happyly approved

Aquarium of the Bay

The Embarcadero &, Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94133

Monday – Sunday 10am – 6pm


fun-paid-activities, indoor-activities

Explore the local San Francisco marine ecosystem at the fascinating Aquarium of the Bay!

The Aquarium of the Bay is a sanctuary that houses 20,000 marine animals for you to visit. All local species, this magical aquarium will have you feeling as though you're submerged under the very bay it overlooks. I found the staff overwhelmingly educated, inspired, and eager to share their knowledge with everyone.

There are five main exhibits to explore: Discover the Bay, Go With the Flow, Under the Bay, Touch the Bay, and River Otters. There is no need to pick favorites because each has its special charm. Visiting the Jellyfish is always a highlight for me at aquariums. When a glass wall sits between you, mesmerizing tentacles and vibrant colors are ethereal and inviting. The sharks of Alcatraz tunnel get you up close and personal with sevengill sharks, the largest predatory animal in the San Francisco Bay, while a trained professional shares their knowledge. The tunnels provide the perspective of actually being submerged underwater with everyone. It's very cool for all ages. I also made it just in time to the daily Squid dissection, something I never thought I'd be able to say I got to participate in! I highly recommend making this a part of your visit if you're in the area.  

The aquarium itself is not particularly large. However, it's a great way to spend a couple of hours on Pier 39 before or after checking out the rest of its attractions, and it's by far my favorite attraction out of everything.  


Good for All Ages Interactive Activities Aquarium
Thoughtfully captured by:
Emily Coleman
Emily Coleman is a Jersey girl born and raised who caught the outdoor bug upon moving to Vermont to pursue a degree in Adventure Education and Environmental Studies from Green Mountain College. She spent most of her years before college deeply entrenched in the world of competitive cheerleading before discovering a passion for outdoor sports including mountain biking, white water kayaking, bikepacking, backpacking, slacklining, rock climbing, and skiing. Having been surrounded by children her entire life in her mother's daycare, she always had a strong affinity for kids. She moved to the mountains of Jackson Hole after graduating to coach for the local Kayak Club during the summers and nanny in the winters. Becoming a part of the Happy Active Family team felt like the perfect collision of her passion for building strong community bonds and encouraging an outdoor lifestyle.
More activities by Emily
Play to learn at the creative and interactive Jackson Hole Children’s Museum
An open gymnastics gym for children.
A community-built natural space with lakes, grassy knolls, walking/biking paths, and – in the winter – snow activities too.

Recommended Gear