The pools of water that collect in rocky hollows along the seashore can be a great place for kids to enjoy a close-up view of ocean life-like the creatures listed below. If you're lucky enough to spot one, be sure to follow tide-pooling protocol: look but don't touch.
SEA CUCUMBERS: These knobby, oblong critters range in hue from gray to rose and tend to burrow under sand.
SEA URCHINS: Algae are the favorite food of these colorful porcupine creatures.
SAND DOLLARS: Adorned with star-shaped imprints, these disks can often be found lining the bottom of tide pools.
HERMIT CRABS: To protect their soft bellies, these crabs move into the shells of snails and other animals, sometimes pulling out the former resident first.
BARNACLES: These crusty creatures rely on their feathery feet to kick food particles through the valved openings of their bodies.
STARFISH: With their suction-cup-lined arms, starfish handily pry open the shells of the clams on which they feed.
SPONGES: One of the most primitive sea animals, a sponge sifts food from the water that flows through it.