The beach is like this
THE SMALL WORLD OF SWIMMING POOLS
Fascinating sea creatures abound in the steep enclosures of Seattle’s rocky beaches.
When the ocean tide recedes onto a rocky beach, it leaves tiny ecosystems called tidal pools in its wake. These aquatic worlds are teeming with tiny crabs, sticky sea anemones that close in on your touch, colorful seaweed, spiny sea urchins and other tiny creatures – and they’re an enchanting hands-on lesson in marine biology for kids. children and adults – ups alike.
Seattle AquariumThe Life on the Edge exhibit (1483 Alaskan Way), which recreates a large pond inside, is a great way to learn about the creatures that live in these unique intertidal habitats. Aquarium volunteers show visitors how to respectfully interact with animals and offer tips for finding them safely in the wild. They even sometimes lead guided tours of local parks.
To explore the tidal pools on your own, venture to the saltwater beaches along Elliott Bay and Puget Sound. Constellation Park (3521 Beach Dr SW) in West Seattle, just south of sandy Alki Beach, is one of the city’s most popular tide spots. The rocky parts of the north of Golden Gardens Park (8498 Seaview Pl NW) in Ballard, Carkeek Park (950 NW Carkeek Park Rd) in Broadview, and Seahurst Park (1600 SW Seahurst Park Rd) in Burien are also local favorites. But wherever you find rocks and salt water, you can usually find teeming tidal pools.
Maximize your exploration time by heading to the beach about an hour before the tide is at its lowest. You can find the tide tables on the website for the The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as at a hardware or marine store. A field guide to identifying creatures can also be helpful – there’s one on the Seattle Aquarium website as well as most local bookstores.
Find tidal pools by peeking inside miniature pockets created by the rugged landscape and gently flipping over smaller boulders. Be careful to protect yourself and the tiny animals, and leave everything where you found it. Some trips offer more wildlife sightings than others, but they’re all a chance to see a beautiful natural phenomenon while soaking up the sun and fresh seaside air.