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The Aquarium of the Bay, located on Pier 39 in San Francisco, California, is a great place to take your family for a day full of fun and learning! Visit sea lions, sharks, tide pools, tropical fish, and SO much more!


Aquarium of the bay in san francisco CA

Last week our family took a day trip into the city for one last summer hurrah before we headed back to school. We “played tourist” for the day and took the boys to visit the world famous Pier 39 and the Aquarium of the Bay. It was a TON of fun!

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This was our family’s first time visiting the Aquarium of the Bay, and it definitely didn’t disappoint! The aquarium is smaller in size, but it still boasts all of our favorites – sharks, jellyfish, otters, tropical fish, and loads of hands-on activities. The facility is also home to two large aquarium tunnels that are seriously incredible!

Fish at the Aquarium of the BayWe found Dory, Nemo, and many, MANY more fishy friends!

pretty jellies found at aquarium of the bay

The Aquarium of the Bay has a nice jellyfish exhibit that features several different types of jellies. I could seriously sit there and watch jellyfish ALL day long – they’re mesmerizing! These Sea Nettle jellies reminded me of an extraterrestrial species!

marine life signs at aquarium of the bay san francisco

There are tons of educational opportunities at the Aquarium of the Bay that are perfect for children and adults alike. Interactive displays, staff-guided lessons, and hands-on learning stations are located all throughout the aquarium.

Interactive Displays at the Aquarium of the BayThe boys learned about tides, sharks, solar power, ocean conservation efforts, and much more during our visit.

Ray Touch Tank

The aquarium’s two touch tanks were a huge hit, of course! This cute little ray kept bobbing his head up and out of the water trying to get the boys attention! He was the spunkiest little sea creature I’ve ever seen, and he clearly loved being touched.

Tide Pool Touch Tank

The tide pool touch tank was teeming with sea life and absolutely gorgeous! The tide pools are incredibly true-to-life, and it was really fun to go “tidepooling” inside of the aquarium. Since we visited the aquarium on a weekday, it wasn’t very crowded, and we took advantage of having all of those lovely anemones and starfish all to ourselves for awhile.

people walking through aquarium tunnels

The supreme highlight of our visit, however, were the two impressively lengthy aquarium tunnels where we spent most of our time. One tunnel is filled with aquatic creatures that live in the kelp forest, and the other is home to extra large fish and local dwelling sharks. We spent a long time reading the numerous informational plaques and learning all about the different types of fish and creatures that inhabited the tunnels.

man standing in sharks of alcatraz tunnel

Fish and Sharks in the Aquarium Tunnel

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The shark tunnel was SO cool! The boys couldn’t get enough of the abundant leopard sharks that are common in the San Francisco Bay.

Aquarium of the Bay and Frito Lay

After our morning at the Aquarium of the Bay, we took a little snack break with our favorite Frito-Lay chips, and then we spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the rest of Pier 39. It was SO much fun!

Frito-Lay Snacks with FREE AZA Zoo and Aquarium Passes

Right now, when you purchase specially marked packages of Frito-Lay 2 Go (FL2Go) you can get a free kid’s pass to participating Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) facilities (valid for visits Monday thru Friday until 10/20/2016) to spark fun and adventure for the whole family!

How it Works:

  1. Purchase a specially marked package of FL2Go, featuring a tiger, panda, monkey, elephant or penguin.
  2. Visit to upload a photo of your receipt for proof of purchase and find your local participating AZA facility.
  3. Check your email for your free kid’s pass.
  4. Visit your local AZA facility for a family wildlife adventure!

Easy peasy!

The AZA has been a leader in conservation education for over a century, providing local areas with first-hand science and environmental education opportunities, while also working to save endangered species through their Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program. You can learn more about the Frito-Lay 2 Go (FL2Go) free kid’s pass and partnership with AZA to protect endangered species here.

Plush aquarium of the bay Shark

If you’re a Bay Area local or planning on visiting the San Francisco area, our family highly recommends visiting the Aquarium of the Bay on Pier 39!

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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