|The breakwater that shelters Los Angeles Harbor also quiets the water at Cabrillo Beach. Despite its location on the edge of an industrial landscape, this beach is crowded even on weekdays when busloads of schoolchildren arrive on field trips. The Aquarium is the main attraction for wheelchair riders. The beach itself is small, but it makes a decent picnic spot. You can also fish from a pier off the breakwater.
CABRILLO MARINE AQUARIUM
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is what a school biology lab should be: an adventure. Life-size models and skeletons of whales and dolphins hang from the ceiling, and a wave tank shows how sand is pushed up onto the beach. Aquariums and touch tanks display marine life. Enthusiastic docentssome of whom are studentsencourage visitors to participate in the exhibits. The tidepool touch tank holds sea stars, anemones, urchins, and a leopard shark (out of reach). Be sure to check out the Aquaculture Research Lab, where Garibaldi (one of Californias state fish) are raised and jellyfish are hatched and raised on brine shrimp.
The Aquarium is interesting for people of all ages. Its especially great for wheelchair-riding children because the exhibits are at a kids eye level. Except for a long gradual slope from the ticket booth to the exhibit hall, wheelchair access is very easy.
Free parking with disabled placard, except weekends and holidays. Blue parking spaces are at the right side of the Aquarium. Aquarium restrooms have large accessible stalls, push-button faucets, and a baby-changing table in the womens room. Beach restrooms are smaller and less accessible.
CABRILLO BEACH AND FISHING PIER
The new Cabrillo Coastal Park Trail includes a fully accessible 300-foot boardwalk and over 1,200 feet of concrete trails. It leads from the aquarium to the tidepools at the Point Fermin Marine Life Refuge.
As you face the shore, the breakwater reaches out to the right, and Los Angeles Harbor is in view to the left. A concrete sidewalk runs along the edge of the parking lot (beware of the 12-inch drop-off between the pavement and the sand). Picnic tables and barbecues are on somewhat firm sand, and play structures are on soft sand. There are no access features across the sand to the water.
The sidewalk continues up onto the breakwater. Its steep for the first 400 feet, then flattens out. The fishing pier is a concrete platform on the breakwaters harbor side. Driving is an option: theres a parking lot on the breakwater near the pier.