Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop, San Simeon

4.7
#1 of 63 in Parks in San Luis Obispo County
Gift & Specialty Shop · Visitor Center
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Driving along Highway 1 in California, close to San Simeon and four miles north of the Hearst Castle, you can see Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop. With over 5000 births per year, the estimated total colony size of 25,000 seals makes this site the largest mainland rookery (birthing place) for the Northern  Elephant Seal species. Protected from storms and predators, with wide sandy beaches and shallow rocky areas, this location is ideal for the seals. Depending on the time of year, you can witness the birth of baby seals, hear the iconic roar of male seals during the breeding season, or watch young seals spar with each other on the beach and in the surf. Using our international travel planner, San Simeon attractions like Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
3,103 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Absolutely wonderful experience everyone should do at least once a lifetime! So cool to see and hear seal elephants close up. There is a safe distance between them and people yet close enough to... 
    Absolutely wonderful experience everyone should do at least once a lifetime! So cool to see and hear seal elephants close up. There is a safe distance between them and people yet close enough to...  more »
  • We saw the elephant seals last year and had to return for breeding season. We were mesmerized by the action and size of the males protecting their interests. 
    We saw the elephant seals last year and had to return for breeding season. We were mesmerized by the action and size of the males protecting their interests.  more »
Google
  • We stopped here before heading to the elephant seal rookery, which is a few miles up the road, to get information. The volunteer there was so helpful and we could tell he is passionate about the elephant seals. He shared all kinds of valuable information with us, including behaviours we might see and what to watch for if a female was going to give birth. The space is small, but they have some nice souvenirs and also some skulls that you can really appreciate the size of the elephant seals compared to other seal species.
  • Had a great visit

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