Discover the Sea Lion Center at Pier 39
While PIER 39 is known for its abundance of bay-view restaurants and souvenir shops, its most prized inhabitants might be California sea lions. Learn all about these barky, playful marine creatures at the Sea Lion Center, a new nature center overlooking the sea lions’ hangout on PIER 39’s K-Dock.
Located on level 2 of the PIER 39 and operated by Aquarium of the Bay, the Sea Lion Center offers free admission to interactive displays, educational videos and opportunities to interact with aquarium naturalists. Meanwhile, an overlook of K-Dock supplies an up-close view of the charismatic mammals.
The purpose of the Sea Lion Center is to help visitors understand the sea lions’ role in the San Francisco Bay ecosystem, the steps taken to protect the creatures and what everyone can do to help the animals survive in their threatened habitat. Guests can touch real sea lion artifacts, including pelts and skulls, and size themselves up next to a life-size sea lion skeleton and a giant white shark replica. Information about various pinnipeds (fin-footed, semiaquatic marine animals) that live all over the world is also displayed at the center.
The beloved sea lions mysteriously settled at the K-Dock in 1990 and have called PIER 39 home ever since. The number of sea lions that occupy the dock varies by season, but the population hit a record of 1,701 slippery creatures in 2009.