Sunday, July 07, 2013

Dangerous overcrowdng at the Aquarium by the Bay in San Francisco

Bad bad bad experience at the Aquarium by the Bay on 7/7/13.

We went into the tunnel area (where you are in essence inside the big tank). And they announced they were having a shark feeding. We (11 of us including four kids) waited in the tunnel where they told us to.

The tunnel has a moving walkway in it on one side of the floor that slowly moves people through the area. On the other side of the floor there is solid ground. At the end of the walkway is a waiting area for the elevator. As the show started they turned on the walkway and people started moving past us.  The walkway was wall to wall people.

As they turned on the walkway, the elevator could not keep up with the crowd pouring in off the walkway and it started to get very crowded there. We decided to try and get out because it felt unsafe in the tunnel. We squeezed onto the moving walkway (my wife first, with my two kids and then me).

As we got near the elevators people were screaming for the staff to turn off the walkway as people started to get crushed. The staff refused. My sister turned off the emergency switch.

Eventually - after some ten minutes - we got out on the elevator. My kids were completely freaked out as were most of the other people there. This place should probably be shut down.

1 comment:

  1. Just got this email in response to one I sent it to the Aquarium PR office.

    Dear Jonathan

    I received your feedback through about your experience at the Aquarium of the Bay on Saturday 7/6/13.

    First of all, I would like to apologize to you and your family that you had an unpleasant experience at our Aquarium and you did not feel safe. Unfortunately, after checking our reporting logs, we did not see any unusual reporting for that day and our front staff did not receive any negative guest experience feedback. However, please be assured that we take your feedback seriously and will discuss it internally within our management team as well as talking to our staff who are working at the Aquarium. It is our best interest to provide our guests with a wonderful experience.

    We are aware that our tunnels can get crowded, especially during a shark feeding or other popular presentations. This is one of the reason why we do have the moving walkway running in order to ensure a good people flow and to make sure that no one gets stuck or cannot move. We are sorry to hear that the amount of people in the tunnel caused anxiety with your family.

    In case of an emergency, there are two emergency exit doors located at either end of the tunnel and we have had good experiences in guiding people through these doors in case they needed to exit the tunnel area. Our staff is well trained to react in case of an emergency or if a guest raises any concern. We are sorry that your experience was different.

    Again, please accept our apology. In order to make it up for you and your children, we would like to invite you back to the Aquarium of the Bay and come see us for a behind the scenes tour.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards,

    Silvia Huston

    Director Marketing / Communication
    Aquarium of the Bay
    The Embarcadero at Beach Street | San Francisco, CA 94133
    Office: 415.623.5343 | Cell: 415.999.7165
    Fax: 415.623.5324

    Our mission is to protect, restore and inspire the conservation of San Francisco Bay and its watershed, from the Sierra to the sea.


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