Another weekend just passed and another little adventure with my little family. This time we headed down, way down, to Point Loma in San Diego. We decided to check out Cabrillo National Monument, which is a National Park in San Diego. We have never gone there before and were really excited to see the tide pools and check out the old lighthouse.
Cabrillo National Monument
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr
San Diego, CA 92106
Cabrillo features a visitor center filled with the history of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (the first European explorer to set foot on the West Coast of the United States), Tide Pools, Whale Watching lookout, Historic Lighthouse, and trails for hiking. Admission to the Park is $5 per car and it grants your vehicle entrance for 6 days. The National Monument is open 364 days a year from 9am to 5pm, only closed on Christmas Day-December 25th.
The Visitor Center is located shortly after entering Cabrillo National Monument. It consists of a couple small buildings and some outdoor information along with the statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. We didn’t happen to catch a showing in the auditorium, but we were able to explore everything else at the Visitor Center. We first walked through the small museum before going into the bookstore. There was even artifacts inside the bookstore to view and even some were hands on.
We stopped by the visitor desk inside the bookstore to get information on the Junior Ranger program. This is a FREE program for children at National Parks. For the Cabrillo National Monument there is a special “news paper” that your child gets at the visitor desk and depending on their grade level. The “news paper” has your child fill out sections based on certain areas around the visitor center and extending to the Light House and Whale Watching point. After my daughter completed this, a Ranger looked over her answers and then had her take the Junior Ranger Pledge. Right after the pledge the Ranger awarded her with a Junior Ranger pin! Many National Parks offer this program so be sure to stop by their visitor centers and take part.
Old Point Loma Lighthouse and Whale Watching Lookout
The Old Point Loma Lighthouse was just short walk up hill from the Visitor Center. The Lighthouse was only in service for 36 years, it’s location was originally thought to be ideal but that was not the case. The house has been restored to look like it did during the 1880’s. It’s like a taking a walk back it time when going through the lighthouse. The lighthouse assistants house directly next door is filled with information about West Coast lighthouses and how lighthouses work. My daughter liked walking through the lighthouse and seeing all the historic items and furniture. She had a great time in the assistants house seeing how the tower in a lighthouse operates.
The Whale Watching Outlook gave breathtaking views. The outlook is the perfect spot to catch a glimpse of whales during migration season. There was also diagrams and pictures with information about the kelp forest. As well as a painting and model of a whales spine to get an idea of the size of whales that are spotted from the lookout.
I have to say the Tide Pools were my favorite part of Cabrillo National Monument. They were the reason we wanted to go check the park out. We ended up also enjoying the Visitor Center and learning the history of the landmark, as well as taking a step into the past through the Lighthouse. But exploring the Tide Pools was so much fun. I will warn though that they can be dangerous and tricky for children. Wear shoes with good grip as the rocks and paths can be covered with algae. It is a climb down to get to the bottom to the pools. There is also areas where the rocks can be sharp I suggest a good pair of water shoes. Both of my kiddos had a blast finding all the different colors and sizes of crabs that were there. My son took a little dip in the water, so remember to bring some towels and extra clothes for little ones.
We spoke with a Ranger before heading down towards the Pools. He talked with my kids about the Pools, animals and plants they may see and how to be respectful to them. He let my little one get a closer look at some shells that were found there and some “animals” to be on the look out for.
Just a friendly reminder before heading down towards the Tide Pools.No collecting is allowed at this Park.
Take a trip and check out all this National Park has to offer!