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Bay Day

NOAA data-collection buoy being hoisted out of San Francisco Bay at the Exploratorium.
Bay Day

Have you ever wondered what’s inside a scientific ocean buoy? Take a close look at the critters and seaweed that colonize the bottom of our NOAA data-collection buoy when we pull it out of the water for its yearly servicing.

On Bay Day, we’ll provide microscopes, hand lenses, and activities that get you up close and personal with the animals and plants that call San Francisco Bay their home. Scientists and educators will be on hand to identify and catalog the marine organisms, both native and invasive species that live in San Francisco Bay.

On loan to us from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the CO2 buoy has been anchored between Piers 15 and 17 since April 2013, collecting data on water temperature, salinity, and CO2 levels in the atmosphere and the Bay. Every year, we pull it out of the water to calibrate and replace the sensors and to clean off corrosion and marine organisms. 

Buoy Pull
Gallery 5: Outdoor Exhibits

Watch a crane hoist our data-collection buoy from the water! The buoy spends its time measuring water temperature, CO2 levels, and salinity in San Francisco Bay—and accumulating all kinds of fascinating aquatic life. Get up close and see the species that have gathered on its underside over the past year.