Just touch with your eyes – as our new favorite saying goes. The creatures living in the tide pools of the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach, one of the most diverse marine lives areas, are not to be touched. In fact, you should make sure you are not stepping on anything either.
Before you go, check the tides schedule, low tides, one foot or less, are best for viewing.
You can pick up a brochure at the park center guiding you in what you might find. At the same place, they also show a video with examples, have information on Abalone, the geology at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, and talk about whale migration.
I was hoping to see an octopus, but these masters of disguise require more patience and a bit of luck I suppose. We did see a hermit crab (no snail can walk that fast!), and a few tiny fish. A group ahead of us spotted a CRAB! I felt happy to watch their sea critter treasure hunt.
For the not so stable walkers, there is a bench overlooking the Cove.
A tip for people coming from the inland – bring a sweater! Temperatures dropped 20 degrees Fahrenheit. We enjoyed a clam chowder at Sam’s Chowder House afterward to warm up again.
I was expecting a lot of beach images and was pleasantly surprised at the broad palette of summer. I will have the water by Michael Granger won us over – a depiction of colorful drinks in a refrigerator.
My son found the multimedia installation Into Being – The River by Diana Hobson and Susan Alexjander quite relaxing. At the time of our visit, we were the sole visitors and could enjoy the relaxing telegenic water images without any distractions.
The third current exhibit is by Richard Gayton: Strangers on the train, a watercolor study of BART riders on his daily commute. Gayton is an excellent observer of moods and this is reflected in his drawings of BART riders.
Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art is a great day trip. Visitor parking can be found adjacent to the museum and admission is free, donations are accepted. I also recommend the little sculpture garden in the museum’s courtyard, a relaxing place.
Touch a shark and get a sticker to proudly proof it. The Seymour Marine Discovery Center in Santa Cruz is one of my favorite places in the Bay Area. Besides petting a shark – a real swell shark that is! – you are also invited by the great volunteers to get your finger wrapped up by sea creatures like anemones, spot a hermit crab or hold a sea star. The aquarium tanks hold shark babies and jellyfish. Did you know that jellyfish needed a round tank to generate the circular flow keeping them suspended in the tank?
If you talk about the wildlife of the Bay you also need to see the exhibit on the sea otter. There is otter fur to touch, which is the softest fur ever.
Shark Science Week is July 22 – 28. 2018 – to get a deeper understanding of sharks.
Sea Otter Awareness Week is September 22 – 30. 2018 – this is an annual event all around the Bay recognizing the importance of the sea otter for the nearshore ecosystem.
The tour that is included in the entrance fee takes you outside the center. It starts off with the history of the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. An important stop is Ms. Blue, the 87 feet long blue whale skeleton that greets every visitor. You are invited to go into her belly, touch some baleen plate, that is used to filter out food and a glass jar of krill to understand how much food is needed for these giants. The tour might end behind the scene of the Joseph M. Long Laboratory. Here our group got to see two dolphins and a seal that are being studied.
In July and August the Seymour Marine Discovery Center is open every day 10 am – 5 pm. Adults admission is $9, senior, children and students are $7. For the free days you need to check the web site. They also participate in the Discover and Go program.
I remember the times my toddler would stare at everything moving. We enjoyed the trash trucks and the planes in the sky. Trains also fall in this category, big and small.
If you happen to be at the Santa Clara train station either on a Tuesday afternoon, from 5 pm to 8 pm, or on a Saturday, 10 am to 3 pm, go check out the South Bay Historical Railroad Society. Admission is free, with a few opportunities to donate inside.
In the oldest passenger depot still in use volunteers established a museum for all things railroad related. But the real attraction are the model railways that fill most of the depot’s back room.
Young and old volunteers work together on the trains that ride across impressions of Northern California landscapes. I smiled at a mother telling her toddler to slow down. There are step stools for the smaller population to see the trains. I loved the whimsical displays that tell a story of its own.
All the way in the back are aerial photographs of Santa Clara train station were you can imagine the transition this area went through.