Wriggle by a Grunion Run in San Pedro

The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium events are devoted to grunion info, and, fingers crossed, grunion sightings.

Steve Howard

What to Know

  • Select nights in the spring, starting on Monday, April 18
  • $7 adult, $3 student, $3 child, $3 senior; advance tickets available
  • A presentation and video will be followed by a visit to the nearby sand, to potentially see spawning grunion

Moments spent on the sand? Such times can seem more magical than experiences that take place pretty much anywhere else, for the beach, and our time spent at the ocean's edge, is always charged with a marvelous and mysterious feeling.

But even if we've spent months or years enjoying the beach, our sand-centered feelings grow more layered, complex, and joyous once we've witnessed thousands of silver-bright fishes scooching onto land with an urgent and express purpose: to spawn.

It's the grunion we're talking about here, a dweller of the water that, and we're not pulling anyone's fin here, periodically leaves its wet home for drier shores, all to ensure the creation of more grunion.

Seeing this? The sand you love will only seem more magical, surreal, and even ensorcelled.

There's no sorcery involved, however: It's science, and Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is ready to show fish fans and marine mavens just how and why the leuresthes tenuis wriggles onto certain beaches, on certain nights of the year, to keep the grunion line going strong.

"Meet the Grunion" is the name of the San Pedro institution's annual program, and it will wriggle back into our worlds, on a few select spring nights, beginning on Monday, April 18.

We know, that date is a Monday, and not a weekend, but ponder this for a moment: The grunion don't know what "Monday" is, and trying to explain it to them, as they busily spawn, is a task best left undone.

The informative events will happen when the grunion are expected to appear on the beach close to the aquarium, and the final grunion gathering is set for the middle of June.

The aquarium's FISH-TIVAL, which is a special version of "Meet the Grunion," complete with crafts, activities, and other happenings? That will flap its tail on the first day of June 2022.

Securing your ticket to any of the grunion-fun evenings is a smart idea, and reading up on all you need to know, like how warmly to dress, is also wise.

As for the grunion showing up? That's in nature's court, and up to the ancient cycles that whirr well beyond our human reach, which is a comfort.

So fingers and fins crossed you do get to see the fishes on the sand, if you attend one of these engaging evening events.

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