San Francisco visitors often aren’t aware of the opportunity to visit the Gulf of Farallones Visitors’ Center, which is located in the Presidio neighborhood of the city. To be honest, many of the residents of San Francisco aren’t even familiar with this wonderful educational niche next to the bay. This is unfortunate because it’s a terrific little museum where you can spend a few splendid hours learning a lot about the region’s marine life and natural offerings as well as enjoying the beautiful surrounding area.
What is the Gulf of Farallones Visitors’ Center?
The Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center is a small, free museum filled with interpretive displays that provide information about the nature of the area. Specifically, this visitors’ center is intended to provide information about the National Marine Sanctuaries that are located just outside of the Golden Gate Bridge. Visitors and residents alike can learn a lot of new information about the wildlife and plant life of the surrounding area from spending time at this museum. It’s a great way to gain information about the other species that live near us in San Francisco.
Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association (FMSA)
This visitors’ center is one of several visitor centers associated with the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association (FMSA). This is a group that is dedicated to protecting the wildlife and habitats of the area surrounding the Farallon Islands located close to Golden Gate Bridge. This association was founded back in the late nineteenth century as a way to conserve the natural beauty and wildlife of this area. There are approximately 3 dozen species of marine mammals that have been observed in this area including many endangered species that are being saved in part by the work that this association does. This is one of the most extensive ocean-based animal networks in the world and its preservation relies on education. That education can be obtained in a fun way through the educational information shared at the visitors’ center museum.
What can you do at the Gulf of Farallones Visitors Center?
Some of the activities that people of all ages can enjoy at this little museum include:
- Learn more about the Farallon Islands, the FMSA and the marine mammals living in this great area. This is what the work of the organization is all about and you can come here to get a great sense about what they are doing.
- Indulge in the intense sensory experiences available at the interactive touch tank in the museum. This museum is designed to interest people of all ages so it’s highly interactive and entertaining.
- Enjoy and photograph the amazing fifteen-foot-tall murals of the ocean and ocean life that adorn the walls of this museum. This art definitely adds to the immense beauty of the museum itself.
- Gain information about why it is important to protect the natural life of the Bay Area and what you can do to help as a volunteer if you are so inclined.
- Check with the visitors’ center to find out if any upcoming events are planned. Marine Life fairs, organic food festivals and fun family days are sometimes planned at this museum.
Remember that visiting this small museum is always free so it’s definitely worth it to stop in! Allow 30 minutes to one hour for enjoying the museum and plan for some additional time to enjoy the nearby beach.
Location of Gulf of Farallones Visitors’ Center
This nature museum is located in San Francisco’s Presidio neighborhood at Crissy Field. Just outside of the museum is the beach of the San Francisco Bay. On a sunny day, families crowd around on the sane to enjoy the beach or gather for picnics on the grassy hillside to play there while looking out at a view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the water surrounding it. Crissy Field is a local park that’s been restored over time to create a wonderful little rest-and-play area for the Bay Area.
There are many wonderful things located nearby that you can enjoy during your trip to this visitors’ center. Those things include:
- Dog-friendly and bike-friendly walking trails along the water. Get out and enjoy nature right in San Francisco’s back yard.
- Path to Golden Gate Bridge. There’s no better way to enjoy the bridge than to walk there from Crissy Field.
- Fort Point. Plan your trip to the museum so that you can also visit Fort Point, a historic military fort located within walking distance.
- Various historic landmarks near Crissy Field. Once part of the military life of the city, this area includes historic landmarks and information about the area’s past.
- Bayside beach for swimming, picnicking and other sunny day activities. This is a popular family beach in the city.
- Watch the many people who come out to this area to fly kites. This is a favorite activity on windy days.
Final Facts and Information about the Gulf of Farallones Visitors’ Center
The basic things that you might want to know about this place if you plan to visit include:
Hours of operation: Wednesday through Sunday from 10-4. Official Site
Location: Near the intersection of Mason Street and Fort Point at West Crissy Field in the Presidio. It can be reached via car or by using the MUNI bus system.
Phone number for additional information: 415-561-6625.