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Featured Review
Point Vicente Interpretive Center
The entrance area has some whales and related bones suspended from the ceiling. 6.83 California ratingStar
Point Vicente Interpretive Center guyonthego

The Point Vicente Interpretive Center is a free history and nature museum focused on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Historical exhibits include the first Indian inhabitants, early ranching and farming enterprises as well as the residential development of the peninsula in the twentieth century. The center is located right on the coast and a number of displays pertain to sea life such as whales, sharks and tide pools. A park around the visitor center is used for picnicking and recreation, especially on weekends. Whale watching is popular here in winter and spring.

The center opened in 1984. It was expanded and modernized in 2006 and is now approximately 10,000 square feet. The main museum exhibits are shown more of less in a historical manner, starting with some Indian mannequins, followed by ranching and farming exhibits, and displays on the whaling industry. A small viewing area has a number of short videos on such topics as whales, tide pools, Indians and the history of the area. There also was information about Marineland of the Pacific, which was an ocean-based attraction similar to SeaWorld.

The visit was planned, but this was more of an afterthought than a prime destination. It was a clear day and views of nearby Catalina Island were impressive. While many people come here to watch migrating whales in winter and spring, the center was still moderately crowded on a weekend in August. As both a free museum and one with a local focus, your expectations should be commensurate with the type of place and nature of the content. The good news is that the museum can be seen quickly in an hour or more substantively in two hours, so even if you are not thrilled with the displays, a visit here won’t eat up much time. While the exhibits were reasonably interesting, they will have more appeal to the intellectually curious and "museum types" rather than a casual tourist or kids. The movie/video options should be more popular though. It's probably best when visiting the center to skim the main museum exhibits and then to watch a couple videos on topics of interest. The center staff were very nice and also helpful in answering questions. A free naturalist led hike is available on a monthly basis. If you are into lighthouses, the Point Vicente Lighthouse next-door is open once per month for visits.
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September 2022
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