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December 4, 2019
K Dock at PIER 39

Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Sea Lions’ Arrival at PIER 39

It was a dark and difficult time for San Francisco in the months following October 1989. The community was focused on getting themselves back on their feet after the Loma Prieta earthquake rocked the Bay Area. Then something extraordinary occurred: California sea lions began arriving in PIER 39’s Marina.

They came sparingly at first, but soon began arriving in droves, quickly reaching more than 500 in January 1990. With a protected environment and a plentiful supply of food from the Bay, the sea lions quickly decided to make PIER 39’s K-Dock their new home. The marina staff turned to The Marine Mammal Center for advice about their new slippery tenants. After much debate and research, the experts from The Marine Mammal Center recommended that the sea lions be allowed to stay. Today, the Aquarium of the Bay's Sea Lion Center overlooking K-Dock offers interactive displays, educational videos, and much more.

The boisterous barking pinnipeds were a bright spot, and made local, national and international headlines. It was truly a phenomenon that brought a lot of joy to many. Fast forward many years and these wonderful mammals continue to delight millions of guests annually, and have become local celebrities.

Join PIER 39 Jan. 17-20, 2020, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their arrival with a painted sea lion statue exhibition, Sea Lion Encounter Walking Tours, and special discounts. You can learn even more about the sea lions, and find an updated calendar of events by visiting PIER 39 online.


For more information on events at The PIER, please visit

PIER 39 is conveniently located where the Embarcadero meets Fisherman's Wharf. Parking is available at the PIER 39 Garage, open every day and 24 hours a day, and located across the street from the Entrance Plaza.

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