Touch the Bay

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Soft, slimy, bumpy or squishy? Touch a sea star and more to find out!

The magic of San Francisco Bay is literally at your fingertips in Touch the Bay, featuring a touchpool with sharks, rays, and skates. Experience the interactive PG&E Bay Lab station and exhibits highlighting land-dwelling animals with special messages to share.

Who You'll Meet, and What You'll Explore:

  • Sharks, Bat Rays and Skates Touchpool
    Get ready for an unforgettable experience to call, text or tweet home about, in our first of two touchpools.  Juvenile Bat Rays, Leopard Sharks, Big Skates, Swell Sharks and others await. Our curious Bat Rays are most active in the morning hours, prior to their 12:30pm lunch time.  These curious elasmobranchs, or cousins to sharks and skates, are known to pop their heads out of the water to take a closer look at their visitors. Touch Bat Rays on the tips of their wings and find out whether they're scaly or smooth. 

  • San Francisco Bay Estuaries Exhibit
    As you exit the elevator, explore an interactive exhibit focusing on marshes and mudflats of the San Francisco Bay. Nearly 90% of San Francisco Bay’s 190,000 acres of tidal marsh have been destroyed or altered. Wetlands provide a habitat for animals; filter mud from the Bay's murky waters and protect the shoreline from flooding.  The exhibit features two local National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERR) sites: China Camp State Park in Marin County and Rush Ranch in Solano County. Touch an oyster fossil, leopard shark jaw and other artifacts, to engage with these incredibly important and diverse habitats.

  • Bay Lab
    While wandering through the Touch the Bay exhibit, you will notice some terrestrial or land-dwelling critters.  Land dwellers, at an Aquarium?  These animals, many found in the greater Bay Area and some from countries far away, were specially selected to share messages of how their habits and habitats are affected by climate change. Check out the various exhibits, featuring animals ranging from California Kingsnakes to African Pygmy Hedgehogs; Blue Tongued Skinks, and more.

    At the interactive Bay Lab station, naturalists lead an ongoing schedule of interactions with land animals, and interactive climate change-focused discussions. The station also features touchables for explorers of all ages, ranging from microscopes to puzzles.