O has been obsessed with the ocean and sea life for about a year now (thanks Octonauts!). And, while we regularly visit the aquarium here in Seattle, it’s indoors, which, on a gorgeous day, just feels wrong. When we found out a friend of ours had joined the aquarium’s Beach Naturalist Program and would be leading a tide pool walk, we jumped at the chance to go.
The Beach Naturalist Program is a great resource. These men and women are local volunteers who really know their stuff. At low tide on weekends throughout the summer here in Seattle, they head out to the area’s beaches to educate the public on sea life, habitats, and how best to share the beach with these creatures and plants.
Saturday was a perfect day to be at the beach—record high temperatures meant that, for once, there were no clouds in the sky—and we all suited up in shorts, sport sandals, and a thick layer of sunscreen and headed to the tide pools.
We had a blast. We saw crabs, clams, many kids of seaweed, aggregate anemones, moon snail egg collars, blue herons, and all kinds of other sea flora and fauna.
O had the best time of all, splashing through the shallows and listening to our Beach Naturalist friend, who helped him to use his “science finger” to touch all the cool, squishy, brightly colored things lying all over the beach. We also taught him about respecting the ecosystem—don’t take souvenirs, leave dogs at home, and try not to disturb the plant life.
If you’re in Seattle with kids this summer, I can’t recommend this unique expedition enough! You can find more information about this program at the Seattle Aquarium’s site. And if you’re not in Seattle, make sure to check and see if your local aquarium runs a similar program. Or just do some googling and head out yourself. Just make sure you respect the beach. Happy tide pooling!