Better than the Aquarium: Tide Pools at Carpinteria State Beach, CA

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I have a thing for starfish. I find them beautiful and fascinating, even more so when I can see them in their natural environment. One of the coolest, mind-blowing experiences I’ve had this year was watching sea life in the tide pools at Carpinteria State Beach in Southern California. 

Maybe I find these animals so amazing because they are not part of my daily life. As a mountain mom, I grow tired of seeing deer, wild turkeys, blue jays and hummingbirds. They’re always around. But sea stars, anemones, crabs and harbor seals? That’s something to see.

On our visit to Carpinteria State Beach tide pools little g was most excited to find this baby sea star hiding in the sea weed, but my favorite animals were farther out – the harbor seals that rest on the rocks near the shore. Below is a photo, but you have to look closely – their camouflage is pretty good.

Finding different kinds of wildlife gave me a chance to see nature through the eyes of my children. Watching anemones curl into themselves, explaining the empty crab shells we found on the beach, it gave me the chance to explain what a food chain.

Encouraging little g to touch with care, and look for snails under the shells she found gave me a chance to watch exploration and discovery through her eyes. Having Big E tell ME what camouflage means made me realize that kids pick up a lot without me even really trying.

Exploring the tide pools at Carpinteria State Beach was better than any trip to the aquarium. Not only did we get to see unique and interesting wildlife in their natural habitat, but we got to explore and discover new things as a family.

Read about last year’s Carpinteria adventures here and here.

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Author: Mountain Mom

Hi! I'm Mountain Mom. I live with my husband and three young kids in the mountains near Sundance, Utah. When we're not hiking, biking, skiing and camping, I spend my time doing Mom stuff and reading. Summer of 2016 we traveled over 7,000 miles along the US National Park to Park Highway.

1 thought on “Better than the Aquarium: Tide Pools at Carpinteria State Beach, CA”

  1. My toddler loves the beach and any little critter out there. Thanks for sharing! I was on the twitter chat yesterday with you and the group and really enjoyed it.

    It's really nice to meet a few other people out there that are into similar things for the kids. Looking forward to chatting next week. dave

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