquarium's Sea Lion Center is free, with presentations,too.
Fish of all colors abound in the Bay.
I love watching the marine life that lives beneath the surface of the waters.    The Aquarium of the Bay at San Francisco's Pier 39 is a wondrous, compact way to get up close and personal with the ambassadors of the waters.
ON A ROLL from our happy day at San Francisco Zoo, we brought our nature explorations to the underwater tunnels and byways of this small but beautifully arranged aquarium.
A little mermaid enjoys an insider's view of marine life from a clever "bubble."
We kidnapped my niece and her two budding naturalists, and set off for another day communing with other species.
The aquarium's conveniently located at Embarcadero and Beach Street, at the edge of the famed Pier 39.  Its specialty is local aquatic animals from the San Francisco Bay and neighboring waters.
Behind the scenes tours offer a chance to climb a catwalk above the tanks and learn about dive operations.
And you can feed the sharks if you dare!
IF I WERE a kid, I'd convince my teacher to book the Sleepover at the Aquarium of the Bay. (It's available for enterprising school outings.)
The graceful bat rays in one of the exhibits are able to be gently touched 
with a single finger. They know when mealtime is near, and surface playfully.
HELPFUL GUIDES love to chat with visitors about the various displays.  One pointed out the octopus between the two tunnels -- a beautiful, reddish orange guy who seemed a bit shy and was nicely hidden by the coral and plantlife.
Contented aquarium goers leave Pier 39, until next time.
As we strolled through the exhibits, we listened for announcements, but didn't time things right to catch a presentation.  When we return, we hope to watch the sevengill shark feeding, then wander to the tidepool area to see what crabs, sea anemone, worms and small fish like for lunch! We did enjoy a stroll to the free seal haunt just out the door.
Check out the latest on our book tour 
A "Sharks of Alcatraz" talk is scheduled daily, along with "Otter Chat" near the home of these delightful, fast-moving river divers.  And "8 Arms, 9 Brains," near the octopus gallery sounds fascinating (see it daily at high noon.) 
THE AQUARIUM'S thrust is on education, grooming the next generation of young marine-life lovers to be proper sea stewards. What a bittersweet thrill to leave, having spent the day with 20,000 other creatures -- and that's just the ones in the tanks and tunnels!
Actors Manny Fernandes and Carla Harting are delightful playing two old
friends and sparring neighbors who eventually yield to their attraction. 
UP NEXT: A love story with a brogue. "Outside Mullingar" is playing southern California at the renowned San Diego Repertory Theatre. It's a charming love story with a bite, featuring four gifted actors, a talented musical trio to get your toes tapping, deft direction, and the lyrical writing of Oscar and Pulitzer-Prize-winner John Patrick Shanley ("Doubt" and "Moonstruck.") Preview it here at, then book tickets to put you in a Valentine's Day frame of mind and heart. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us late Friday, when we post our weekend piece.


  1. Yes, a lovely escape from crowds and activity of a day of touring. We found the Bay Aquarium a delight, loved the smallness & intimacy of the tunnels. Our fellow "fish finders" included a group of students from Japan, a family from France and fellow Americans, all enjoying life "under the sea." We'll be back. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Love this trip with you guys! So much fun. Kids want to go back,now!

  3. We have been to probably 50 aquariums in our travels through the years. Just recently, in the fabulous fairly new one in Atlanta. We will make a point to include this delightful one on Pier 39, which we have strolled past many times!

  4. Oakland Aquarium FansFebruary 1, 2016 at 5:55 PM

    This is wonderful! We live across the way in Oakland and often enjoy it. The bat rays are my favorites.....a terrific photo.

  5. We are staying in Marin County, vacationing from Australia, and have seen the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This looks up our alley -- a smaller, delightful option. While we loved Monterey Bay, it is a bit overwhelming.

  6. I can't get over the appearance of the bat rays! Beautiful pictures as usual.