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Elephant seals and other odd questions

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Brookfield, Illinois
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Elephant seals and other odd questions

So I am going back to San Fran for a wildlife expo. My first 2.5 days are good in San Fran. I am planning on leaving the rental car parked at the cheap hotel as parking at the Pier 39 area for my Whale Watching thingy looks to be too much $$. Leaving San Fran I was interested in seeing some of the larger Elephant Seals. Since I am going to end up the next few days at Curry Village 4 hours across at Yosemite, I was going to go down to the Ano Nuevo Park to look for them. Does anyone know if in October they will be there and if they come to shore at a certain part of the day (I will most likely be there in the afternoon, if I quickly take in the S.F. Zoo before leaving.)

And then once in Yosemite for 3 days I plan to do some small hikes and that, but is there anything I am missing in between these locations as I have a day again to drive back from Yosemite to the Bay area and would have time to stop off and check out a sanctuary, nature center, small zoo etc..? Thanks.

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Elephant seals and other odd questions

Brian from the Brookfield Zoo area -- I remember that zoo fondly as a young person.

Here is info on Año Nuevo Park http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=523 We've seen the seals when we've gone there I presume they are there year around. You may also want to look at elkhorn slough.

as far as other zoos go, imho the Oakland zoo is better than the SF zoo.

Out of the way up north in Santa Rosa is safari west which I think is great for an overnight but it won't fit the SF -- Monterey -- YNP route. Just an FYI

Edited: 15 August 2014, 15:32
Scottsdale, Arizona
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2. Re: Elephant seals and other odd questions

You can watch pinnipeds, either live or via the camera obscura at Lands End.

You can see otters at Point Lobos and other spots up and down the coast.

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60713-d11…

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60713-d25…

http://www.giantcamera.com/

seemonterey.com/things-to-do/…

Santa Clara...
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3. Re: Elephant seals and other odd questions

Have you been to Monterey before? If not, do consider rearranging so you can go to Moss Landing/Elkhorn Slough. Amazing wildlife there... sea otters , Harbor Seals, sea lions, and birds.

If you can not, then what you have is better than nothing. Año Nuevo usually requires a good 30-40 minutes walk to see the elephant seals. At Pierdra Blancas near Hearst Castle, they are right there next to the parking lot. Perhaps you can return another time to see everything.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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4. Re: Elephant seals and other odd questions

I am also a big fan of Moss Landing, a really nice little place. And I got some amazingly good grub at the Moss Landing Cafe.

tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g32748-Activitie…

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Brookfield, Illinois
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5. Re: Elephant seals and other odd questions

Thanks, I walk fast so that 40 min walk out to see the elephant seals might not be so bad. I wish I had more time to check out the Hearst Castle area, but I will be back for sure in my travels. If I can see a few big male elephant seals I will be happy. I saw plenty of seals at Pier 39 when I was there a few years ago, so I hope they will be back. Thanks for all the tips so far...

Scottsdale, Arizona
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6. Re: Elephant seals and other odd questions

I know you are going to enjoy your visit, no matter which pinnipeds you get to see. Those big, loud, blubbery beasts you saw at Pier 39 were sea lions, not seals. Related but not the same. For some really cute pictures to down load for your computer main page, look here.

http://goo.gl/ZVnhBi

Santa Clara...
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7. Re: Elephant seals and other odd questions

Have fun and do come back for another trip to explore the central coast.

The biology professor next to me who takes classes to Año Nuevo say that even though October is outside molting and breeding season, you may still see them as the juvenile males often go on land early in the season.

Since you are a wildlife buff, I will share and perhaps inspire you to go the Galapagos if you haven't already. I am actually in South America at the moment after an amazing week there. Swimming and snorkeling with the friendly sea lions and observing the penguins and comarants "fly" underwater were some of the best wildlife experiences in my life.

Happy trails!

Brookfield, Illinois
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8. Re: Elephant seals and other odd questions

ah yes sea lions. I should know better as a zookeeper:) I am indeed happy with any wildlife sightings. I hope to see bear in Yosemite, but doesn't everyone.

Interesting you should mention S. America as I am fooling with the idea of trying to see a wild Jaguar next year. Know of any good tour co's who don't charge an arm and a leg to go on a canoe to look for them down the river? Message me here on T.A or I am at Brian's Art for Animals on y.t. and fb.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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9. Re: Elephant seals and other odd questions

I have seen some wild, big cats in the jungles/rain forests in Mexico. Not as far away and not as expensive. But just as scary!!!

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10. Re: Elephant seals and other odd questions

The sea lions at Pier 39 are tiny in comparison to a full-grown elephant seal. Adult male elephant seals (called bulls) can weigh up to 2 tons and be about the size of a small car, while the petite and graceful ladies get to about a ton.

There is some kind of elephant seal activity much of the year at Año Nuevo, including nursing, weaning & training the pups, molting, and other life cycle events outside of mating.

I think Año Nuevo is one of the most interesting places for nature lovers in the Bay Area; it also has lots of bird activity and smaller seals and sea lions, as well as a historic farm where the visitor center and interpretive exhibits are located. If you are going there, also see Pigeon Point, a nearby state historic park. Its lighthouse is the tallest on the U.S. western mainland. The top is closed to visitors because of structural issues, but you can see historic exhibits and explore the grounds, and the view out to sea is astounding. The former station keeper’s house is now a hostel where the public can stay.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=533