Best Zoos and Aquariums in the Bay Area

These Zoos, Aquariums and Nature Centers were voted the Bay Area’s 2018 Best of the Best by Bay Area Parent readers. Read the full list of winners here.

Silicon Valley

Gold: Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park. With fun rides, gorgeous gardens and amazing Circus Trees, this is a popular destination for families. 3050 Hecker Pass Hwy. 408-840-7100.

Silver: Monterey Bay Aquarium. 886 Cannery Row, Monterey. 831-648-4800.

Bronze: Happy Hollow Park and Zoo. 748 Story Road, San Jose. 408-794-6400.

SF and Marin

Gold: California Academy of Sciences.  This is among the largest museums of natural history in the world and includes an aquarium, planetarium and living roof. 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco. 415-379-8000.

Gold: San Francisco Zoo. It features more than 250 species of wildlife from around the world as well as a children’s petting zoo, carousel and kiddie train. Sloat Boulevard at The Great Highway, San Francisco. 415-753-7080.

Silver: Golden Gate Park. Between Great Highway, Fulton Avenue, Stanyan Street and Lincoln Way, San Francisco.

Bronze: Aquarium of the Bay. Pier 39, The Embarcadero and Beach Street, San Francisco. 415-623-5300.


Gold: CuriOdyssey. Features naturalistic exhibits that are home to more than 100 mostly native animals ranging from the little red-legged frog to the giant vinegaroon. 1651 Coyote Point Drive, San Mateo. 650-342-7755.

Silver: Marine Science Institute. 500 Discovery Parkway, Redwood City.650-364-2760.

Bronze: Harley Farms Goat Dairy. 205 North St., Pescadero.

East Bay

Gold: Oakland Zoo. Nestled on 525 rolling acres are 660 native and exotic animals and several rides like “Serengeti Safari” and the “Outback Express Adventure Train” for the little ones. 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland. 510-632-9525.

Silver: Ardenwood Historic Farm. 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont. 510-544-2797.

Bronze: Lindsay Wildlife Experience. 1931 First Ave., Walnut Creek. 925-935-1978.

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