Children's Pool

Top choice wildlife reserve

in La Jolla
Jade Bremner

Built in the 1930s behind a wave-cutting seawall, La Jolla’s Children’s Pool was created as a family beach but has since been invaded by herds of seals and sea lions. Tourists come in droves to see them larking around, swimming, fighting and mating, viewed from the recently upgraded plaza above the cove.The pinnipeds don't seem to mind – but there's strictly no touching, feeding or selfies to be taken with the new residents.

The future of the seals remains in debate: divers and swimmers claim the mammals' presence increases bacteria levels in the water; animal-rights groups want to protect the cove and make it an official seal rookery. Except during pupping season (December 15 to May 15) swimming is technically allowed but not recommended because of the water quality and potentially aggressive animals.