Best Zoos and Aquariums in the Bay Area

These Zoos, Aquariums and Nature Centers were voted the Bay Area’s 2020 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: Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park. 3050 Hecker Pass Highway, Gilroy. 408-840-7100.


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

Bronze: Marine Science Institute. 500 Discovery Pkwy., Redwood City. 650-364-2760.

San Francisco and Marin

Gold: California Academy of Sciences. This natural history museum has a multi-level rainforest, sea life and interactive exhibits. 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco. 415-379-8000.

Silver: San Francisco Zoo. Sloat Boulevard at The Great Highway, San Francisco. 415-753-7080.

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

East Bay

Gold: Oakland Zoo. Set on more than 500 acres in the Oakland hills, this zoo is a fantastic place to get outdoors and meet hundreds of native and exotic animals. 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland. 510-632-9525.

Silver: Ardenwood Historic Farm. 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont. 888-327-2757, option 3, ext. 4504.

Bronze: East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden, Tilden Regional Park. Intersection of Wildcat Canyon Road and South Park Drive, Berkeley. 510-544-3169.