Sunday, May 24, 2015

Field Trip: Abalone Cove Shoreline Park

This morning, we visited the Abalone Cove Shoreline Park. It's located in Rancho Palos Verdes, a 45 minute drive south from Santa Monica. We got there shortly after the park opened at 9:00 a.m.* and met up with some friends to hike down to the tide pools.

I had never been to Abalone Cove, or to any tide pools, and I was very excited.

The view alone is breathtaking.
My daughter came prepared with her "catch and release beach aquarium" (a birthday gift from one of her friends we went to the tide pools with), and her binoculars.
 We saw ALL! of the animals on this sign: crabs, sea anemones, sea urchins, and sea stars.

Getting to the tide pools involves a short hike through the chaparral...
Yes, that's my fingernail in the shot, and no, I didn't crop it out because it would mean cropping out the whole left side of the picture.
...down to the rocky shore.
Low tide was at 9:13 a.m. today (, and it is recommended that you explore the tide pools up to one hour before low tide and up to one hour after. We spent two hours exploring the pools, and the time flew.
Careful on the rocks. Crocs are not the best footwear for this, but they weren't the worst either. My daughter and I ended up going barefoot in the tide pools. The rocks are covered with barnacles, so barefoot is not ideal.

Ideally, we would have been wearing aqua socks.

Next time.
We're here!

Sea urchins
Sea anemones
Can you find three anemones in this picture?
A crab
Isn't that crab's coloring beautiful?
Extreme close up of a sea slug
Blue green sea anemone
One of our little friends petting a sea slug. (We have a 2 finger rule for petting sea creatures.)
We caught (and released) a sea slug and a hermit crab.
Releasing our sea slug

The star of the tide pools was a sea lion. See him posing for pictures over there?
A close up
Watching the sea lion sun himself
We had so much fun. I can't wait to go back.

We did see a sea star. At first, we mistook it for an octopus because its arms were so long. I was unable to get a picture of it. I was shocked at how fast it swam. 

My advice:
  • DO take the rocky beach path to and from the parking lot if you're with preschoolers. DON'T try (like we did) to find a short cut back to the lot; we added a good forty minutes on to our hike to our cars, and some of it was a little treacherous. 
  • DO pack a towel and a (complete) change of clothes for your preschooler.
  • DO go potty at the parking lot restroom.
  • DO pack an after-exploration snack and bottle of water for the hike back. 
  • Do NOT attempt this if you've got a pre-walker or a toddler. Your child needs to be a very good walker, good at balancing, and good at following directions.
  • DO have a one to one parent-child ratio.
*Parking is $5.


  1. Oh how fun! Your pictures are fantastic.

    1. Thank you, Melanie. It was impossible to take a bad picture there. :)

  2. These pictures are beautiful. Love it!