Visit the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center website >>
It's a rare day when you can spot the jagged outline of the Farallon Islands from the Baker Beach shore – the so-called "Devil's Teeth" are often cloaked in fog. These wind-swept rocky outcrops located 27 miles west of the Golden Gate Strait are a National Wildlife Refuge and have served over time as a base for seal hunters, bird egg harvesters, and Coast Guard and Navy operations.
A quarter of a million breeding sea birds call the Farallones home, and the 3,295 square miles of open ocean, bays, and estuaries that surround them make up the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. The sanctuary supports an astonishing diversity of marine life, including 25 endangered species, 38 species of marine mammals like humpback whales, and one of the largest white shark populations in the world.
Great for Kids and Families
For those of us on land, the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center offers a great introduction to the wonders of these waters. Located in a historic Coast Guard station at the west end of Crissy Field, the center educates everyone about the sanctuary's wildlife and what we can do to protect it. It's a great place for kids and families. Here you'll find a silky sea otter pelt, serrated sharks teeth, a blue whale baleen, and a tank filled with local creatures to help foster connections to our neighboring sea.
The visitor center is a fun side trip when you're at Crissy Field, and a worthy destination for the monthly Second Saturday Family Program when all ages get hands-on with the plankton and crabs. Stick around for a picnic on their beachfront property with its unobstructed view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The center also offers popular (and free!) ocean science education programs to schools, and summer camps in partnership with the Randall Museum. Check their website and Facebook page for details.
The visitor center is free and open Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm. Park along Mason Street or in the West Bluff lot and walk to the red-shingled building with the palm trees out front. There are snacks for sale as well as restrooms on site.