Bay Model Visitors Center

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Bay Model

Bay Model Visitors Center

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District

2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965  Phone: 415-332-3871

Neighborhood:  Spring Valley and Marinship South.  Website is here.  Calendar of Events is here.  Free parking in lot.


Friday Sept. 11, 2015: Local public safety teams will be doing training exercises at a vessel docked outside the Bay Model.  This is just an exercise and no actual dramatic events are going on!

Insiders Tip:  Although the address for the Bay Model Visitors Center is on Bridgeway, the building itself is actually located on 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’re on Marinship Way signs will lead you to the parking lot for the Bay Model.

Insiders Tip:  The street in front of the Bay Model was changed in 2015 so that you can access the parking lot from either direction, but you can only exit the Bay Model by turning south (turn left as you exit the parking lot). The old two-way traffic is no longer allowed.  Your route coming to the Bay Model is unchanged. Once you turn left on the street that runs between Bridgeway (which is elevated about 15 feet above the Model on a hillside) and the main buildings. Follow the road and it will lead you up a short incline that will lead you to an intersection with Bridgeway with a stoplight that will allow you to turn either north or south on Bridgeway.



Bay Model Header

Click here to read how the Army Corps of Engineers created the Bay Model to save us from a scheme worthy of a Bond Villain!  


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.


2015 Bay Model Hours

Normal Hours (through May 23, 2016)
Tues. – Sat.  9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Closed Sundays & Mondays


Summer Hours (Starting May 24, 2016)
Tues. – Fri.  9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Sat. – Sun. 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Closed Mondays

The Bay Model is closed on the following Holidays:

Veteran’s Day
Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Day
New Year’s Day

The Bay Model closes at Noon on:

December 24 – (for Christmas Eve)
December 31 – (for New Year’s Eve)


Admission Costs

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).


Bay Model 58


Saviors of the Bay

Click here to learn how the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Bay Model saved us from a Mad Developer.


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


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