Sunday, December 09, 2007

An educational day with Aunt J

We spent the day yesterday with Aunt J from Georgia who was in California for work. First we hit the Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz. During the winter over 100,000 monarch butterflies rest there. It's quite an amazing sight to see them fluttering around up high in the trees. But a harder sight to get a good picture of. But I did manage a few clear ones through the telescope someone had set up.

We couldn't leave without at least hitting the beach for a moment to take in the scenery and climb some rocks. It was surprisingly warm and sunny for December.

While there someone told us about a place down the road we had never heard of, The Seymore Marine Discovery Center. After stopping to get some Super Burritos for lunch we checked it out.

We found out it houses the largest complete skeleton on display anywhere, ever, of any kind. A blue whale, which we also found out is the largest animal on earth that has ever lived, even bigger than the dinosaurs were. There are only 4 blue whales on display in North America since they are deep water animals it is very rare their skeletons are found. But I also found out that there is virtually a grand canyon under the sea right off the Monterey Bay, which is really unique to have such deep water so close to a coast. How have I lived here this long and been to this beach so close so many times and not known this?

We learned all kinds of really interesting things, but before I bore you any longer with science, here is Olivia and daddy next to Ms. Blue. It actually makes me kinda sad because they think she recently gave birth and avoiding predators which explains why she was close enough to shore for her carcass be found, and weakened her enough to die because of the spent energy nursing. Her calf wouldn't have been able to survive without her and probably died too. :(

But on to a cheerier note, here is my little sea otter and octopus.

They also had tanks to touch live star fish and tanks with dolphins and seals they have in captivity for research we were able to see, and on a tour saw some sea lions in the ocean.

Overall, quite the educational day! It's cool we can learn so much when all we were trying to do was plan a fun day for Aunt J while she was here.

To wrap up the day we caught the Holiday Train that comes through the bay in December and went out for ice cream at Cold Stone, but I was way burned out for any more picture taking. ;)


Post a Comment

<< Home