This city-owned aquarium is the smaller, older, low-tech cousin of Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific. It’s also a lot lighter on your wallet and less overwhelming for small children. Spiky urchins, slippery sea cucumbers, magical jellyfish and other local denizens will bring smiles to even the most iPad-jaded youngster.

Naturalists lead rambles around the rocky tide pools and salt marshes, and organize all sorts of other educational programs, including grunion watches (April to July). The curvaceous rocky breakwater, swatch of golden sand and deep, green sea out front aren’t bad, either.

Parking is $1 per hour.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

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