The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito is not only a great side-trip for San Francisco visitors, it’s a popular layover for sick and injured sea lions, along with those who just need a little R&R. Animal lovers of all ages will enjoy a close-up look at how these animals are rehabilitated and released back to the sea.
The center, which is free to visit, has rescued and rehabilitated thousands of California sea lions, Pacific harbor seals, northern elephant seals, sea otters, and many other sea animals.
Combine your trip to The Marine Mammal Center with a hike to one of the best lookouts in Marin, Hill 88. The trail head is just down the road from the center.
Wander the halls of the center and observe labs where food is prepared for the patients. (Fish is a popular menu choice!) On the walls find photos of previous patients, along with their heartwarming stories. From the upper observation deck visitors can get a look at the current patients and watch staff members tend to them. The courtyard has a life-size elephant seal statue, and a great open view to Rodeo Beach and the headlands.
WHAT: Admission to the Marine Mammal Center is free, or they accept small donations. (Docent led tours are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, kids under 4-years old for free; members and a guest are also free.) The Center sometimes offers a $2 discount on tours.
WHEN: Open seven days a week, 10 am to 5 pm. Docent led tours available.
WHERE: The Marine Mammal Center, 2000 Bunker Rd., Sausalito, CA (at Fort Cronkhite, just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco).
SAVVY TIP: Check out the current Patients at the center on the Marine Mammal Center website, updated daily.