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March 14, 2008

Contact: Mary Jane Schramm, 415-561-6622, ext. 205

NOAA's Gulf of the Farallones Sanctuary Celebrates Opening of Redesigned San Francisco Visitor Center

NOAA’s Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary will unveil on March 22 its newly transformed visitor center featuring new exhibits that allow visitors to plunge into the wonders of the marine environment without getting their feet wet.

“Visitors to the family-friendly center will discover a wealth of information about the sanctuary’s wildlife, including massive blue and humpback whales and other marine mammals, white sharks, seabirds, and tiny krill that form the basis of the marine food web,” said Maria Brown, sanctuary superintendent. “Highlights include a life-sized replica of a white shark and real white shark jaws, and video footage of several species that can be found in the sanctuary.”

Sanctuary naturalists will be on hand to introduce the fascinating creatures that inhabit California’s coastal shores and the briny deep beyond. The event will have a springtime theme, featuring a special Egg Lab in the historic tide station, which is ordinarily closed to the public. The lab will offer visitors the opportunity to learn about the survival adaptations of eggs produced by a variety of species, ranging from sharks to sardines to seabirds.

The habitat room of the center features tidepool tanks with monkeyface eels, rockfish, sea urchins, crabs and sea anemones, and a mural depicting open-ocean creatures of the sanctuary. The “fishing shack” wall profiles the commercial and recreational fish species that call the sanctuary home and promotes sustainable fisheries to help maintain ecosystem balance.

The opening event is free to the public and will run from 1 to 4 p.m. at the visitor center, located in the San Francisco Presidio at 991 Marine Drive, West Crissy Field Beach.

NOAA’s Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary comprises more than 1,200 square nautical miles of nearshore and offshore waters beyond San Francisco’s Golden Gate. Designated in 1981, the sanctuary extends from Bodega Head in Sonoma County, south to the waters off the San Mateo County coast.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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On the Web:


NOAA National Ocean Service:

National Marine Sanctuary Program:

Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary:

Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association:


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