San Francisco Bay Wildlife
Wildlife of the San Francisco Bay Area


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Wildlife Related Activities in San Francisco Bay Area

Kayaking in Moss Landing

Beaver watching in Martinez.

Nature walk at Sunol

There are so many ways to enjoy wildlife and learn about it. Many of these activities are particularly well-suited for young people.

Wildlife-related Educational Places

  • Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco
    Exhibits display the amazing riches that lie beneath the surface of San Francisco Bay and surrounding waters.
  • CuriOdyssey, Coyote Point, San Mateo.
    Interactive science exhibits, hands-on and explorative school and public programs, and up close encounters with native California animals.
  • EcoCenter at Heron's Head, San Francisco.
    Building showing sustainable practices, educational activities.
  • Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center, Hayward
    Features exhibits, classes, guided walks and children's activities. It is located in the tidal marsh just off Highway 92, close to the east end of the San Mateo bridge.
  • Lindsay Wildlife Museum, Walnut Creek
    Live animals, summer camps, preschool classes and other educational adtivities.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey
    Wonderful exhibits with living communities of marine animals.
  • Randall Museum, San Francisco
    Live animal exhibits, classes, field trips.
  • Steinhart Aquarium, San Francisco
    The 100,000-gallon Northern California Coast tank replicates the habitats of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Many other exhibits including live animals from around the world.

Trips and Outdoor Activities

  • Whale-watching
  • Beaver watching in Martinez.
  • Exploring tide pools and marine life at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, near Moss Beach. 
  • Tidepooling along the coast north of San Francisco 
  • Naturalist-led Creek Walks to see Spawning Salmon, Lagunitas Creek Watershed, West Marin County, November 14th through mid-January. 
  • Free bird walks organized by East Bay Nature on the first Saturday of each month. 
  • Heron and egret nesting season, at Bolinas Lagoon, from the third weekend in March through the second weekend in July. 
  • Sandhill Crane viewing tours from October to February, Cosumnes River Preserve. It is about an hour and half driving distance from most of the Bay area and can be done as a day trip. Besides cranes, you will see lots of migratory waterfowl like waders, ducks, geese and possibly swans. 
  • WildCare family adventures - naturalists will lead fun family programs full of discovery (free). Will look for butterflies, flowers, birds, and much more. 

Citizen Science Activities

  • California Whales Project by the Oceanic Society is soliciting identification quality photographs of whales. 
  • Otter Spotter Citizen Science by the River Otter Ecology Project 
  • Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count 
  • Dragonfly Pond Watch by the Xerces Society 
  • Migratory Dragonfly Partnership 
  • Multiple citizen science projects listed by Friends of Five Creeks. 

Other Collections of Listings

  • East Bay Regional Parks Activities - many are led by Park Service naturalists. 
  • Naturalist Outings from Marin County Parks and Recreation 
  • Bay Area Naturalist Events Calendar, with dates and details about a broad spectrum of items, from the San Francisco Naturalist Society. Somewhat San Francisco focused but does cover other parts of the Bay Area. 
  • San Francisco Wildlife Enthusiasts - a Meetup group of the Wild Equity Institute. Activities are free and include guided hikes, bike rides, and film nights. 
  • San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society events, mostly in Fremont and Alviso. 
  • The Greenbelt Alliance organizes nature outings with excellent leaders. 
  • An interactive Event Finder from the National Wildlife Foundation. You can find nature events by city or zip code. 
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