Marine Mammal Center, Marin Headlands, CA

Marine Mammal sea lion
Take the kids to visit Marin Mammal Center and get their picture taken with a California sea lion.

About a month ago, I was invited to a press reception at the Marine Mammal Center high up in the gorgeous Marin Headlands.

I took my boy and we headed over the Golden Gate Bridge to this state-of-the-art animal care and rehabilitation facility located in a former missile site.

The Marine Mammal Center has been around for nearly 40 years rescuing sick and injured marine mammals but the new facility just opened a few years ago. On average, the center helps approximately 600 marine mammals per year. Patients include pinnipeds like California sea lions, northern elephant seals and harbor seals, as well as sea otters, whales, dolphins, porpoises, even sea turtles.

It’s well worth a visit to see the work the center does and observe the seal and sea lion patients. You can watch as staff and volunteers prepare more than one thousand pounds of food daily for the animals in the “fish kitchen.” Fish smoothie, anyone?

Since the Marine Mammal Center is also a research laboratory, scientists study marine mammal health, collaborate with researchers around the world and unite veterinary clinicians, pathologists, rehabilitation specialists and wildlife biologists  in their quest to understand the oceans and the creatures who live there. You can peek into medical labs at the MMC. Sadly, when we were there a young sea lion was undergoing an autopsy.

Marine Mammal Center art
Indra’s Net, on display at Marine Mammal Center, is made of recycled ocean trash

Beyond rescue and rehab, the Marine Mammal Center strives to educate and bring awareness to global conservation of the mammals. They also promote marine art, as in the installation of the interactive Indra’s Net piece that accompanies The Ghost Below. These amazing works of art were made from recycled ocean trash including 162 lbs of “ghost net” (fishing nets that are abandoned or lost by fishermen that can harm and/or kill marine life).

The Marine Mammal Center is open daily from 10am-5pm and it’s free (donations are encouraged)

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Insider Tip

Be aware: Project Headlands is a massive roadwork undertaking making it a bit challenging to get to the Center on weekdays through October. Use Conzelman (not the tunnel, it will be closed).

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter and follow Marine Mammal Center on Twitter @TMMC.

The Marine Mammal Center
2000 Bunker Road
Fort Cronkhite
Sausalito, California

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