2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965 Phone: 415-332-3871
Insiders Tip on Finding the Bay Model: Although the address for the Bay Model Visitors Center is on Bridgeway, the building itself is actually located off of Marinship Way, which splits off of Bridgeway and runs down a small hill to the building. The satellite photo below shows the huge complex (including the new solar panels on the roof!), and the map shows how Bridgeway and Marinship Way intersect. Once you've turned onto Marinship Way signs will lead you to parking for the Bay Model Visitor Center.
Great Rainy Day Spot to Visit with Kids!
When it's raining the Bay Model is a sprawling place to visit that's both dry and fascinating for kids. It's not a place where kids get a chance to run, but they'll do a lot of walking as they look at the multi-acre working model of San Francisco Bay.
2014 Bay Model Hours
Fall to Spring Hours (through May 23, 2014)
Tues. – Sat. 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Closed Sundays & Mondays
Memorial Day Weekend (May 24 - 26, 2014)
Sat. - Mon. 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Summer Hours (Starting May 27, 2014)
Tues. – Fri. 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sat. - Sun. 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
The Bay Model is closed on the following Holidays:
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - Veteran’s Day
Thursday, November 27, 2014 - Thanksgiving
Thursday, December 25, 2014 - Christmas Day
Thursday, January 1, 2015 - New Year’s Day
The Bay Model closes at Noon on:
December 24 - (for Christmas Eve)
December 31 - (for New Year’s Eve)
Admission is free but a donation box is in the lobby (and that donation is well deserved, since they're teaching people to preserve the Bay we all depend upon). Another reason to donate: See the story below for how the Bay Model helped save San Francisco Bay from a man-made disaster in the 1950's!
A Fascinating Super-Sized Simulator
See the second video below for "Why the Bay Model should have an award in the lobby for saving San Francisco Bay!"
The Bay Model and the Bay Model Visitor Center is a research and education facility built and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Inside is one of the most fascinating scientific tools you'll ever see: a working hydraulic model of San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento - San Joaquin River Delta Systems.
The Bay Model allows scientists, educators and visitors the chance to view the complete bay-delta system not just in 3D on a screen, but in three dimensions in real life, complete with real water and "real" tides and currents. It's over two acres in size, a structure so immense you can't comprehend it until you see it. Special walkways allow you to walk around in the middle of the model, not just at the edges.
What makes the model special is that its pipes and hydraulics make it a real simulation of the water environment of San Francisco Bay and the Delta. There are no glowing Disney-esque cityscapes, just a highly accurate physical model that can be used to simulate the effects of everything from oil spills to upstream dams, and fromwater diversions to floods caused by global warming.
They have a regular cycle of special events and presentations. Tours are available for groups with advanced reservations, and can be tailored to the technical sophistication of the group. The Corps of Engineers also makes the Visitor Center available to scientific and educational groups for meetings and seminars under a set of written guidelines. For more information on group events call (415) 332-3871.
Insiders Tip: Because they're part of the Army Corps of Engineers and are set up as a teaching institution the staff members at the Bay Model absolutely LOVE to answer questions. Ask them on site or call before you come and they'll be great at responding, and it's all free. If your kids are especially curious about the Bay this makes a visit here even more fun and fulfilling for everyone because of their great staff.
Below: An Army Corps of Engineers brochure for the Bay Model from 1958, shortly after it opened. (Click to enlarge).
Saviors of the Bay
The Bay Model is an Unrecognized Hero of the Environmental Movement
The video below from KQED (with great historical footage) shows part of the motivation for the creation of the Bay Model: The "Reber Plan" inspired by cold war military fears and real estate speculation. In the video you hear a 1950's narrator talk about evacuating San Francisco after it's been hit by atomic bombs (yes, really) but most of the plan was about filling the Bay for more land, diverting more water to Los Angeles and increasing land values.
Fortunately for us, the Bay Model proved that the plan would be an environmental and economic disaster, turning the northern and southern arms of the Bay into evaporation ponds and killing the central Bay when it lost its supply of fresh water. Instead of killing the Bay they decided that killing the Reber Plan was a better choice!.
Volunteer at the Bay Model for the Sausalito Art Festival
Every Labor Day Weekend the Bay Model is an integral part of the Sausalito Art Festival, with additional special art exhibits as well as its gigantic water model. The Bay Model needs volunteers each year during this time to help in the bookstore, assist visitors with questions about the Art Festival and the Bay Model, monitor what's going on in the model and the galleries, and help out with the special kids area.
Volunteers get lots of great perks, not to mention free admission to the Festival!
To volunteer to help out during the Art Festival you can call Tammi Skalitzky at (415) 289-3027 or email her at Tammi.M.Skalitzky@usace.army.mil.
Google Map Instructions: Use the "+" and "-" buttons to zoom in and out, the arrow keys to scroll the map, and the SAT button to see the satellite view.