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Review of Sea Lion Caves

Sea Lion Caves
Ranked #10 of 42 things to do in Florence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Considered the largest sea cave in the United States, this site is where Steller sea lions and their cubs take shelter each year. Sea Lion Caves is a privately owned wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary. The Caves has been in operation since 1932 preserving and protecting the wildlife under our care. We are open 363 days a year only closed on Christmas and Thanksgiving day. Our normal hours of operation are 9 am until dusk year round. We are not a zoo and the animals are free to come and go as they please. The sea lions can usually be found at either of four locations on the property; in the Cave, in the water, at the Lookout/rockery, and on other nearby rock ledges. HOWEVER, THE SEA LIONS ARE NOT ALWAYS IN THE CAVE OR MAY BE MIGRATING OUT OF AREA - THEY ARE WILD ANIMALS AND COME AND GO AS THE PLEASE. CALL AHEAD FOR INFORMATION. Self-guided are the rule, but guided tours are available.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed 27 February 2008

OMG!!! The sea lion caves were totally awesome. Loved every minute of being there. It was great to see the sea lions in their natural habitat. Great experience for all ages.

1  Thank giggly711
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,272 - 1,276 of 1,324 reviews

Reviewed 20 January 2008

Wow! Sea Lions stink! Took a ride down a shaft elevator to an underground cave. If you're clausterphobic, don't go! It smelled so bad in there and the lions were so loud. Would rather have seen them from the beach then in an enclosed area. Cool for kids who don't get out much or see wildlife that close. Not worth the price of admission.

1  Thank BuckeyeBaby71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 December 2007

My husband and I have been to Sea Lion Caves a couple times, but always in the spring or summer. It was neat but kind of disappointing, we had never seen more than a handful of sea lions. Well, let me tell you, you gotta go in the WINTER! The cave was FULL of sea lions in mid-December. FULL! There must have been at least 500 of them. They were barking and playing in the water and laying about on the rocks... we even saw a mommy seal nursing her baby. I got little tears in my eyes. So sweet! On the walk down to the elevator there were several groups of them playing out in the waves. It was a truly memorable experience.

2  Thank Zojila
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 August 2007

The Sea Lion Caves pull off the double feat of being an old-fashioned seaside tourist attraction and a large, natural habitat for wonderful animals. This huge cave has been a sea lion habitat for centuries if not more; the area from which you view them is pretty non-intrusive to the animals (unless some doofus uses a flash to try to take a picture -- learn to use your camera!). Yeah, there's a smell, but it wasn't bad when we were there in August. We saw about 25 sea lions perched on a large rock a few hundred feet away, and three or four playing in the surf. Apparently fall and winter is the prime viewing (and smelling) season.

If you want to spend time watching the sea lions up close & personal, it'd be a good idea to bring binoculars or a telephoto lens.

I do agree with a previous poster about the fact that you need to park across the two-lane highway from the exhibit entrance (at least if you're driving up from the south). Even though the speed limit's only 45 at this point, it is a windy road with somewhat limited visibility, and you just have to make a break for it. I don't know how feasible an overpass would be, but maybe the state could reduce the speed limit even more in this stretch of highway: perhaps to 35 or even 25. If I were the cave proprietors, I'd push for this.

2  Thank EdieBex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 August 2007

Sea Lion Caves is a neat place to see but could use some improving. First of all you all must know that you may or may not get to see the Sea lions after you make the smelly adventure down there it kinda just depends on the time of day and season. My biggest concern is the parking. You have to park across the busy street. reminder this is a highway that your family MUST cross to get there. I think that maybe an overpass would be nice?? The road is curvy and again it's a highway so FAMILIES DO VISIT I ENCOURAGE YOU TO JUST BE SAFE!!!! We all have our opinion and I would not dis courage you from visiting. The staff is great I would just encourage you to help suggest a safer way for our families to cross the busy street.

1  Thank ejbmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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