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Exploring Tide Pools: Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

Kids love exploring tide pools, and the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is a wonderful place to explore. See also: Silicon Valley Family Day Trips.

Exploring tide pools is a wonderful educational family activity!

Exploring tide pools is a great family activity that doubles as an incredible way to introduce kids to marine biology! We spent the morning of the Fourth of July out at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. The tide was exceptionally low, so we got to see all sorts of exciting sea life! Here are a few of my favorites, and I shared some great books on tide pools at the end of this post!

Exploring tide pools with kids. Here you can find sea grass, coral, and a giant green sea anemone.

In this photo, can you spot sea grass, some a giant green anemone, and some coral? What else do you see?

Exploring tide pools with kids. Can you spot the big green crab?

How about the big green crab camouflaged above? There were snails everywhere, and lots of hermit crabs as well.

Exploring tide pools with kids. Can you spot the little sculpin fish?

The tiny fish in this pool is called a Sculpin. They like to stay along the bottom of water bodies.

Exploring tide pools with kids. We were surprised to find this small eel in a tide pool!

I was surprised to find a small eel, so I messaged my marine biology friend to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing! She wrote back that it might be a Monkeyface-eel – a baby as it is very small. Do you see the spots on its back? I was fascinated to learn that these eels can breathe air, and therefore can live at least 35 hours out of water, provided they are in a moist environment.

Exploring tide pools with kids. Do you see the well-camouflaged crab?

This crab is really well camouflaged! Can you find it? Staying still and watching a single tide pool is a great way to see animals that you would have missed otherwise.

Exploring tide pools with kids. The beauty of no-carry-out rules is that you find untouched shell collections like this.

You aren’t allowed to remove anything from the Fitgerald Marine Reserve. This protects marine life and vegetation and keeps the reserve looking the way it should look naturally. It also means that you can find incredible collections of beautiful rocks and shells to admire – and you can take stunning photographs to keep forever!

Exploring tide pools is a wonderful life science lesson for all ages! Take photos and research your finds when you get home!

Have you gone tide pool exploring with your kids? This was our first time, but we will definitely go again!

Books About Tide Pools

Here are some great books about tide pools that you can read no matter where you live! This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.

Do you know of a book that I should add to my list?

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MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

13 thoughts on “Exploring Tide Pools: Fitzgerald Marine Reserve”

  1. I always loved tide pools as kids, and you’re right going to them is a great way to see some amazing things and a great opportunity to see nature. Sadly none of the beaches in Texas really have tide pools that I’ve seen.

  2. Elisa | blissfulE

    What a wonderful outing! The terrain looks like it could be on another planet. What a perfect place to learn the rewards of patient observation!

  3. ps I can not say my kids LOVED reading the books. They loved the tidepools and thought I was a totally lame mom for making them read the books but eventually I managed to sneak in the books into their night time reading. I cannot say for sure if they retained anything from it though they still love to play in tidepools!

  4. Another book idea: Pagoo by Holling C. Holling. It looked dull at first, but by the first chapter my kids (11-3) were hooked. It tells the story of a hermit crab and tidal pools in a lovely way with great illustrations.

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