With a lIfe-size adult male elephant seal statue in the front of The Marine Mammal Center

For a Family Fun Day Trip From San Francisco, Visit The Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands

Published in: Daily Photo

With a lIfe-size adult male elephant seal statue in the front of The Marine Mammal Center

Oh, hai! Can you tell me how to get to The Marine Mammal Center?

Since its start in 1975, the nonprofit Marine Mammal Center, located just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlands, has rescued, rehabilitated and released thousands of sick and injured marine mammals along 600 miles of California coastline.

Most of the patients at the center’s on-site animal hospital arrive when concerned people call the center’s 24-hour hotline at (415) 289-SEAL to report an animal in distress. Staff and volunteers retrieve the animals, and bring them back to the hospital, where the goal is always to get the animals back on their feet/fins/flippers and released back into the wild.

The Marine Mammal Center

The Marine Mammal Center

Local Marine Mammals

Getting to know some of the local marine mammals

Visiting the center is free, but I highly recommend taking a docent-led tour, which is what El Hub and I did. Tour tickets are $9 each for adults, $5 for seniors (ages 65 and up) and students (ages 5 to 17), and free for kids under 4. The proceeds from the tours go toward running the center, which is primarily staffed by volunteers.

Common Patients at The Marine Mammal Center hospital

The most common patients at The Marine Mammal Center hospital…

During the tour, which is about an hour long, you learn about the animals the center sees, the most common injuries and illnesses, and get to see a large part of the huge facility, including the animal hospital itself, the kitchen area where they prepare patient meals, classrooms (they also teach classes for kids and adults) and the enclosures where patients are housed.

Ziggy Star

Ziggy Star, a current patient at the hospital

Then, on the second and fourth Sundays of every month, the center hosts something called Marine Science Sunday, which is a free hour-long interactive class on a different theme every time, like yesterday’s was on Marine Mammals of the Arctic.


Very interesting. I learned about the narwhal, also known as the unicorn of the sea, an animal I’d never even heard of before.

Marine Science Sunday!

Marine Science Sunday!

Marine Science Sundays aren’t just for adults, either. There were a lot of kids there, and they all seemed to be having a blast.

View of Rodeo Becah from The Marine Mammal Center

View of Rodeo Beach from The Marine Mammal Center

Oh, and if you happen to visit on a sunny day, Rodeo Beach is right down the road (2 minutes away). I wish I’d packed a lunch for me and El Hub to enjoy by the water. Next time…

Chillin' wtih a sea otter statue at The Marine Mammal Center

Chillin’ with a sea otter

I plan to go back in April, which is when the Center’s hospital is usually filled with spring pups who’ve been separated from their mothers. They check them out, and get them up to their proper weight before sending them out in the world.

Want to visit The Marine Mammal Center? You can learn more at marinemammalcenter.org.


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So far, 11 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Erin says:

    Narwhals are the best! The view from the center is spectacular! I miss CA.
    Erin recently posted … Round-up: Maximize your spring style in a maxi dress

  2. Lena says:

    i’ve also never heard of a narwal, had to look that up.
    anyway, the mammals right around that area is so lucky to have a center like that. if ever i am around there, will definitely visit!
    Lena recently posted … Zoya Nail Polish Spring 2014

  3. hanna says:

    This is so cool! I love the life size animals.
    hanna recently posted … Oasap Spring Giveaway

  4. Kim says:

    That sounds like a great place. I’m sorry for the Elephant Seal, though. Not the most flattering life sized sculpture. He looks like he’s starring in a horror movie with the dripping blood!

    What a beautiful view of the beach. Is it Rodeo, like the Calgary Stampede or like the Drive in Beverly Hills? Either way, it looks gorgeous!

  5. That looks like a fun day out! 🙂
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | DKNY Be Delicious Skin Hydrating Eau De Toilette Spray

  6. Martha Nelson says:

    Thanks Karen for sharing your photos

  7. meganlisa says:

    Love the photos! Looks like so much fun. Nice to see a little more than makeup (love the makeup, of course….but this too!).
    meganlisa recently posted … My Favorite Beauty Products of January 2104

  8. Marmam Girl says:

    Thank you for posting this! I used to work with marine mammals so imagine my delight when I saw this post on a makeup blog. Anyway, they do great work… One day I hope to visit this location to check it out for myself? Have you visited the Aquarium at the Wharf? I saw they have a new otter exhibit- you should check it out!

  9. Sylirael says:

    Isn’t it amazing when you learn of something you never knew existed, especially when it seems kind of like a fantasy thing, but it’s actually real?

    Go narwhals! 🙂
    Sylirael recently posted … Eyeing up the Diamonds – KIKO Make Up Milano Glitter Eyeliner in 01 Multicolour

  10. Chelsea says:

    Looks like you had a lot of fun! Jealous!

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