San Francisco Attractions: Here Come the Sea Lions!
The sea lions’ arrival is a big deal for locals and guests at our San Francisco Hotel.
Of the many San Francisco Activities available near Hotel Union Square, visiting the sea lions at Pier 39 is always a popular choice. While a contingent of sea lions remains year round, the bulk of the raft of these personable creatures come to sun and frolic in January. If you’re staying at our San Francisco Hotel in winter, be sure to set aside a day to see the 900 sea lions that make Pier 39 their winter home.
How It Started?
There weren’t always sea lions at Pier 39. It began in 1990. Following a devastating earthquake, a few sea lions came along and started frequenting the pier. Over the years, the numbers continued to grow. Because the pier has lots of food for the sea lions, and provides protection from predators, it’s a perfect, safe place for them to live.
Fun Sea Lion Facts
- A group of sea lions in the water is called a raft. On land, they are called a colony.
- The average male California sea lion weighs 660 pounds. The females are much smaller with an average weight of 220 pounds.
- Sea lions are known for their noisy barking. Interestingly, they are related to dogs as both are caniformes.
- Want to easily tell the difference between a seal and sea lion? Look at the ears. Seals do not have external ear flaps, but sea lions do.
What You Should Know
Sea lions are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Because of that, it is illegal for visitors to harass, touch or even feed the sea lions. But don’t worry; there is plenty of food for them to feast on nearby!
Other Things to Do at Pier 39
It’s easy to make a day of spending time at Pier 39. In addition to the sea lions, there are many other popular attractions to visit while you’re there including:
- Aquarium of the Bay
- 7D Experience
- Musical Stairs
- San Francisco Carousel
- Sea Lion Center
- Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze
You can also enjoy street performers, and grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants located nearby. If you’re planning a winter visit then add this San Francisco Activity to your list of things to do. As you plan your stay, view our current list of Special Offers and then make reservations online or by calling 415.969.2301.