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

  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Jail Weddings: Their New Video, and Tour Dates

    In the Village Voice's most recent Pazz and Jop critics poll, I called local psychedelic garage act Jail Weddings' latest album Meltdown: A Declaration of Unpopular Emotion the best album of 2013.  Well, now it's 2014 and the fun - if you can call such heavy music fun - hasn't stopped. Below, West...
  • Psycho

    @ Sunnyside Cemetery
  • Following Shark Attack, Should L.A. Pier Fishing Be Banned? 23

    Animal rights group PETA is asking Manhattan Beach officials to make their temporary pier fishing ban permanent. Amen. The temporary ban was enacted following Saturday's shark attack on a swimmer. The shark had been on a fisherman's hook for as many as 40 minutes and was likely agitated as a...

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets

Slideshows

  • Here's What Happens When President Obama Comes to L.A.
    President Obama came to town again to rake in some funds and clog some traffic. The only view of his visit you probably saw were the brake lights of the car ahead of you in the traffic jam he caused, but here's what was really going on. All photos by Ted Soqui.
  • 21st Annual Classic Cars "Cruise Night" in Glendale
    On Saturday, spectators of all ages were out in multitudes on a beautiful summer night in Glendale to celebrate the 21st annual Cruise Night. Brand Boulevard, one of the main streets through downtown Glendale, was closed to traffic and lined with over 250 classic, pre-1979 cars. There was plenty of food to be had and many of the businesses on Brand stayed open late for the festivities The evening ended with fireworks and a 50th anniversary concert from The Kingsmen, who performed their ultimate party hit, "Louie, Louie." All photos by Jared Cowan.
  • The World Cup Celebrated And Mourned By Angelenos
    The World Cup has taken Los Angeles by storm. With viewings beginning at 9 a.m., soccer fans have congregated at some of the best bars in the city including The Village Idiot, Goal, The Parlour on Melrose, Big Wang's and more. Whether they're cheering for their native country, favorite players or mourning the USA's loss, Angelenos have paid close attention to the Cup, showing that soccer is becoming more than a fad. All photos by Daniel Kohn.