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A Guide to the Best of Southern California : GOING PLACES : Where Freshwater and Saltwater Meet

July 29, 1990|Robin Tucker

LONG before Malibu was a colony to its current elite citizenry, the area was the home of the Chumash Indians (for a couple of thousand years, through the early 1700s). Just north of the Malibu Pier is Malibu Lagoon State Beach, the site of a variety of interesting things to see and do--for children and adults.

The wetland habitat, where freshwater meets saltwater, serves as a fish nursery as well as a migratory stop--part of the Pacific Flyway--for birds traveling south from Alaska to Mexico each winter. Displays at the entrance provide an introduction to the creatures found in the tide pools and the birds and sea life that inhabit the surrounding area.

The Malibu Lagoon Museum houses exhibits documenting the history of the area's dwellers. In August, "Surf's Up" takes a look at the popular local sport, beginning with its early days when George Freeth used an eight-foot-long, 200-pound board. The Adamson House (pictured), the lovely 1929 Moorish-Spanish Colonial Revival-style home adjacent to the museum, showcases the lavish use of tiles produced by Malibu Potteries between 1926 and 1932, including a 20-foot-long tile replica of a Persian rug. The pool, adjoining bathhouse, fountains and walkways throughout the 13-acre beachfront grounds also are decorated with tile.

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, National Park Service, (818) 597-9192, presents bird-watching walks, hikes and other programs. And the Palisades-Malibu YMCA hosts Nursery Nature Walks for children through age 5 and accompanying adults. Group leaders describe the lagoon as a nursery where important baby fish and plants grow and introduce birds and a rabbit run for observation. There's plenty of hands-on exploration, singing and general lagoon-type fun. For information about dates and times, telephone (213) 454-5591.

"Babes at the Beach," a program of the William O. Douglas Outdoor Classroom that will resume in September, takes children 2 1/2 years and up and their parents on a 1 1/2-hour low-tide hike around the lagoon and tide pools. Reservations are required; for dates and times, telephone (213) 858-3834.

The Malibu Lagoon Museum and Adamson House, 23200 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu; (213) 456-8432.

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