This SoCal aquarium wants to see your ‘Sunsational Sandcastles'

The Roundhouse Aquarium's annual online contest is on; build your masterpiece at your favorite beach then share a snapshot.

Pam McLean

What to Know

  • The Roundhouse Aquarium's "Sunsational Sandcastles" contest is open
  • $30 entry fee; enter your castle online through Aug. 1 (money raised helps the Manhattan Beach oceanic institute); sandcastles may be built anywhere, from a beach to a local sandbox
  • Online voting will take place Aug. 7-14, 2023

While we can construct all sorts of fairytale-ish buildings at home with the aid of wood blocks, clay, or other around-the-house objects, creating a stunning structure near the surf is an entirely different pursuit.

Call it beach-itecture or damp-itecture, if you like, or sandscrapers if you prefer your ocean-adjacent creations to be on the taller side.

However you approach castles fashioned from sand, water, and imagination, consider this: There are quirky contests that celebrate sandy-handed architects, including the Sunsational Sandcastles competition helmed by the Roundhouse Aquarium in Manhattan Beach.

You don't need to make for the pier-based place o' fishery and fun, though that is always recommended if you want to learn more about the Pacific Ocean.

Rather, you are invited to build your foam-close fantasia on any stretch of beach or even in your yard, a local park, or a sandbox.

After you've completed your masterpiece, you'll submit a photo to the online contest.

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You may enter online through Aug. 1, for a fee of $30 (yep, this money helps the aquarium). Voting will take place from Aug. 7 through 14.

Past awards have included "We Otter Stick Together" — that one is for team spirit — and the High Tide Award (that is for the best overall entry).

Grocery store and restaurant gift cards have been among the past prizes, sweet.

Reading up on the rules is a must before reaching for your favorite hand tools and the natural objects you'd like to incorporate. Important to know? Sand and water are the permitted materials, so that is a solid starting point.

Or "unsolid" is more apt. But isn't the sandcastle's famous brevity part of its enduring charm? We're asked to enjoy it in the moment, an important reminder that applies to so many parts of life.

Find out more about submitting your gloriously gritty work of architectural art at the Sunsational Sandcastles page now.

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