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Sea Lion Center

Certificate of Excellence
Fisherman’s Wharf
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Address: The Embarcadero at Beach Street, c/o Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone Number:
+1 415-262-4734
10:00 - 17:00
Closed now
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Sun - Thu 10:00 - 16:00
Fri - Sat 10:00 - 17:00

Operated and managed by Aquarium of the Bay, the Sea Lion Center is a...

Operated and managed by Aquarium of the Bay, the Sea Lion Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers free interpretive programs to complement one of San Francisco's most popular attractions. More than six million annual visitors will have the opportunity to learn all about California sea lions and their history at PIER 39, as well as what everyone can do to help these charismatic mammals survive in their threatened habitat. The Sea Lion Center includes a classroom and exhibit space located directly above the sea lions' regular hangout on PIER 39's K-Dock.

Hours of operation: Daily 10am-5pm.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 81 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 32
  • 16
    Very good
  • 4
  • 3
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Check how many sea lions ? Enjoy the view

Go inside and check the board! They count every day how many sea lions are in. If you have any questions: the researcher in there is the one to ask. I personally like the view... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 5 days ago
via mobile
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81 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 55: English reviews
Level Contributor
71 reviews
57 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

Go inside and check the board! They count every day how many sea lions are in. If you have any questions: the researcher in there is the one to ask. I personally like the view from the deck in front of the Center better than in front of the sea lions where all the masses stand

Thank RomanaK
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Loved to watch them argue over who was in fact king of the hill! You could tell each ones different personalities.

Thank Heather L
San Fernando, Trinidad
Level Contributor
183 reviews
77 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 January 2017

Those sea lions are so adorable plus they love the attention. The Centre is on the upper level so you can read some interesting facts and see the anatomy of the sea lions.

Thank mikecathy j
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Level Contributor
71 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 January 2017

It's free and it's crowded (because it's free). They're great to watch. When you've had your fill, go upstairs into the Sea Lion Center (also free) where you can buy T-shirts or learn a little about the sea lions. The center even sometimes has someone out in the viewing area to answer questions.

Thank Barbara L
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
158 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 November 2016 via mobile

Seeing a group of sea lion relaxing in the sun is always interesting. These one are conveniently located right in the middle of the city at Fishermans Wharf. They are a welcome break from the busy, noisy bustle that is all around. The Center (upstairs), has some more information. Drop by if you're near- I wouldn't make a special trip.

Thank ssyja
Chandler, Arizona, United States
Level Contributor
296 reviews
108 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 November 2016

My wife and I stopped here to see the sea lions while seeing the sight on Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf. My wife was very excited to see how many see lions were present and to see them swimming and active as well as out of the water sunning. The crowd to see can be large and it may take... More 

Thank KBJ278
Level Contributor
289 reviews
168 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 September 2016

It is located at the end of Pier 39. Before reaching the destination, you will come across many restaurants and souvenir shops. I came here at 9:30am this morning before visiting Aquarium of the Bay at 10am. Remember, you could go to the second floor to have a better view of the Sea Lions!

Thank Enhan
Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Level Contributor
142 reviews
81 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 159 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 August 2016

We loved watching the sea lions and returned to see them again a few days later. We had binoculars which adds to the experience. Some have numbers and there are small and large ones. In mid-August, the crowds were fine and there are risers to stand on if there is a big crowd. There were about 40 sea lions. Head... More 

Thank Tracey G
Indiana, USA
Level Contributor
163 reviews
96 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 145 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 July 2016

The world famous Sea Lions of Pier 39 have been congregating at the pier since shortly after the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989. They are famous for their cuteness, intelligence, playful attitude, and their notable braying. However, get here early (I got to the Pier at around 9am) or you will have to fight for a place to get good... More 

2 Thank McCall E
Central California
Level Contributor
47 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2016 via mobile

I don't get it. A bunch of sea lions sitting on piers. Sometimes there are seemingly hundreds (which I guess is a little impressive, and a lot noisy and stinky). Other times there are as few as 3 - 5. Good: it is a free attraction, kids like it for about 2 minutes Bad: it's a little hard to find... More 

2 Thank supertravel24

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Staying in Fisherman’s Wharf

Neighbourhood Profile
Fisherman’s Wharf
Packed with family-friendly entertainment, quality hotels, and good food, there’s something for everyone at Fisherman’s Wharf. From street performers and historic cable cars to art galleries and museums, a postcard-worthy photo is available on every corner. Bring your appetite: seafood lovers will be rewarded with Dungeness crab and sourdough bread bowls, while Ghirardelli Square will satiate anyone’s sweet tooth after a day at Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Don't forget to say hello to the adorable sea lions that make this neighbourhood a true San Francisco treat.
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