Coyote Point, was formerly known as San Mateo Point, and was an island in the San Francisco Bay that had a marsh connecting it to the mainland. The land was filled in during the 1800's, to make it suitable for dairy farming. In the early 1900's, the coast land around Coyote Point was turned into an amusement park and dubbed the "Coney Island of the West'', however, use of the park was quickly abandoned and the facility was closed in 1923.
The area was used mainly as a United States Merchant Marine training school in the 1940's, and in 1962 the land was acquired by San Mateo County and turned into a park. Coyote Point Park is composed of 600-acres at the edge of the San Francisco Bay. The park contains recreational areas for walking, cycling and picnicking and also contains the Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education, the Coyote Point Marina and San Mateo County Shooting Range.
Four interconnected areas of the museum provide visitors with an introduction to the history of the Bay Area. The Environmental Hall contains natural history exhibits devoted to the San Francisco Bay area and its 6 natural ecosystems; the Redwood Forest, the Oak Forest, Grasslands, Chaparral, Baylands and the Coast. The Main Concourse Science Exhibits showcase a variety of hands-on displays that allow children and families to experience science and natural phenomena's up close.
The museum has more than 50 non-releasable animals on display. Such animals include bobcats, river otters, snakes, Channel Island fox, golden eagles, herons, turkey vultures, Western toads, badger, raccoons, porcupines, coyotes, turtles, owls, banana slugs, snowy egrets and many others. The animals are housed in the Wildlife Habitat area, which provides simulated natural habitats to some 150 animals indigenous to the Bay Area.
Themed areas in the museum include the Honey Bee Exhibit, which contains displays about bees, wild and commercial hives, beekeeping and the tools used and a living beehive. Guests are invited to tour the Gardens of the facility and stroll through many types of California-themed gardens, including a Hummingbird Garden, Butterfly Habitat and Natures Marketplace. Natures Marketplace consists of exhibits showcasing medicinal and flowering plants used by California Native Americans.
Recently updated and renovated, is the 4,000 square foot walk-through bird aviary. The exhibit contains a brook, native plants, and more than 48 species of birds indigenous to California. The Aviary provides guests with the opportunity to view the birds up-close and learn about them in a natural setting.
The Coyote Point Museum is opened Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am until 5 pm, and on Sunday from 12 pm until 5 pm, and closed on Monday. The facility is fully handicapped accessible with parking located adjacent to the building.