Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center

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Visit the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center website >>

Just beyond San Francisco’s Golden Gate an underwater world thrives. Few ocean regions in the world host the diversity and abundance of marine life found in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. The sanctuary’s 3,295 square miles of open ocean, deep sea, rocky and sandy shore, bay and estuary habitats are a UNESECO Biosphere site and home to over a quarter million breeding sea birds, 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 plankton microscope, serrated sharks teeth, blue whale baleen, and small aquariums 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 Family Workshops when all ages get hands-on with plankton, squid, octopus or crabs. Stick around for a picnic on their beachfront property with its unobstructed view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The center also offers popular ocean science education programs to schools, and summer camps. 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.

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