The Bay Area’s Vast Animal Kingdom

Do you love animals? My team and I sure do. Between us, we own a menagerie of cats, dogs, turtles, goldfish, and lizards. Our pets bring us joy, and they contribute greatly to the fabric of life in Lafayette. Our town even hosts an annual event dedicated to our furry friends: the Dogtown Downtown Walk (June 1) sponsored by the Lafayette Chamber invites residents to parade Mt. Diablo Boulevard with dogs in tow. But my team’s love of animals extends well beyond our domesticated companions. We love to visit the animals rehabbed by Walnut Creek’s fabulous Lindsay Wildlife Experience. We are fascinated by the creepy-crawly creatures at Berkeley’s famous Vivarium. And we are deeply moved by the monthly Guide Dogs for the Blind graduation ceremonies. If you love animals too, you’ll love my team’s list of their favorite Bay Area animal outings:

Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito: Open daily from 10am – 4pm, admission is free at this rescue and treatment facility where distressed marine mammals are rehabbed for release back into the ocean. Explore on your own, or take part in an educational program or tour.

Año Nuevo State Park, Pescadero: Observe thousands of elephant seals here, as well as otter, sea lions, and migratory birds. Check the schedule for guided docent tours where reservations are required.

Lindsay Wildlife Experience, Walnut Creek: As a working wildlife hospital, and one of the oldest and largest rehabilitation centers in the United States, Lindsay treats more than 5,000 injured, sick or abandoned animals annually. More than 50 species of non-releasable, native California animals reside at the center.

Fun Fact: I worked on PR and special events for the Lindsay Wildlife Museum for several years!

Steinhart Aquarium at The CA Academy of Sciences, San Francisco: One of the most biologically diverse and interactive aquariums on Earth, Steinhart is home to nearly 40,000 live animals, representing more than 900 unique species.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey: Watch daily feedings of penguins and otters, and learn about the preservation of our oceans. The jellyfish exhibit is alone worth a visit. Located on vibrant Cannery Row.

Guide Dogs for the Blind, San Rafael: This wonderful organization prepares highly qualified guide dogs to serve individuals who are blind. Pups are raised by adoptive families who then turn over their charges to the dog’s new partner during very moving graduation ceremonies. Warning: Bring tissues!

Animal Rescue Foundation (A.R.F.), Walnut Creek: Become a volunteer and help care for abandoned cats and dogs who will eventually find new homes via the wonderful work of this well-known organization. If you are looking to add to your family, this is a must!

East Bay Vivarium, Berkeley: This amazing store supplies zoos, educational institutions, and classrooms as well as individuals and families with snakes, lizards, tortoises, turtles, frogs, toads, salamanders, tarantulas and scorpions, all of which are on view.

Fun Fact: 100% of the proceeds from our large listing, 7 Country Oak Lane in Alamo, will go to Maddie’s Fund.

Maddie’s Fund® is a family foundation created in 1994 by Workday co-founder Dave Duffield and his wife, Cheryl, who have endowed the Foundation with more than $300 million, with grants supporting increased community lifesaving, animal welfare leadership, foster care and shelter medicine, education and training across the U.S.

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