MarineMammalCenterPhoto

We’ve all made a day of ferrying or taking the F-streetcar over to Pier 39, then propping the kids on our shoulders, amid a sticky crowd of tourists, for a better view of the sea lions splayed across the K docks. But now there’s another way to see our Bay’s blubbery beauties up close and personal. The Marine Mammal Center in the Sausalito just re-opened in June, boasting new pens, pools, and viewing areas for you to watch seals, sea lions, sea otters, porpoises, or other marine mammals on the road to recovery.

The Center is the largest facility of its kind in the world, combining a hospital with a research lab and rescuing hundreds of animals a year in the process. And it’s open to the public every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., making for a great personal field trip for you and your wide-eyed urchins. See how fish milkshakes are made in the Fish Kitchen then peer into the lab to see the Sea Lion Scientists at work.

Visit the “Patient” page on the Marine Mammal Center website, updated daily, to see which species are currently under the Center’s care. This year has brought record-breaking rescue numbers, with over 1,500 so far. November is peak season to see patients, and admission is free.

Marin Headlands, 2000 Bunker Road, Fort Cronkhite, Sausalito, www.marinemammalcenter.org

– Renee M. Rutledge