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It’s a big year for the Bay: Million-dollar catamarans abound. The new “quakeproof” span is finally open for business. But how much do you really know about the massive, glinting body of water that surrounds us?

A new exhibit at the recently renovated Oakland Museum of California called Above and Below aims to enlighten, revealing fascinating stories about the Bay over the past 6,000 years. A few tidbits that might surprise you:

It’s actually a shallow estuary That’s right: The Bay is not...a bay. It’s a mixture of the Pacific’s cold salt water and warm river water. The average depth is just 12 feet.

It’s littered with cannonballs In the late 19th century, soldiers on Alcatraz Island would shoot at Angel Island for target practice. Many of the cannonballs, some of which are in the exhibit, are still on the Bay’s floor.

Porpoises are making a comeback After a 65-year absence, the sea creatures have returned. You can spot them around the Golden Gate Bridge and Angel Island.

1000 Oak St., Oakland; 510-318-8400 or

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