Friday, May 2, 2008

Nature Walk-- Cabrillo Beach

We took homeschooling on the road this week to visit Nana in Southern California. Monday morning, we headed to Cabrillo Beach, where there are tide pools to explore. We packed a picnic, grabbed a few towels and some sunscreen, and headed to San Pedro.

Unfortunately, by the time we got there, we had missed low tide. And we realized that we hadn't brought very good shoes for scaling rocks on the
beach. So, we explored the shore while Mom kept reminding us to not get wet and threatening to make anyone who was covered in sand walk home. (She finally gave up on that and just made everyone covered in sand shower and strip down before going home. It's a new car, after all.)

Here are some things we found on the beach/shoreline that caught our attention:

We saw rocks large and small with round holes all over them. There weren't any signs of animals or fish living in the holes, but we were sure that something must have made the holes and wondered what it could be. (The next day at the aquarium, we found out that there are rock-boring clams that try to anchor themselves to the rock for protection when the tide goes in and out.)
We found this, which we think might be a black abalone. It was exciting to find that the creature was still living in its shell, since we more often find empty shells. Of course we put him right back where we found him.

Here is an example of the many empty shells we found.

Kimball observed some seaweed up close.
He was fascinated by the little bulbs, but wasn't able to pop one.

We had so much fun, we decided to go back on Tuesday, when the aquarium would be open--and this time, we were determined to get there before the tide started coming in. We brought along aunt Alli both days, and on Tuesday, some of her in-laws came along to explore.

The rules of the tidepool include not taking anything home with us, touching gently, and not turning over rocks.

We saw coral, living and not, and found them both to be beautiful.

We found these anemones, who were covered in shells. If we touched them gently, they contracted defensively. They were everywhere in the tide pools and we had to watch carefully to avoid stepping on them, since they looked like shells.

Baby Isaac (cousin) loved our exploring. Bronwen wanted to go in head first and had to be held the entire time for the sea life's safety (and her own.)

After the tide pools, we walked over to the cute little aquarium. This was such a fun and inexpensive field trip, as the parking is free on weekdays in the off-season, and the museum is donation only with a $5 adult and $1 kids suggested donation. There were so many things to see there that were specific to the Southern Cal coast. We especially loved the touch tank, where we could touch many different sea stars, anemone, urchins, and more. There were also huge whale bones in the "whale graveyard" with a sign that said, "please touch." Unfortunately, the camera's battery died at this point in the day, so we don't have any photos. We ran out of time before we had seen everything that we wanted to--they have an Exploration Station with hands-on activities including dressing up in diving gear.

If you live in the area or plan to visit it, I highly recommend a day at Cabrillo beach and aquarium. There are lots of picnic tables for lunch and ample parking. We'll definitely go back again.


Anonymous said...

What a fabulous field trip! I love all the pictures. My kids have no concept of the beach. We went to the Great Salt Lake once last year, but it's just not the same :) I went looking for shells along the Atlantic Coast last fall and had so much fun! I just don't get to do that on a regular basis. Thanks for sharing.

Rebecca said...

What a wonderful experience that must have been! It looks like so much fun!

Tyler said...

what you went to cabrillo twice when equa-distant to the south you could have come to the tide pools down here and visited the ocean institute!? weak. Oh well. go read two years before the mast before your next trip and then maybe the boys will be more excited to visit richard henry dana's stomping grounds.