I recently shared details of a family weekend getaway to Trinidad in Humboldt County. The short road trip provided us an opportunity to get away from the burdens of work and household chores, learn more about the local history, and explore the tide pools and sandy beaches of Northern California.
A trip to the coast is not complete without a visit to the beach. We chose Trinidad State Park and we were not disappointed. While some of the critters we encountered were familiar to us — Ochre Star (Pisaster ochraceus), Giant Green Anemone (Anthopleura xanthogrammica), and the California Mussel (Mytilus californianus) — others were new discoveries, at least for the kids.I was delighted to introduce them to Purple Olive Snail (Olivella biplicata) and the Pacific Mole Crab (Emerita analoga). These are two of my favorite invertebrates and they make their home in the dynamic, ever changing sandy beaches of the Pacific coast.
Enjoy this free scavenger hunt to guide you on your discovery of the invertebrates and other common inhabitants on the beaches of the Pacific coast.
Every time we go to the shore, I spend time looking for these critters – the kids had always told me to give in for I hadn’t been successful in their lifetime. I’m happy that I persisted. They, too, can now share in my enthusiasm. I also now know that a low tide is critical to finding these elusive fellows.
As you and your children enjoy your own discoveries, engage them in a guided discussion as they share their observations. Keep these questions in mind:
- What other invertebrates can you find on the sandy beaches?
- How are these animals adapted to life here in the ever changing, shifting sand?
- What predators might feed on these animals?
- How do they protect themselves?