61 Splendid Santa Catalina Island Facts You Will Adore! | Kidadl


61 Splendid Santa Catalina Island Facts You Will Adore!

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Catalina Island, often known as Santa Catalina, is one of California's best-kept secrets.

It's a diamond that's concealed in plain sight. For decades, day-trippers, cruise ships, vacationers, and many A-listers (such as Marilyn Monroe) have traveled to this small-town island paradise to enjoy everything it has to offer.

Santa Catalina Island offers white sand beaches, melt-your-heart sunsets, crystal blue waters, and water sports. Foodies are enticed by fresh seafood and coffee. On Catalina, where old Hollywood has left a strong stamp, history buffs will find no shortage of entertainment. Choose from upscale hotels, vacation homes, or sleep under the palm trees at one of the island's many campgrounds.

In one hour, passengers can get to Avalon from Long Beach, Dana Point, San Pedro, or Newport Beach by passenger boat. Many parts of the island, including Avalon, are accessible by walking. A shuttle boat service runs around the island as well.

History Of Catalina Island

Catalina Island was claimed by the Spanish Empire by the first Europeans who arrived. Catalina Island has been a popular vacation spot for nearly 125 years.

  • Juan Rodrguez Cabrillo was the first European who landed on Catalina Island.
  • In 1602 on the eve of Saint Catherine's Day (November 24), another Spanish explorer, Sebastián Vizcaino, arrived on the island.
  • James Lick, who was formerly considered the wealthiest man in California, owned Catalina Island altogether by 1864. In 1891, Lick sold the island to the sons of Phineas Banning after several fruitless attempts at resort development.
  • The Santa Catalina Island Company was founded in 1894 by the Banning brothers, who began developing the island as a tourist destination by erecting hotels, attractions, and roads into the island's rough interior.
  • The Banning brothers established hunting lodges and stagecoach trips around the island, such as the Banning House Lodge.
  • They opened up access to Avalon's coastal areas, including Lovers Cove, Descanso Beach, and Sugarloaf Point, where Catalina Casino would later be built.
  • They constructed the Pleasure Pier at Avalon Bay in 1909, which still stands today.
  • In 1915, a fire destroyed half of Avalon's structures. The brothers attempted to recoup their investment by establishing the Hotel St. Catherine in Descanso Canyon to attract new visitors, but the island was eventually sold in 1919 to William Wrigley Jr.
  • Wrigley subsequently spent millions of dollars on infrastructure, a reservoir, the Hotel Atwater, the Bird Park, and other attractions on Catalina Island to realize his idea of a playground for all.
  • In 1921, Wrigley built the Catalina Country Club to house the team's lockers and create a gathering location for players, making Avalon the home of his beloved Chicago Cubs' Spring Training.
  • Wrigley developed the renowned Catalina Casino in 1929, which features the world's largest circular ballroom and the world's first talking motion picture theater.
  • During Second World War, the island was utilized as a military training center and was closed to visitors.
  • Rock quarried on Catalina Island was used to build an 8 mi (13 km) barrier along the coast of Southern California.
  • Avalon's golf course, the oldest in Southern California was constructed in the year 1892.
  • Avalon Bay used to have two piers: the Steamer Pier and the Pleasure Pier. The Pleasure Pier still stands today (first built in 1909).
  • During the '30s, '40s, and '50s, the island was a favorite hangout for Hollywood's elite. It also became a favorite filming site for production firms.
  • Over the years, more than 500 films, documentaries, advertisements, and television shows have been made on and around Catalina, particularly around Two Harbors on the island's west end.
  • William Wrigley Jr.'s descendants hold the Catalina Island Company, which is still working to build a world-class island resort.
  • Catalina Island Conservancy took charge of the island.
  • The Catalina Island Conservancy is the oldest and largest private land trust, with a mission to be a responsible steward of resources via a balance of conservation, education, and leisure.
  • Former US presidents Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon have been to Catalina Island. President Warren G. Harding died just a week before he was scheduled to visit the island.
  • In 1923, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the fictitious character Sherlock Holmes, paid a visit to the island.
  • Winston Churchill came to the island in 1929 for only long enough to capture a marlin in world record time.
  • The M. V. Phoenix, which was built in 1931 and decommissioned in 1991, was the island's last fleet of paddlewheel glass-bottom boats.
  • The island fire, a significant wildfire on Catalina Island, occurred in May 2007.
  • Only a few structures were destroyed, due to the help of Los Angeles County firefighters. Another wildfire broke out at Isthmus Yacht Club in May 2011, requiring 120 firefighters to be evacuated by barge from Los Angeles.

Geography Of Catalina Island

Catalina Island stretches across 22 mi (35 km) in the southwest region of Los Angeles County. Catalina is the southernmost island of California's Channel Islands. The incorporated city of Avalon is situated on the island's east end, while the unincorporated village of Two Harbors is on the west end. The island spans 8 mi (13 km) in width and 22 mi (36 km) in length.

  • Mount Orizaba, at 2,097 ft (639 m), is the highest peak on Santa Catalina Island.
  • Catalina Island is widely known as Santa Barbara Islands.
  • Catalina Island is politically part of Los Angeles County's District 4. The majority of the area is unincorporated, with 90% of the inhabitants residing in Avalon.
  • Quartz is abundant on Catalina Island and the beaches have silver color sand. These formations began on the ocean floor and rose to the surface due to tectonic activity.
  • This suggests that the landmass of Santa Catalina Island was never immediately connected to the mainland California coast guard.
  • The geologic factors defining the island's morphology are geologic uplift and sedimentation, subsidence, weathering, tectonic plate movement, erosion, and metamorphic activity.
  • Catalina Island is sinking into the ocean and will soon be buried beneath the waves.
Catalina Island facts reveal that Avalon is the main town on Catalina Island, and that is where you find downtown Catalina.

