"Diving in San Francisco Bay: Hold the Hypothermia, Explore Aquarium of the Bay" — by Sheila O'Connor

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Sheila O’Connor‘s article about the Aquarium of the Bay first ran on her examiner.com page.]

San Francisco is world renowned for its breathtaking Bay views and iconic, water-bound structures including the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. However, until visiting Aquarium of the Bay, many visitors and residents alike are unaware of the diverse, mysterious and awe-inspiring life that thrives beneath the waves of San Francisco Bay, the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas.

As diving in San Francisco Bay is undesirable due to its frigid temperatures and murky conditions, more than 600,000 annual visitors wisely choose to stay on dry land while diving beneath the surface, at Aquarium of the Bay. Aquarium of the Bay, a unique nonprofit nature center and San Francisco’s only waterfront nature center, exhibits more than 20,000 aquatic animals from San Francisco Bay and its nearby waters.

Aquarium visitors explore three major areas, featuring exhibits-within-exhibits in:

Discover the Bay, highlighting San Francisco Bay’s most colorful animals, juvenile fishes, a swirling school of anchovies and videos and information on the importance of the estuary

Under the Bay begins with a new and mesmerizing jellies exhibit, featuring Moon Jellies and Pacific Sea Nettles. Visitors then enter the first of the Aquarium’s two iconic, crystal clear tunnels, filled with animals including “Bubbette,” a 300-pound Sea Bass, a rainbow of colored Rockfish, sex-changing Sheephead, Wolf Eels and more. The lair of the Giant Pacific Octopus follows, featuring the problem-solving and visitor-favorite animal, as well as some of its underwater neighbors. The Aquarium’s second tunnel mimics life in the deeper waters of the Bay, featuring the mighty Sevengill shark, Leopard sharks, bat rays, Soupfin sharks and others. Following the second tunnel experience, visitors get up-close with Bay Pipefish, a unique, local cousin to sea horses.

Touch the Bay gives visitors the hands-on opportunity to experience what Leopard sharks, bat rays, Swell sharks and skates feel like, as well as sea stars and invertebrates. Land-dwelling animals with climate change messages to be shared can be found in the PG&E Bay Lab, with an interactive station featuring science experiments, naturalist-led presentations and animal encounters.

Each day, visitors are treated to special events such as diver-led shark feedings, discussions on sustainable seafood, ongoing naturalist-led presentations in the PG&E Bay Lab and more. The Aquarium also offers twice-daily Behind the Scenes Tours, where visitors stroll the catwalks above the Aquarium’s exhibit tunnels, see animals not currently on exhibit and take a VIP peek into the Aquarium’s dive operations and laboratories.

Start planning your adventure at www.aquariumofthebay.org or by calling 415-623-5300.

Sheila O’Connor

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