San Pedro sea show

Dive into science at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
Wendy O'Dea

It's not every day you can view life from a worm's point of view. But at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium's recently opened Exploration Center in San Pedro, children and adults can "be the worm" meandering through an oversize simulated mudflat. If that doesn't grab you, wander into the "crawl-under tank" and observe sea life swirling about you. The interactive Exploration Center is part of a $10 million expansion, the first major addition since the aquarium moved to its current location in 1981. The new building also houses an Aquatic Nursery, in which docents guide you through four aquaculture areas where fish, invertebrates, and the single-cell organisms that start the ocean food chain are raised; the nursery uses the creatures for research and for feeding the rest of the lab�s sea life. "This is a place where we grow young sea animals and young scientists," says exhibits director Mike Schaadt.

Visitors can also wander to neighboring Cabrillo Beach to explore the tidepools, mudflats, and salt marsh, an experience that lets young and old get their feet wet. Literally.

INFO: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (12-5 Tue-Fri, 10-5 Sat-Sun; $5 donation requested, $1 donation children and seniors; 3720 Stephen White Dr., San Pedro; www.cabrilloaq.org or 310/548-7562)