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Marineland of the Pacific. Palos Verdes, CA.

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Jan. 11th, 2006 | 09:14 pm
posted by: lawr_rawr in abandonedplaces

Marineland of the Pacific was an aquarium on the Palos Verdes peninsula (south of Los Angeles, north of Long Beach). At the time of its opening in 1954, it was the largest oceanarium in the world. The park closed in 1987.

The ruins of Marineland will soon be replaced by a "luxury resort." I visited this location a few times last summer, but as of September, construction crews surrounded the few remaining structures. I imagine most of this is gone by now...



The first structures visible from the parking lot are part of the Marineland Inn. This round building is the motel office.



Each of the 10 rooms faces the ocean.


The doors and windows have long been boarded up, but the view is still amazingly detailed.


Designed by William Pereira, the Marineland Restaurant and Porpoise Room (bar/lounge) consists of two connected circular buildings.





At the front of the park, this may've been where visitors queued to enter.



Continuing along the winding path...


An owl! (Not something I see very often in LA)


Across an empty field, a building containing machinery and sinks/troughs.


And an office with a stylish chair.


Random electrical equipment.


The most interesting part of the park was the imitation reef, where visitors could don flippers and swim with sea creatures, or simply observe them safely from behind glass or above the surface.







Steps to enter/exit the reef.


These were made of concrete and fiberglass.


In the changing-room near the reef.


Looking through the changing-room toward a booth containing a very large grill. (Marineland -- where you can watch the whales and eat them, too!)


The Cliffside Theater appeared to be newer than the rest of the buildings.





I'm not sure why this building's roof says "GOLF". It was surrounded by swarming bees, so I didn't get close enough to investigate further.



A view from the edge of the cliff.


Looking back toward the theater.


I loved the design of this water fountain, but didn't quite capture the shapes and angles in the photo.


And finally, the entrance to the parking lot.


View larger images on my flickr set.

Marineland Links:
Marineland of the Pacific Historical Society
Article about Marineland's history

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Comments {25}

Lori

(no subject)

from: nemesisn72
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 06:28 am (UTC)
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wow, that looks like it would have been an amazing place when it was open...it's a shame it closed

great pictures :)

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hurricane kelsey

(no subject)

from: iamkat
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 06:42 am (UTC)
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that's so cool.

like... yeah. wow.

again, wish I could find cool stuff like this

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la isla

(no subject)

from: bleach_blonde
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 06:43 am (UTC)
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What great photos! I'd love to see photos of that reef in it's hey-day, looks like it was a really neat place. Thanks for sharing.

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Qlarue

(no subject)

from: qlarue
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 06:57 am (UTC)
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I was thinking that too.

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la isla

(no subject)

from: bleach_blonde
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 07:42 am (UTC)
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I tried googling it but with no luck... only found an aerial view of the place :-/

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JJ_MacCrimmon

(no subject)

from: jj_maccrimmon
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 02:55 pm (UTC)
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I've been searching for weeks now and had no luck.

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(no subject)

from: lawr_rawr
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 06:39 pm (UTC)
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I haven't been able to find any photos of the reef, either. I've been searching eBay for Marineland memorabilia. There are a bunch of old postcards, mostly of the whales and whale tanks. I saw a few of the restaurant.

This site has a brochure from the '80s describing the attractions:
http://themepark.sitesbyrob.com/galleries/marine.htm

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JJ_MacCrimmon

(no subject)

from: jj_maccrimmon
date: Jan. 13th, 2006 03:22 am (UTC)
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Photos 9 thru 13 are from the reef area. Sadly, from what you're saying and others have noted, the site may be completely gone now. I can't make it out there Saturday as it is now (weather and personal issues), so I'm waiting to do this recon trip perhaps Sunday the 22nd.

Humorously enough, I may also pay a visit to Palos Verdes city hall and the maintenance yard. The city hall site used to be the fire control and radar site for the NIKE missile battery there from the 60's. The MX yard, used to be the launch facilities.

Thank you for the info and the research and local information you've offered up. It's been hugely appreciated.

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(no subject)

from: ophelia_85
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 06:48 am (UTC)
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It reminds me of the Life Aquatic, somehow...

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Happy Accidents

(no subject)

from: cosmiccircus
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 07:22 am (UTC)
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I remember that place, but I assumed they demolished it years ago... I'm so bummed I never visited it when it was like this!

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(no subject)

from: lawr_rawr
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC)
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The motel buildings are to the left of the fenced-off park. Those are probably still there... There's a public path down to the water; apparently it's a good place for scuba diving.

