In our previous post, Discovery Tips for Sea Ranch Tide Pools we shared tips on showing your children the marvels of Sea Ranch tide pools. In this continuation to that post we provide you import information to being good tide pool stewards. We share some of the photos our guests and we have collected on our explorations. We look forward to showcasing your photos of being tide pool stewards too!
How to Be Good Tide Pool Stewards – Rules of the Tide Pools
When sharing the intertidal habitats with your children we encourage you to share these tips to being tide pool stewards of The Sea Ranch tide pools.
First- A few words of warning!
- NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON THE OCEAN– many people have been swept away by “sneaker waves” while their attention was diverted!
- Reschedule your exploration if there’s a high surf warning or a tidal wave warning issued.
- Sea Ranch’s beach access can be steep with a long drop off onto the rocky shore. Be sure to keep a watchful eye and a hand on your younger children to prevent falls.
- You may explore anywhere along the Sea Ranch coastline, but you must not disturb any of the protected areas including the Marine Mammals Sanctuaries.
When exploring any tide pool always be aware that you and your children are entering into a fragile habitat. Thus it’s even more important they remain tide pool stewards.
Follow these rules
Here are some points for tide pool stewards to keep in mind as you walk about the rocky areas:
- Remain on the posted trails, or established paths.
- Try to step on solid, bare rocks.
- Walk in a line, placing your feet where others have stepped to minimize the trampling effect and disrupting the meadows.
- Use your eyes not your hands to examine the creatures you find.
- Touch animals as gently as you would your own eyeball. When you do pick up an animal keep your your hands and the animal wet, and examine it briefly.
- Replace the animal in the exact spot you found it (inside the crevice, if that’s where it came from). Never bring it home.
- Look carefully under rocks or driftwood always being careful to lift gently and not to crush anything. Replacing them exactly as you found it. Never bring it home.
- Move seaweed or algae with great care to look underneath then replace it over the animals for their continued protection from the sun and air.
- Be sure you leave the tide pools with everything you carried in, including liter from snacks and picnics.
- Avoid picking up or removing the following creatures for the high potential of damaging them, or the inability to re-attach themselves to the rocks
- Limpets, snails, abalone, chitons, mussels
- Sponges, sea squirts, anemones, sea urchins
- Algae, seaweeds, and other attached plants
When You Find an Injured Marine Animal
On occasion you may come across an injured marine animal. If that happens be sure to contact the The Marine Mammal Center to let them know the location, what kind of animal is injured and to what extent. Tide pool stewards respect the health of our marine mammals.
Starfish Wasting Disease Alert
If you should come upon a starfish that looks damaged, or sick please take note of where you spotted it and when. Sadly, along the coast between Alaska to Mexico, there have been many cases of starfish with a mysterious wasting away disease. Chances are it will be your child who makes this significant and most important discovery. In fact it has been young energetic preschoolers who have made many of the most significant discoveries!
“Parents have bad knees,” observes Pete Raimondi, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. “They’re not going to get down on the reef. But kids are super curious, they have great eyesight, and they’re low to the ground.”
Flora and Fauna Found in Sea Ranch Tide Pools
Below are some of our discoveries and those of past guests. While we don’t have photos, we’ve been told guests have found octopus too! We look forward to sharing your photos of tide pool creatures found.
Share your experiences of Sea Ranch Tide Pools!
Do you have any handy tips to share in becoming good tide pool stewards? We’d love to hear what you have done to make exploring Sea Ranch tide pools a fun and memorable activity for you and your children. Please post them below along with your photos. We’d love to chat with you about your excursions and discoveries on Facebook too!
Be Good Tide Pool Stewards in California’s Tide Pools
Other North Coast State Parks with Opportunities for Viewing Tide Pools include:
Seven Great Family-friendly Tide Pools in California
- MacKerricher State Park, Fort Bragg Area: Use the boardwalk, perfect for strollers, to get out to the tide pools. When the tide comes in, take the kids on the mile-long round trip out to the harbor seal observation point.
- Muir Beach, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Marin County: This spectacular little cove has great tide pools and a cozy, wind-protected beach area for picnics. When the tide comes in, go explore the newly restored wetlands.
- Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Moss Beach: Some consider these the most abundant tide pools in northern California, and they are easy to access, too. Keep on the lookout for the shy red octopus.
- Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz: This is nature at its most dramatic. If the colorful ocean life doesn’t make a naturalist out of your young explorers, the mudstone bridge formations will. Keep an eye out for sea otters, too!
- Leo Carrillo State Park, Malibu: This gorgeous gem is 28 miles north of Santa Monica, yet it’s worlds away. Rarely crowded, Leo Carrillo does not disappoint with an abundance of sea life waiting to be discovered. The campground is great for families.
- Crystal Cove State Park, Laguna Beach: Make a day of exploring this hidden paradise. A designated underwater park, the low tide reveals tons of critters. The parking lot is on the east side of the highway, and you’ll walk through a tunnel to get to the beach, so bring all the gear you think you’ll need for the day.
- Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego: Yes, it’s all about the tide pools here, but the knockout views don’t hurt. Take the free ranger walk; you and your junior explorers will see and learn lots! This is also a prime spot for catching sight of gray whales as they migrate south.