Animal Magnetism

Seal Lion 10th Anniversary

Ten years ago, San Francisco tour books were apparently translated at last into one of the least-known languages of the animal kingdom. Despite their inability to hit the Union Square shops, or wait in line at the Hard Rock Cafe, sea lions descended en masse on Fisherman's Wharf like many tourists before them, requisitioning several docks to the dismay of many boat owners. Adapting to the frequent shutter-clicks of camera-bearing Kansans (and undoubtedly to a steady diet of tossed S.F. sourdough), the sea lions decided to stick around, now numbering almost a thousand.

Pier 39 marks the Sea Lion 10th Anniversarythis weekend, putting to rest the question as to whether our mammalian guests will ever leave. In addition to entertainment, the Marine Mammal Center will offer educational sea lion talks and give visitors the opportunity to join its Adopt-A-Seal program, which supports the center's ongoing efforts to rehabilitate sick and injured marine mammals. The celebration takes place from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at K Dock, Pier 39, Beach & Embarcadero, S.F. Admission is free; call 750-5500.

If the sight of squawking sea lions lounging on docks is a little too, well, touristy for you, head down to Año Nuevo State Reserve's Sealabration, a fund-raising tour to support the educational and interpretive programs at the reserve. The program includes a bus trip to the elephant seal breeding colony, with a naturalist-led, behind-the-scenes walk that reveals fighting males, mating rituals, and perhaps the sight of a few young 'uns. The event takes place Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (morning time slots are sold out, but the 12:30-2:30 p.m. program is still open) at Año Nuevo, 25 miles south of Half Moon Bay on Highway 1. Donation is $75; call (877) 884-7325.

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