Sea Lion Center

Overlooking K-Dock in the marina adjacent to PIER 39, the Sea Lion Center interprets the colony of wild California sea lions now permanently established in this unusual urban location. The Center provides free educational programming on the natural history of California sea lions and the environmental threats they currently face.


Currently closed to due Covid restrictions

Sea Shells

JANUARY 19 – 20, 2019

We’re celebrating the 29th anniversary of the sea lions’ arrival to PIER 39! Visit for more details!

January 19 and 20:
Sea Lion Encounter Walking Tours

Enjoy free educational walking tours led by naturalists at 12, 2 and 3pm. Tours depart from the Sea Lion Statue, west of the PIER 39 Entrance Plaza. Participants receive a voucher for a free beverage (not received at the Aquarium) and a discount to Aquarium of the Bay.*


Stop by the Sea Lion Center (Level 2) and enjoy these special daily public presentations:

  • Party for the Planet Blue -10:30am
  • What’s for Lunch? – 12:30pm
  • Sea Lion Shenanigans – 2:30pm

All events and activities are weather permitting and subject to change without notice. *Tour availability is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Discount and refreshments are for tour participants only, and only available while supplies last. One discount per participant. Cannot be combined with any other offer.

About the Sea Lions

California sea lions have always lived in the San Francisco Bay, especially during the winter months when they hunt for schools of herring and anchovies. However, after the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, sea lions began hauling out on K-Dock and they stayed there. The animals discovered that the docks are easier to haul out on than rocky shorelines, and that they didn’t have to move when the tides rose and fell. And, since the new location was less exposed to predators and provided easy access to food in the Bay, the docks became a thriving sea lion haunt and a very popular visitor attraction.

Visit the Sea Lion Center to experience marine mammal-focused exhibits and videos, and to watch and photograph these fascinating animals romp and sleep. Listen to their their playful barks, feel the fresh ocean breeze, and enjoy the views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. The Center can be reserved for educational field trips and private rental events.

Sea Shells

Contact Sea Lion Center

Bay Ecotarium