The more we see animals in the wild the less we enjoy seeing them in cages. Even the wonderfully clean and professionally administered San Diego Zoo left us feeling a bit sad when we originally visited it seven years ago. Now that we’re back in the area, we have no plans to return.
Nor do we intend to visit SeaWorld even though it sits just six short miles from our San Diego campground. Ubiquitous advertisements beckoning us with images of trained dolphins and whales literally jumping through hoops for humans only reinforce our disinterest in a theme park constructed around captured creatures. Fortunately, we found an alternative.
More than 80 years ago a philanthropist commissioned a sea wall to protect a small section of the La Jolla coast from the relentlessly powerful Pacific waves. For its first six decades the wall served its original purpose by creating a calm beach for area children. In recent years, though, growing populations of seals and sea lions have discovered this section of sun-soaked sand and have now basically claimed La Jolla’s Children’s Pool Beach as their own.
A thin rope barrier on the beach mostly separates the 200 or so wild seals that frequent Children’s Pool from the paparazzi-like tourists who congregate to ogle them frolicking in the water or, more commonly, lazily basking in the sun. Visitors during “pupping season” (from mid-January through mid-April) also have the opportunity to see fresh litters of baby seals, beautifully new-born and delightfully free. A sight not even SeaWorld can top.