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Qlarue

(no subject)

from: qlarue
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 09:13 am (UTC)
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Did you happen to notice how thick the broken glass by the reef was? It looks really think in the pictures but I was just wondering if it caught your attention.

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(no subject)

from: lawr_rawr
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 05:58 pm (UTC)
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Quite thick, probably about an inch thick. Imagine the force needed to smash that glass! Some of the viewing windows were broken, but some were complete. I'm not sure if they were glass or plastic, though.

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Darcy

(no subject)

from: drellakowalski
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 10:15 am (UTC)
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Oh wow, what an amazing place! Thanks for sharing:)

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Bast

(no subject)

from: maubast
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 11:32 am (UTC)
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Nifty cool!

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loli_cat

(no subject)

from: loli_cat
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 12:59 pm (UTC)
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I remember visiting that Marineland in 1975. So now it's closed... (sigh)

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perfectly sane cat lady *twitch*

(no subject)

from: monsterbrain
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 01:29 pm (UTC)
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Very cool! Sad to see it run down and know it's gone.

I'm not sure I understand what I'm looking at in the shot with the door and seaweed/fish. Is that painted on the glass of the door, or are we seeing something inside the building?

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(no subject)

from: lawr_rawr
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC)
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Originally, that side of the motel must've been all glass doors and windows. The glass was boarded over with the fish-painted stuff you see. I'm not sure if those were murals from somewhere else, or why the plywood would be painted on its reverse side like that. From the outside, it was simply beige-painted wood.

There were a lot of murals at Marineland originally:
http://www.seekingcenter.com/humble/marineland/ofthepacific.html
Maybe they re-used wood from other parts of the park when they boarded up the motel? I'd love to know why...

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perfectly sane cat lady *twitch*

(no subject)

from: monsterbrain
date: Jan. 13th, 2006 12:14 am (UTC)
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Thanks for explaining! :)

There's something very cool/creepy about looking through the darkness behind the glass to find colorful, happy images of animal life. Maybe something to do with the fish being behind glass, reminiscent of an aquarium... It's like the fish have been abandoned, and they've been waiting in the darkness for years for someone to enjoy looking at them again.

Thanks for posting these pics!

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JJ_MacCrimmon

(no subject)

from: jj_maccrimmon
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 02:53 pm (UTC)
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Very very cool shots. Sadly the development company is ignoring all my attempts to contact them (big surprise - not), so I'll recon the site in the next few days or weeks depending on the weather.

The whole story behind the closing of this place is so sad and sucks so much. The company that bough and promptly closed them ruined more than a few really good parks around the country. Marineland was only one of them.

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(no subject)

from: lawr_rawr
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
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Yes, well, the development company is selling timeshares for 2 million plus, so I doubt they care about what they're replacing.

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JJ_MacCrimmon

(no subject)

from: jj_maccrimmon
date: Jan. 13th, 2006 03:05 am (UTC)
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Wuhf.. 2 Million plus! That's prime relestate, but woah... They're trying to make back 10 years of non-use all at once.

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(no subject)

from: lawr_rawr
date: Jan. 13th, 2006 04:31 am (UTC)
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And that $2 million doesn't even get you a permanent residence!
http://www.hotel-online.com/News/2005_Nov_29/k.OCC.1133375547.html

Here's another advert for the development:
http://www.latimes.com/extras/newhomes/west/palosverde.html

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sukie

(no subject)

from: sukieseven
date: Jan. 12th, 2006 04:39 pm (UTC)
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that place is amazing! what a shame.

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Marineland

from: mmdenton
date: Oct. 14th, 2008 04:27 am (UTC)
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I was raised in Palos Verdes and worked at Marineland for 3 years in high school. I graduated in 1987... the year it closed.. we were grief stricken, to say the least. We had all grown up with the park and for HBJ (the publishing company that purchased it with promises of revamping) to close up shop was a shock. Did I mention they owned Sea World in San Diego at the time? Ya. They really wanted Orky and Corky (the 2 killer whales) and other animals for breeding purposes. It was awful.

Seeing the pictures is so sad. It was a beautiful park and the best job a high school kid could ever have. When all the guests were gone and it was closed, the trainers would let the dolphins out for a fun swim in their big tank. We would throw soccer and volleyballs across the pool and they would bring them and throw them back to us. Dolphin fetch. One of a gazillion great memories..

It was called "Baja Reef" and yes, it rocked. They had little sharks in it you swam with, also.

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