What to Know
- 20612 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach
- Open daily; advance reservations are required
- Your 20-minute visit to the Visitor Yard is free; donations are welcome
"SEAL THE DEAL," to many nature lovers calling upon the ocean, means just one thing: They'd love to see a seal or a sea lion frolicking out in the waves, or sunning on a dock, or raising a little noise as they flop upon a sand-toasty stretch of beach. But sealing this particular deal isn't always a given, even if you regularly frequent the Big Blue. Seals and sea lions have their own lives to lead, their own pinnipedian plans to heed, and the locations they'll choose to spend time, which means that we humans shouldn't count on encountering one, though we might wish very much to do so (from a respectful distance, of course). But there is a place, in...
LAGUNA BEACH... that is known for serving as a care-filled though temporary home for many of the open water's whisker-laden luminaries. It's the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, which "... rescues, rehabilitates and releases marine mammals and inspires ocean stewardship through research, education, and collaboration." Part of its educational mission is to welcome the public for a closer look, and the center is again doing so, as of March 8, 2021, in its visitor yard (it had closed, temporarily, as a pandemic-related safety measure).
YOU'LL NEED TO MAKE A RESERVATION, which you can do from the center's site, and you'll want to plan for a 20-minute visit to the outdoor area, which provides a view to some of the animals convalescing at the center (as of this typing, there are 33 marine mammals on the property). It's free to visit, but donations are welcome. And adding to the info-rich experience? There's a docent on-hand, ready to offer details on the center's half-century-long commitment to aiding our flippered friends. For more information, and to book your spot, waddle on your own flippers to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center site now.