Best Zoos and Aquariums in the Bay Area

These Zoos, Aquariums and Nature Centers were voted the Bay Area’s 2023 Best of the Best by Bay Area Parent readers. Read the full list of winners here.

Silicon Valley

Gold:  Monterey Bay Aquarium. Located on historic Cannery Row, this nonprofit aquarium offers displays of sea otters, sharks, jellies, penguins and much more. Monterey.

Silver:  Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park. Gilroy.

Bronze: Happy Hollow Park & Zoo. San Jose.


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. San Mateo.

Silver: Marine Science Institute. Redwood City.

Bronze: Lemos Farm. Half Moon Bay.

San Francisco/Marin

Gold: San Francisco Zoo. This 100-acre zoo features more than 2,000 exotic, endangered and rescued animals as well as peaceful gardens. San Francisco.

Silver: Japanese Tea Garden. San Francisco.

Bronze: Aquarium of the Bay. San Francisco.

Bronze: Conservatory of Flowers. San Francisco.

East Bay

Gold: Oakland Zoo. With animals from African elephants to white-faced whistling ducks, plus a gondola to an area featuring California native animals, a children’s zoo, rides and more, the zoo has been a family favorite for a century. Oakland.         

Silver: University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley. Berkeley.          

Bronze: Ardenwood Historic Farm. Fremont.



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