A Central Coast Baby Boom: Visit the Elephant Seal Rookery

elephant seals central coast

Living on (or visiting) the Central Coast of California has unique benefits, especially during fall and winter when treacherous weather torments much of the country. Here we get to celebrate the Monarch Butterfly migration and other natural wonders. One of these is right in our backyard (or maybe the front yard since it’s in North County). This wonder is the season of baby seal births at the rookery.

Elephant seals return to mate on the same beaches where they were born. As more pups are born at the rookery each year, the colony of seals continues to grow, now at more than 23,000 elephant seals who regularly return to the rookery. The rookery is a 6-mile stretch of protected beach at Año Nuevo State Park, just north of Cambria.

Happy Birthday Time

Starting in late November and early December, the large males arrive to battle for mating rights. As the females join the males, many of them are ready to birth pups conceived last season. Births at the rookery are most active late December to early January.  What better way to learn about the miracle of birth than watching births live?

Watching the pups grow is also amazing. Feeding solely from their mother’s rich milk (55% fat), pups grow from approximately 75 pounds at birth to 250-350 pounds in less than one month.

You can stay informed about activity at the rookery with a live cam on site, sponsored by the Friends of the Elephant Seal, a local nonprofit agency protecting the seals and educating around three quarters of a million visitors a year about these unique creatures.

For more information on the elephant seals including details on their history, breeding and when to see them, check out the California Parks & Recreation page about the rookery.

If you’re ready for a quiet getaway after all the ruckus at the elephant seal rookery, return to the SeaCrest for the finest R&R you will find. Paradise awaits you in Pismo Beach.


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