Aquarium of the Bay Facts

Aquarium of the Bay Fact Sheet
Aquarium of the Bay is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit marine nature center affiliated with The Bay Institute. The Aquarium is dedicated to creating experiences that inspire conservation of San Francisco Bay and its watershed, from the Sierra to the sea. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and certified as a Green Business by the city of San Francisco. 
20,000 Aquatic and Land-Dwelling Animals 

  • Over 20,000 aquatic animals from the San Francisco Bay and nearby waters live in Aquarium of the Bay.
  • Aquarium of the Bay’s collection features nearly 200 different species of sharks, skates, rays, jellies, rock fish, flat fish, eels, sea stars and other aquatic animals.
  • PG&E Bay Lab exhibits land-dwelling animals that live locally as well as some non-natives, which serve as ambassadors to climate change.
  • Aquarium of the Bay is home to a wide variety of sharks, including sevengill sharks, which reach lengths over 10 feet and are the largest predators found in San Francisco Bay.
  • The staff at Aquarium of the Bay has developed a successful Bay pipefish breeding program. 
  • Aquarium of the Bay has maintained a moon jelly culturing program since 1998. All moon jellies on display at the aquarium were born and raised here.
  • California skates and Big skates living in the main display lay hundreds of egg cases each year. In the PG&E Bay Lab exhibit, skate eggs are displayed with transparent windows, allowing the public to view embryos at various stages of development. The embryos continue to develop normally until they hatch, 8-9 months from the date they were laid.
  • Each year Aquarium of the Bay donates hundreds of skates, skate eggs, jellyfish, surf perch and pipefish to public aquariums and educational institutions around the country.
  • In accordance with the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch® program, Aquarium of the Bay feeds sustainable seafood to all its animals.
  • It takes nearly 1,000 lbs. of food to feed all of the animals in the Aquarium for one week
Unique, State-of-the-Art Nature Center
  • Aquarium of the Bay was opened in 1996. Today, it is the only aquarium devoted exclusively to showcasing the marine life of the San Francisco Bay
  • Over 600,000 people visit the Aquarium each year.
  • The Aquarium has three distinct exhibit areas: Discover the Bay, Under the Bay and Touch the Bay, featuring the PG&E Bay Lab.
  • The Aquarium is approximately 50,000 square feet and its exhibits hold over one million gallons of filtered Bay water.
  • The Aquarium features two signature tunnel tanks with moving walkways that total 300 feet in length. Each tanks is made from 2.5” thick acrylic and hold over 700,000 gallons of filtered Bay water in total. 
  • Aquarium of the Bay gets its exhibits’ water supply directly from the San Francisco Bay and maintains the water temperature at approximately 55°F.

Commitment to Quality, Education and Conservation

  • Aquarium of the Bay is one of only 35 aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in the United States.
  • In 2005, the Aquarium became Green Business Certified by the San Francisco Department of the Environment.
  • Since its opening, the Aquarium’s education department has provided free, hands-on classes and tours to over 100,000 K-12 students and teachers from Bay Area schools.
  • In 2009, Aquarium of the Bay partnered with Pacific Gas and Electric Company to open "PG&E Bay Lab," an interactive climate change exhibit featuring land animals as nature’s ambassadors, promoting energy conservation to protect their habitats from the potential impact of climate change. 
  • Since 2004, Aquarium of the Bay has collected donations from visitors to support internal marine-related conservation efforts as well as those led by such groups as Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, Golden Trout, New Jersey Academy for Aquatic Sciences, and The Marine Mammal Center.
  • In 2009, Aquarium of the Bay, the California Academy of Sciences and San Francisco Zoo launched the San Francisco Seafood Watch® Alliance, aimed at raising local consumer, restaurateur and seafood industry awareness of the importance of acquiring seafood from sustainable sources. 

Visitor Information

  • Aquarium of the Bay is located at The Embarcadero and Beach Street on Pier 39.
  • Aquarium of the Bay is open daily, except December 25th. General operating hours, which change seasonally and to accommodate special events, are 10 am to 6 pm on weekdays and from 10 am to 7 pm on weekends. Summer hours are 9 am to 8 pm every day.
  • Visitors can call 888-SEA-DIVE, 415-623-5300 or visit the website at for additional information.