We live in the Philadelphia area in Pennsylvania and absolutely love the beach. There are a couple months (mostly July and August) that are great for swimming and we usually go to the Jersey Shore. On all of our trips going “Down The Shore” as locals in Philly call it, I have never seen a sea lion in person. Fast forward to our trip to the Bay Area in California, and we were in for a really cool surprise!
There was an earthquake in California in 1989 called the Loma Prieta, and it literally shook up the marine life in the area. After being displaced, sea lions found refuge at Pier 39 in San Francisco and discovered that they could feed on a plentiful supply of herring. The structure of the dock itself also created this source of protection for the sea lions. Currently, during the winter season, the populations have an increase of about nine hundred of these magnificent creatures. In the summer some of the sea lions do choose to migrate to the Channel Islands for breeding season, while others have decided to make this a more permanent residence, and do not to leave at all.
When we saw them in person, they really did seem like playful puppies of the ocean. They banter, frolic, and seem to work together as a team as well! Also, they have a distinct bark and you can definitely hear them talk. They are super intelligent and the California sea lions are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. It is against the law if citizens handle them or feed them without authorization.
If you are visiting San Francisco, this is a great day trip idea for the whole family. I highly recommend it, and it can be a wonderful educational experience as well. I feel that as humans, it is our responsibility to protect these amazing creatures of the sea, and it is another reason why we must reduce our plastic consumption and pollution. Let me know in the comments if you have gone to the Pier 39, and what you thought of it as well! I hope you have a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!