Best Zoos and Aquariums in the Bay Area

These Zoos, Aquariums and Nature Centers were voted the Bay Area’s 2019 Best of the Best by Bay Area Parent readers. Read the full list of winners here.

Silicon Valley

Gold: Monterey Bay Aquarium. A world-class aquarium with educational programs and play areas located on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and next to historic Cannery Row. 886 Cannery Row, Monterey. 831-648-4800.

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

Bronze: Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo. 4050 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. 650-329-2111.

SF and Marin

Gold: San Francisco Zoo. A 100-acre zoo with more than 250 different species of wildlife from around the world, an old-fashioned carousel, a large nature-inspired playground and more. Sloat Boulevard at The Great Highway, San Francisco. 415-753-7080.

Silver: California Academy of Sciences. 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco. 415-379-8000.

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


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: Lemos Farm. 12320 San Mateo Road (Highway 92), Half Moon Bay. 650-726-2342.

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. The zoo finished its California Trail last year which features a gondola ride leading exhibits where you can view animals native to the state.  9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland. 510-632-9525.

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

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

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