A series of low tides starting Friday will make a good opportunity to explore South Sound beaches.
The tides, reaching their lowest late in the morning and then into the afternoon, will be low enough to reveal plenty of marine life at locations such as Titlow Beach in Tacoma and Priest Point Park in Olympia,
Other good locations in the South Sound to explore when the tide is out include the Fox Island bridge, Kopachuck State Park and Penrose Point State Park in the Gig Harbor area, Quartermaster Harbor on Vashon Island, Sunnyside Beach Park in Steilacoom, Burfoot Park in Olympia and Tolmie State Park north of Lacey.
While some of these locations offer free access, visitors to state parks must have a Discover Pass ($10 a day or $30 a year), and there is a $5 parking fee for nonresidents at Sunnyside Beach.
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Organized programs: If you don’t want to explore on your own, there are several South Sound organizations that host low tide programs during the spring and summer.
Metro Parks Tacoma will hold its first “Tiptoe Through the Tidepools” program of the season from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Titlow Park, 8425 Sixth Ave., Tacoma. Families can explore the beach and learn about tide pool life. Additional programs will be June 5, July 5 and Aug. 1. For more information on the free program, contact 253-591-6439 or tacomanaturecenter.org.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium will hold its “Explore the Shore” programs beginning June 6. These are walks along the Owen Beach shore at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma. The guided walks last about two hours. You can get more information at pdza.org/explore-shore.
The “Meet at the Beach” program offered by the South Sound Estuary Association will begin June 4-5 and run through August. Volunteer beach naturalists will be stationed at several Olympia-area beaches. Go to sseacenter.org for the schedule and locations.
Harbor WildWatch holds guided beach walks in the Gig Harbor area, including at Kopachuck, Penrose Point and Joemma Beach state parks. The walks are scheduled to begin June 5 at Kopachuck and Penrose Point and run through mid-August. Learn more at harborwildwatch.org.
Beach behavior: Should you decide to visit a beach, keep these tidepool etiquette tips in mind, especially if you take young children along:
▪ Watch where you step. Try to avoid stepping on eelgrass beds, which are nearshore nurseries for many animals.
▪ Don’t pull on animals such as anemones or barnacles that are tightly attached to rocks or pilings.
▪ Touch animals gently with one wet finger.
▪ If you move rocks to look underneath, gently put them back the way they were.
▪ Don’t take away rocks, shells, seaweed, logs and other beach items. These provide food and shelter for many of the creatures you’ll see.
▪ Families should bring extra clothes and sanitizing wipes for young explorers. Parents of toddlers can count on their children slipping and falling in the muck, so having a spare outfit ready is a good idea.
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640
Low tide times
Tacoma Narrows: Friday, 11:39 a.m., -1.7 feet; Saturday, 12:23 p.m., -2.4 feet; Sunday, 1:08 p.m., -2.9 feet; Monday, 1:54 p.m., -2.7 feet; Tuesday, 2:43 p.m., -2 feet.
Boston Harbor: Friday, 12:13 p.m., -1.9 feet; Saturday, 12:57 p.m., -2.6 feet; Sunday, 1:42 p.m., -3.1 feet; Monday, 2:28 p.m., -2.8 feet; Tuesday, 3;17 p.m., -2.2 feet.