California Sea Lions

You’ll know you’re getting close to the sea lions in our care by the energy in the air. Sea lions are extremely social — and vocal! They often cluster in large groups of tens to hundreds of sea lions when hauled out on shorelines, piers, or jetties. In water, they form smaller groups called “rafts.” Their long front flippers are perfectly suited for swimming. On land, sea lions tuck their hind flippers beneath their body and use all four flippers to “walk” around.

Sea lions and seals are often confused, but here’s a clue you won’t forget. Sea lions have visible ear flaps — seals have only holes. Listen to the chorus of sea lion calls and you’ll easily remember it’s the ears that set them apart.

Be sure to check out our sea lion stars in “Clyde & Seamore Take Pirate Island.”

Visit Pacific Point Preserve to experience sea lions up-close, and even take the opportunity to feed them. If you'd like to get even closer, sign up for the Sea Lions Up-Close Tour!

Q: Where do they live?
SW: California sea lions aren’t just found in California! They live all along the Pacific coast of North America, from southern British Columbia to central Mexico and into the Gulf of California, Mexico.

Q: What do they eat?
SW: A variety of fishes, squids and octopuses.

Q: How big do they get?
SW: Adult males reach lengths of 6.5 to 8 ft. (2 - 2.5 m), while females are 5 to 6.5 ft. (1.5 - 2 m) in length.