What wildlife can be found on Catalina Island?

Although it is vital to protect flora and fauna, Catalina is unrivaled in terms of biodiversity. The island's natural and cultural heritage is protected by the Catalina Island Conservancy.

  • Santa Catalina Island had no terrestrial life at first since it was never connected to mainland California. Plants and animals that came on the island had to travel miles of open water to get there.
  • The first species to arrive on the island were blown over on the wind, drifted or swam over the ocean, or flew over.
  • Humans have introduced animals and plants, both intentionally and unintentionally, since the time of the Native Americans and continuing today.
  • Chaparral, coastal sage scrub, island oak-ironwood forest, and grassland are the most common natural plant habitats on Santa Catalina Island. The eucalyptus tree is the most common imported plant.
  • There are over 400 different species of wild flora on the island.
  • The island fox, ground squirrel, Santa Catalina Island harvest mouse, deer mouse, and ornate shrew are the five native land mammals found on Catalina Island.
  • The Catalina orange-tip butterfly is a well-known island bug.
  • The Catalina Island Conservancy manages and monitors the island's bison herd, which consists of American bison. Cattle, feral goats, feral pigs, and sheep are no longer present on the island.
  • Catalina Island is home to 37 different bird species.
  • The oceans surrounding the island are home to Garibaldi, California sheephead, leopard sharks, white seabass, yellowtail, bat rays, huge sea bass, and many other fish species.
  • Great white sharks have been spotted or caught off the coast of Catalina on rare occasions, but only near seal rookeries and not in populated areas. California sea lions and harbor seals are two of the most common marine creatures found near Catalina.
  • The Catalina macaw, a hybrid parrot that was initially created in 1940 at Catalina Bird Park and is named after Santa Catalina Island, is a sort of hybrid parrot.
  • Since the '70s, the Institute for Wildlife Studies has sought to bring bald eagles back to the island on conservancy land.

Tourist Attractions Of Catalina Island

Every year, almost one million people visit Catalina Island, resulting in $166.7 million in direct expenditure on the island.

  • The Catalina Casino originally comes from the Italian definition of a casino, which is more akin to a house or a gathering place than a gambling hall. This explains why there has never been any gambling at the Catalina Casino.
  • The iconic 12-story-high building sits on Avalon Harbor and is a classic California landmark, with its signature circular architecture and tall pillars.
  • Glass-bottom boats visit the area's reefs and shipwrecks, and scuba diving and snorkeling are popular in the lovely sea.
  • Lover's Cove is located east of Avalon, and Descanso Beach is located west of the Casino. The Avalon Underwater Dive Park, the first non-profit underwater park in the United States, is located in Casino Point.
  • Attractions include the area's flying fish and the vivid orange Garibaldi. There is also parasailing available. The Catalina Island Conservancy provides tourists with bus and jeep tours.
  • Two Harbors is the island's second smallest tourist community. It is the principal landing site for tourists who prefer to tour the western half of the island, located northwest of Avalon on the island's isthmus. From San Pedro, it may be reached by boat, and from Avalon, it can be reached by bus or boat.
  • While tourists rarely get the opportunity to surf, Shark Harbor and Ben Weston Beach on Catalina's backside both provide nice waves.
  • Camp Cherry Valley and Camp Emerald Bay, both in the northeastern section of the island, offer summer camps for kids and Boy Scouts.
  • Catalina has also been a popular port of call for many cruise lines, with regular stops on Baja cruises made by Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, and Carnival Cruise Lines.
  • The ships are anchored approximately 1,000 ft (305 m) off the coast of Avalon Harbor. Passengers can disembark via shore boat tendering services.
  • The Catalina Island Museum, which used to be housed in the historic Catalina Casino but is now in its own building, is also a draw because it is the custodian of the island's cultural heritage. It houses over 100,000 items in its collection, including over 8,000 years of Native American history, over 10,000 photographs and images, a large collection of Catalina-made pottery and tiles, and ship models.
  • The museum's dynamic exhibits on this history, an art gallery, traveling special exhibitions from around the world, and a one-of-a-kind museum store complete the experience.
  • Some of the events that happen there are an annual tour of the historic Tuna Club, a Holiday Symphony Concert, and First Fridays at the Museum.
  • The Catalina Clay Products Company produced pottery and tiles on the island from 1927 to 1937, and these pieces are now highly sought-after treasures.
  • In Catalina, tourists won't find many cars. Avalon is the only incorporated city in the lower 48 United States that is not accessible by car. Only 484 cars and trucks were permitted on the entire island in 2015, with fewer than 900 allowed for personal use.
  • The wildlife, beautiful beaches, delicious food, and perfect climate make this an ideal place to spend a vacation and take in the sunlight. There's a reason why so many celebrities use this place as their ideal vacation spot, so you can add this to your bucket list as well!
Written By
Jaba Sharma

<p>A highly skilled content writer and editor, Jaba brings over six years of experience in the field to her role. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Science from Lucknow University and a Master's degree in Business Administration with a specialization in finance from the Institute of Environment &amp; Management, Lucknow. Jaba's meticulous approach and creative mindset naturally led her into the world of content writing. She began her career as a Website Content Writer and Backend Admin at EventTraveler Pvt. Ltd, where she gained extensive experience in creating web pages, writing, and editing content and conducting in-depth web research.&nbsp;</p>

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