Events planned to celebrate Underwater Parks Day in SLO County

newsroom@thetribunenews.comJanuary 15, 2014 

Elephant seals cover the beach near the Piedras Blancas lighthouse Thursday, Jan. 2.


A nature walk and scavenger hunt are among the family-friendly, educational events planned Saturday for Underwater Parks Day.

Created in 2009, Underwater Parks Day celebrates the coastal marine protected areas along California’s coast.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Friends of the Elephant Seal will offer interactive children’s activities, snacks and an information table at the elephant seal rookery at 250 San Simeon Ave., along Highway 1 in Piedras Blancas. The free event includes a one-mile interpretive hike led by Bette Bardeen, starting at 1 p.m. about a tenth of a mile north of the main parking area.

Starting Wednesday, an Underwater Parks Day photography exhibit will be held at the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History, 20 State Park Road in Morro Bay, in collaboration with the Central Coast State Parks Association.

Other activities at the museum, which is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, include a touch tank exhibit. Museum admission is $3 for adults; children 16 and under get in free.

Families also can participate in a free "Junior Scientist" scavenger hunt from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday along the Point Buchon Trail, located at the southernmost end of Pecho Valley Road in Montaña de Oro State Park. After searching for marine mammals and birds, they can pick up a prize at the trail attendant station.

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