California Tidepools Laguna Beach Tide Pool Photos & Information

Tidepools...what are they?

At Laguna Beach beaches you'll find out. Several paid staff of tidepool curators are on location with pocket guides to help you learn about the local beaches and ocean. They offer suggestions, point out the beach's famous stars and tell you that it's OK to gawk and take pictures of these local celebrities. Of course what they are referring to are not the famous celebs that have lived by or visited the sea at Laguna Beach. Bette Davis was one famous actress who lived up the road in a large house overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The curators give free information to famous and average vacationers, explorers and even school kids who come to learn about the ocean treasures next to one of the most upscale hotels in California---Montage Resort. When building the hotel, which was years in planning and approval, the stipulation (and there were many), would provide public parking and for one of Laguna's finest beaches, Treasure Island Beach.

Tidepools are pools that are left behind when the ocean (or any body of water) recedes at low tides. You'll most often find them in places with rock formations on the shore. Sandy beaches without rocks generally do not offer best viewing for tidepools. In California the tides are around 6 hours apart. You'll discover two high and two low tides per day.

During low tides you may see many plants and animals in the pools and around them. Some may be there all the time, and some may be trapped in hollows of rocks when the water recedes.

When exploring tidepools, you should never remove animals, sea life, shells and rocks or you will disturb the natural environment. Furthermore, kids love to grab for sand crabs and other moving objects. Watch children and teach them not to touch the animals, nor move them around and poke them with sticks. Don't turn rocks over to see what's underneath them, either. By simply being an observer of this treasure, you're helping foster and maintain an ecosystem that others can also enjoy.

Intertidal Zones

Your travels to an aquarium will offer hands on opportunities to see and explore intertidal zones. One aquarium that does an exceptional job of teaching children and adults about this is Monterey Bay Aquarium, where kids can touch and explore the interactive displays that teach about the ocean.

Four zones have been delineated for specific characteristics and plant life observed. High tide zone, low tide zone, middle zone and splash zone all offer different plant and animal life to explore.

Easiest to discover in a healthy, active tidepool are barnacles, Hermit Crab, Black Turban Snails and Sea Anemones that look somewhat like the top of a thistle or inside portion of an artichoke next to the heart. Shore crabs are the cute little critters that scamper rapidly, even though they have what seem to be two big claws with pinchers in front. Mussels, kelp snails, rough limpets and sea lettuce are usually within the easy-to-find zones of the tidepools.

But when the water recedes and you look closer, within the pools you may notice things that are small, interesting and exciting to explore and study. Rock louse, gooseneck barnacles, coralline algae and even sculpin fish make be observed if you study the waters and rocks carefully. 

On a recent visit to the tidepools located at Laguna Beach's Treasure Island the "on location" curator (person who tells people about the tidepools), pointed one of the items she'd become fascinated with that propelled her into days, weeks and months of research about it. Chiton, little beetle-shaped green sea life took her curiosity to new heights as she began to study them. Doing this on her own time as a matter of interest, one previous paper she researched and wrote has been used in many programs about tidepools and the nearshores of California.

When you begin to search for the more hidden treasures, you may discover sea hare, sand castle worms, sea fingers, sea urchin and tube snails.  Giant keyhole limpets, Opaleye (fish), wavy top turban shells, purple olive shells and sea palms all offer delight to those who never thought about, looked close and new they exist right under one's feet.

The most hidden are rare items to observe in the tidepools include stars and octopus. The most popular star used to promote the sea is the ochre star with its clearly defined five points. Brittle star looks frail with its hairy-looking tentacles that grasp and cling to rocks. The bat star holds a web, much like duck feet. And then there's abalone, the shiny mesmerizing creature that allures with its metallic silver and sea blue colors, though its outer shell can appear dull and with hairy fibers.

For more information call Crystal Cove Conservancy (949) 240-3957



Tidepool curators in Laguna Beach show tourists and visitors the intricacies of a simple pool of water, and simple it isn't!

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