Just across the bay from San Francisco in Sausalito, the Marine Mammal Center has been rescuing local sea life for decades. Visitors have the chance to interact with local marine mammals including harbor seals, sea lions, elephant seals, and fur seals. The center rehabilitates and protects sick and injured seals and sea lions, many of which were stranded and would die without direct help. It was the first hospital built exclusively for marine mammals in the United States, treating animals from along 600 miles of the California coast.
The center focuses on conversation and education, allowing for the public to tour their research and rehabilitation facilities. Since its opening over 40 years ago, it has rescued and treated more than 20,000 marine mammals. Animals are rehabilitated with the goal of re-releasing them back into the wild. Most of the year, it is possible to see the animals that are being housed at the center through a visit.
The Marine Mammal Center is located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, just across the bay from the city of San Francisco. It’s best approached by car via the Alexander exit just across the Golden Gate Bridge, or take the ferry to Sausalito from San Francisco’s Ferry Building. Admission is free and reservations are only required for a group of 10 or more. Docent led tours and audio tours are available for $9.