Maureen Megowan's Blog



Marineland of the Pacific, which opened in 1954, for many years provided the primary tourist attraction in Rancho Palos Verdes. The attractions of Marineland included the 320-foot Skytower soaring into the blue ocean-side sky at the park's entrance, the splashy acrobatics of Orky and Corky the killer whales, Bubbles the pilot whale, and snorkeling the curved, faux-rocky recesses of Baja Reef amid rainbows of tropical fish. Marineland was only the second oceanarium in the United States when it opened to the public Aug. 28, 1954. The first was Marine Studios in Florida, which was originally built to photograph animals and simulate the ocean for motion pictures -- but soon became a major tourist attraction.

Marineland's first owner, Oceanarium Inc., owned by investment banker Henry Harris, hoped to capitalize on that popularity. On the cliffs overlooking the ocean, his team built two enormous oceanarium tanks -- both three stories tall -- a restaurant, a 12-unit motel, offices and laboratories.

 Marineland under construction

On the beach below, they built a 250-foot-long pier to help bring in the animals. In the late 1950's, the pier also provided coastal boat cruises, for an additional fee, that also provided whale watching off of the coast at certain times of the year.

1954 brochure ( see pictorial history of Marineland brochures ) Note that the map above does not have any freeways, which had not yet been built!

By opening day, the $3 million oceanarium had assembled the nation's largest collection of marine life -- sea turtles, moray eels, sawfish, sea anemones -- and brought in more than 14,000 patrons.

Postcard of Marineland (note pier in background)

Marineland was very popular from its opening in 1954 until the late 1970's, but attendance started to dwindle in the 1980's,. Marineland closed in December1986 when Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, which owned Sea World in San Diego, purchased Marineland, ostensibly to continue to operate it. Their intent, however, was to purchase Marineland solely to acquire Corky and Orky, a successful breeding pair of killer whales. 

My family and I were heartbroken when they closed Marineland. We purchased an annual pass when we first moved to the Peninsula in 1985, and my young children and I treated Marineland like a public park. It had great picnic areas to take the kids, and they loved it!!  I still miss it greatly.

Lowe Enterprises, through a subsidiary Destination Resorts,is constructing a $250-million resort there, named Terranea, with construction started in 2006. It is expected to be completed in Summer 2009 and will include a 400-room main hotel, flanked by 50 casitas and 32 resort villas, a world class 25,000 sq. ft. spa, a 60,000 sq. ft. banquet and conference center, as well as an executive 9 hole golf course.

For more information about Marineland including many other great pictures, as well as the HISTORY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES visit my website at

For more information about Palos Verdes and South Bay Real Estate and buying and selling a home on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, visit my website at . I try to make this the best real estate web blog in the South Bay Los Angeles and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. I would love to hear your comments or suggestions.

Comment balloon 0 commentsMaureen Megowan • December 14 2008 02:14PM
Marineland of the Pacific, which opened in 1954, for many years provided the primary tourist attraction in Rancho Palos Verdes. The attractions of Marineland included the 320-foot Skytower soaring into the blue ocean-side sky at the park's entrance,… more
New Silver Spur Court 55 and over Condos Open for Viewing
Silver Spur Court 18 Courtyard condos, ranging in size from 1, 700 sq. ft. to 3, 000 sq. ft. with prices ranging from $930, 000 to $1. 7 million. Located on the corner of Crenshaw Blvd. and Silver Spur These new condominiums for buyers who are… more
Great Bouilabaise Recipe!
I made the most delicious Boulabaise last night for my family, and it really is very simple to do. Bouilabaise is really just a fish stew, and you can be creative as to the fish or shell fish that you add to it. Ingrediants: 1/4… more
Lunada Bay House Restaurant Opening Soon!!
Lunada Bay House, a restaurant that will specialize in Seafood, Steaks and Chops, will be opening soon in Lunada Bay Plaza in the space formerly occupied by Tallichet's and Viva La Pasta. The restaurant is owned by the same people who own Delzano's… more
For Best Christmas Lights Display - Go to Sleepy Hollow area of…
If you enjoy viewing neighborhood Christmas lights and decorations displays, the best in the South Bay is in the "Sleepy Hollow" area of Torrance. The best area is near Sharynne Lane and Doris Way, and some people believe that Reese Road… more
Visit to Florence Italy
I recently took a Carnival Cruise to the Mediterranean and one of the day trips that we took was from the port city of Livorna to Florence. Florence is an incredible city with unbelievable museums and historical sites. One of the things that you… more
I WANT MY 4. 5%!!!!!!
Last week, a report was irresponsibly leaked to the press that the Federal Resrve was considering a plan whereby they would purchase mortgage backed securities from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with the intention to drive interest rates on conforming… more
The original developer of Palos Verdes Estates was a crook!!
In November 1913, Mr. Frank Vanderlip had acquired approx. 16, 000 acres of the Rancho de los Palos Verdes. He had grand plans to develop the Palos Verdes Peninsula, however World War I curtailed his plans. In 1922, a real estate developer named… more
Federal and California Taxation of Home Sales
CAPITAL GAINS ON SALE OF RESIDENCE: The Federal capital gains rate for long-term (property held for more than 1 year) capital gains for the sale of real estate for most tax payers is 15% ( See Capital Gains Rates for a discussion of Federal capital… more
What does Escrow do???
Escrow is the process which facilitates the transfer of title, the funding of a new mortgage, the payoff of an existing mortgage, the issuance of new title insurance, the proper payment of all fees and expenses and the proper pro rations between… more