Channel Islands National Park: The Galápagos of North America

This is the perfect time of year to really get out there and explore all that California’s Central Coast has to offer. A perfect example? Channel Islands National Park.

Comprised of five islands known as “the Galápagos of North America,” Channel Islands National Park is a world apart. Despite the isolation that makes it one of the country’s least-visited national parks and that allows 2,000 plant and animal species to thrive (the cat-sized Island fox is one of 145 Channel Islands species found nowhere else in the world), some areas can be reached in an hour or less from Oxnard and Ventura with Island Packers. You can also travel to Santa Rosa Island on flights with Channel Islands Aviation.

For excellent introductions to the islands, stop at visitor centers in Ventura and Santa Barbara. The renovated Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center at Ventura Harbor features new interactive displays and a tidal pool exhibit with lobsters and sand sharks. Continue reading

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s New Exhibit

Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is getting some press about their new jellyfish exhibit opening March 31, 2012.

Whether you’re a sea creature fanatic or just appreciative of California wildlife, this exhibit is sure to please. Everyone will look forward to “The Jellies Experience” after reading a bit more from the article ‘What’s New on the Central Coast‘ by Christine Delsol,

Humpbacks Give Kayaker a Close-Up Encounter Off Santa Cruz

Whales Breaching by Kayaker in Santa Cruz

Local Santa Cruz photographer Paul Schraub, on assignment for the Santa Cruz County Convention and Visitors Council, captured this photo of spy hopping whales in the Monterey Bay on Tuesday. (Paul Schraub/Santa Cruz County CVC)

While working on a new marketing campaign Tuesday, a photographer for the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council captured this amazing image.

Paul Schraub was off the Seabright State Beach shoreline when he shot the photo of two humpback whales breaching next to a kayaker.

Christina Glynn explained, “The photo shoot was commissioned to bring attention to Santa Cruz as a unique location for meetings, retreats and the conference market.” Whale watching is just one of the unique opportunities available when booking your next event within such a biodiverse ecosystem as the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. Schraub was aboard a small boat operated by Pacific Yachting and Sailing out of the Santa Cruz harbor.

Whales have been observed being particularly active in the past week feeding on an abundance of anchovies off the coast.