Sea lions and seals are on the mend at this marine mammal rescue center—the first of its kind in the state of California.
In fact, it was founded before the federal government’s Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. The center’s rescue efforts date back to 1971, when Jim Stauffer, a Newport Beach lifeguard, discovered an ailing sea lion on the beach and nursed it back to health at home. After that, local lifeguards started contacting Stauffer whenever they found an injured seal or sea lion.
Today, the center is housed in a building at the foot of Laguna Canyon Hills, alongside a waterway that leads to the ocean. Inside, you can see the seals and sea lions that have been rescued between Seal Beach, south of Long Beach, and San Onofre, just north of San Diego County. They are recovering from any number of maladies—from dehydration to shark bites, fish hook injuries to respiratory infections. (Check the center’s web site to see the current list of residents, which are given names like Whiskers, Avocado, and Syrah). You can also spend time by the pool, watching seals and sea lions that are feeling better—and are almost ready to head back to the wild—play in the sunshine.
Stroll along the banks of the waterway, and you’ll see other, non-marine critters in a butterfly garden stocked with cassia, California fuchsia, and white yarrow.
Whether it’s manicured beach towns or celebrated theme parks, all framed by oceanfront towns and luxury yachts, “The OC” stands out as one of the state’s most iconic destinations. The always-amazing Disneyland Resort, roughly a 1-hour drive south of L.A. and 2 hours north of San Diego, continues to be one of the best-loved theme parks in the world, while Knott’s Berry Farms and other OC attractions amp up the fun metre.
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