Best Place to Pet a Shark | Features | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
Loading...

Best Place to Pet a Shark 

Wednesday, Oct 4 2006
Comments
{mosimage}Exactly 353 paces down the planks of Manhattan Beach Pier sits the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium, which is as big as the average two-bedroom apartment in Hollywood. But that’s the beauty of it. With the prodigious Long Beach and Monterey Bay aquariums relatively nearby, the Roundhouse is a low-key alternative that is peaceful, intimate and easy to navigate. Come prepared to get your hands wet; the kid-friendly touch tanks are the facility’s biggest draw, featuring starfish and anemones (neither of which feel like you think they might). Small sharks are occasionally available for petting, as well. A 3,500-gallon shark tank houses stealthy leopard sharks up to 5 feet long, and an 18-pound, 50-year-old lobster named Spike, who, like most Pacific lobsters, is clawless. Many of the animals are shy, so it’s worth a second (or sixth) look to discover who was hiding. The aptly named two-spot octopus plays hard to get. The ray petting pool appears oddly devoid of thornback, shovelnose-guitar and bat rays until feeding time, when they shimmy out from under the sand for a meal.

Fishing is permitted off the pier, but you’ll have to look to the history books to see photos of big catches being hauled from these waters, as they were in the 1920s. And if you just want to catch a glimpse, there’s a fair amount of dolphin traffic off the coast here, and gray whales pass through between November and March. Most of the flora and fauna in the Roundhouse tanks are native to Santa Monica Bay; many of the species come from right below the pier. And, though one moray eel has stuck around for 15 years, most residents of the Roundhouse don’t stay as long; animals are released back into the ocean, where maybe they’re telling stories about us. Shark feeding time is on Saturdays at 12:30 p.m.; classes and camps are available. Suggested donation is $2 to $4.



Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium at the end of the Manhattan Beach pier, (310) 379-8117 or www.roundhouseaquarium.org

Related Stories

  • The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Week

    Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar! Monday, September 1 Long Beach Funk Fest THE QUEEN MARY Each summer, the Long Beach Funk Fest lands in the heart of the city and unloads several decades of funk founders and fundamentalists — recently including Shuggie Otis, Charles Watt,...
  • DUI Alert

    It's your traditional summer kick-off, and you've purchased eight cases of beer to celebrate. Fine. Just don't get behind the wheel. As it is, it's way too easy for cops to ensnare drunk drivers on holiday weekends. In fact, it's so easy police are even telling you pretty much exactly...
  • What the Hell Is a Book Bar? Soon There Might Be One in Long Beach 2

    Long Beach’s newest bar, The Brass Lamp, won’t really be a bar at all — at least not in the traditional senses of the word. It’s not a dive bar where the well drinks are over-poured and there’s still carpet on the walls. It’s not a sports bar lined with...
  • Tragedy Is at the Heart of Namebrand's No-Frills Hip-Hop

    Suicide City steeled Namebrand. Your GPS knows it as the east side of Long Beach, but computerized directions can’t fathom the clan warfare that has raged there since long before Snoop Dogg introduced the world to the LBC. “Gangbanging is like suicide or Russian roulette — once you’ve made that...
  • Best Guitar Repair Shops 4

    Not so careful with that ax, Eugene? In a city that probably has more total guitarists than anywhere else on Earth, a good, reputable guitar shop is a major necessity, and not always easy to find. Here's an overview of some of the better guitar techs, luthiers, and repair shops...

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets