The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito is not only a great side-trip from San Francisco for animal lovers. This place is a popular layover for sick and injured sea lions, along with those who just need a little R&R. You’ll enjoy a close-up look at how these animals are rehabilitated and released back to the sea. For wha to expect, you can see the current animal patients on the Marine Mammal Center website.
A nonprofit rescue and rehabilitation hospital in Sausalito, CA, the Marine Mammal Center’s sole purpose is to care for sick, injured and orphaned marine mammals. The center, which is free to visit, has already rescued and rehabilitated thousands of California sea lions, Pacific harbor seals, northern elephant seals, sea otters, and many other sea animals.
The place is on the low key side for visitors because it’s really a working center. You can observe the center at work, see the labs where they prepare the meals (mostly fish) for the patients. You’ll see wall displays with photos and rescue stories. From the upper observation deck you’ll get a good look at what’s going on at the center and watch staff in action.
The courtyard has a life-size elephant seal statue, and a great open view to Rodeo Beach and the headlands.
SAVVY TIP: Combine your trip to The Marine Mammal Center with a hike to one of the best lookouts in Marin, Hill 88. The trail head is just down the road from the center (301 Enterprise Concourse, Mill Valley, CA 94941).
Know Before You Go
WHAT: Admission to the Marine Mammal Center is free, or they accept small donations. (Docent led tours are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, kids under 4-years old for free; members and a guest are also free.) The Center sometimes offers a $2 discount on tours.
WHEN: Open seven days a week, 10 am to 5 pm. Docent led tours available.
WHERE: The Marine Mammal Center, 2000 Bunker Rd., Sausalito, CA (at Fort Cronkhite, just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco).
Photos: Images courtesy of Marine Mammal Center