With three children a visit to San Francisco’s Pier 39 wasn’t something we could skip on. We’d been to San Francisco before and the attractions on the pier were quite the highlight of their last visit. The moment we told them we were accompanying Daddy, on another business trip to San Francisco, they were amped about visiting the pier. The older children love the thrill of the 7D Experience and were particularly excited to hear that a LaZer Challenge had opened there (which they ended up topping the leader board on).
Young Miss 4 loves the Carousel – as do the older girls; especially as there’s a self-spinning tea-cup – which they love to spin as wildly as possible, with the chief aim of making Mummy and Daddy feel icky (delightful daughters we have!).
As well as the beautiful Carousel, the pier itself has a wonderful ambiance. There are always street performers and buskers. The choice of places to dine, or simply grab a snack and people watch, is abundant. The physical setting of the pier is also what makes it so special – overlooking the beautiful bays of San Francisco, out toward the Golden Gate bridge, with Alcatraz making an unmissable feature on the sweeping vista.
And a visit to Pier 39 would be incomplete without saying a quick ‘Hello’ to the resident population of Sea Lions that call the waters around the pier their home.
There is also a lovely ‘Aquarium of the Bay’, which we enjoyed a great visit to. It’s not spectacular, like the incredible Monterey Aquarium, a few hours drive south of San Francisco, but it’s very well laid out, with excellent exhibits. Definitely a perfect place to spend an hour or two.
Miss 4 absolutely delighted in all the exhibits, particularly loving the touch pools. We timed our visit perfectly for Miss 10 too – as a Californian King Snake was out of its exhibit for visitors to stroke! It was beautiful. Miss 10 wishes she could have one as a pet – but, for obvious reasons, snakes aren’t allowed in New Zealand (there’s enough invasive introduced predators as it is!).
The sea otters at the end of the aquarium were very delightful too, which populate the coastline of the Californian coastline – and are easy to see in the waters around Monterey.
Finally, Pier 39 was the spot where hubbie and I celebrated fifteen years of marriage – along with our three energetic daughters. We dined in a sports bar, by the carousel, where the children could play the arcade, whilst we enjoyed a quick drink in peace. Happy children, happy parents. Win, win!
It wasn’t the most decadent of places to celebrate – but we knew we had a weekend lined up in beautiful Monterey, staying at the superb Intercontinental, to look forward to. Feeling very blessed indeed!