The La Jolla Children’s Pool
The Children’s Pool in La Jolla is one of the most recognizable areas in La Jolla, and is actually steeped in rich history. Built in 1930, the structure was a gift from philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, and was originally meant to be a designated area for children. The seawall was built up to protecting swimming children from oncoming waves, making it a safe spot for kids to swim without any imminent danger. For nearly sixty years, the concrete wall was lauded as a “wonderful improvement” to the community, but by the 1990’s, it became embroiled in controversy.
By the 90s, a population of indigenous harbor seals began to inhabit the beach on the pool. By 1999, more than 100 seals had rested on the beach, prompting city officials to install a rope barrier to establish a boundary between swimmer and the seals. As the years passed, marine conservationists debated that the Children’s Pool should be closed and converted to a protected sanctuary for marine life. Others argued that the area was built to be a safe area for children to swim, and advocated that the local seal population be driven away.
Nowadays, the Children’s Pool has adopted a policy where the area is shared by both humans and seals. While swimmers are allowed to enter the water, it is generally advised against due to the water quality and safety concerns. The seals and sea lion population have generally become used to humans been around, but they are occasionally known to become aggressive and unpredictable if provoked. Nevertheless, it is still a popular destination for tourists and local San Diegans alike. It offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness the incredible marine life of the cove, in addition to having stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and sunsets.
If you’re thinking of visiting the Children’s Pool in La Jolla, here are a few thing you’ll need to know.
The Children’s Pool is closed to the public from December 15 to May 15, but you can still catch a glimpse from the distance along the seal wall. Parking is quite limited, and metered spots fill up quickly, but you can always park in downtown La Jolla and walk to the pool.
Expect a smell! The area is infamous for having a particularly ripe smell thanks to the hundreds of seals, uh, doing their business in ocean. But don’t worry, you will quickly adjust to it.
Be sure to maintain a level of respect for the marine life there. This applies to not intimidating the animals, picking up your trash, and refraining from feeding them.