An area of rocky shore along the California Coast
NOAA / Barbara Taylor NMFS/SWFSC/PRD

Rocky Shore

You might think rocky shore life is a beach. But plants and animals there often deal with pounding waves, constant fights for space and hot, dry hours out of water. Over time, living things on the rocky shore have adapted to cope with these extremes. Come discover how life fits in on the rocky shore. This exhibit features live animals like sea stars, anemones, sea urchins, limpets and more!

Exhibit Highlights

  • Touch tank exhibit in the Rocky Shore area

    Touch Tank

    Get a closer look at rocky shore organisms such as sea stars, limpets, sea urchins, anemones and more. Is that crazy creature a plant or an animal—or neither? How does it eat? A friendly Science Center educator will answer your questions as you peer into the touch tank, or even touch a creature or two.

  • Be a Barnacle exhibit in the Rocky Shore area

    Be a Barnacle

    On the rocky shore, many organisms are stuck to the rocks to keep from being washed away by the waves, so they have to snag their food as it floats by. Some grab a meal with their legs, and others by filtering the water. See how it feels to be a barnacle as you try to catch ping-pong "prey" in this fun exhibit.

  • Standing Up to Waves exhibit in Rocky Shore

    Standing Up to Waves

    Rocky shore organisms have adapted lots of different ways to hang on in the waves. Seaweeds hook on, barnacles and limpets stick with special glue, sea stars and abalone grab on with suction cups, and mussels cling with tight threads. Even an organism's size and shape can help determine how well it survives the surf. Experiment to see which shapes don't let go in the flow by dousing some with water.

  • Mixing and Mating exhibit in Rocky Shore

    Mixing and Mating

    When animals are stuck to the shore, mixing and mating becomes a unique challenge. Most animals release millions of eggs or sperm into the water, hoping they'll find a match as they float. Others have more unusual solutions. Check out the rocky shore personal ads to find out how shore creatures come together.

  • View through Fish Tails Tell Tales periscope

    Fish Tails Tell Tales

    Over time, living things adapt to their surroundings. By taking a peek at a fish's shape, you can find out a lot about how it gets its food. Find out about the special body shapes and features of fish that are fast hunters, sneaky predators, zigzag swimmers or space invaders, and then see if you can spot each type of fish in our big tank.