Go Ahead and Touch It – California Aquariums Offer Sensation-al Experiences!

Shown is a toddler getting her first exposure to ocean life at the Avila Beach Sea Life Center (sealifecenter.org).

There must be something therapeutic about aquariums. When you wander along the walkways next to wealthy mansions and home in places such as Long Beach’s Naples Island, you can see entire walls illuminated with aquariums to rival some of the aquarium facilities open to the public in California. The aquamarine water scenes and colorful fish are alluring.

We live close to the ocean but statistics show that only a minority of tourists and locals actually enter the water in California, much less experience the ocean life that dwells within this other world that comprises 75% of our planet!

There are a variety of public aquariums big & small and most provide the greatest experience of all–touch. When you get to reach into a touch tank and feel the unique pebbly surface or sand-paper like texture of a star fish, it’s something that really wakes up your mind & imagination.

A few aquariums are free to see, while most in California charge a fee ranging from a dollar or two, to the big daddy of aquariums– Monterey Bay Aquarium– which charges $32.95 for an adult and $19.95 for children age 3-12.

Another experience that you can enjoy involves tidepooling. Any place where you find rocks at the beach, you’ll normally find tidepools where sea urchins, tiny crabs and fish can be seen during low tides. One of our favorite tidepool areas is in Laguna Beach, where docents often are on hand to educate about what you are seeing.

And for those who really want to dive in, get your diving certification and check out places such as the Channel Islands National Marine Park. It only takes a few lessons to be out there enjoying the ultimate experience.

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