Best of 2001: Best Place To Pet A Shark

Chula Vista Nature Center
1000 Gunpowder Point Drive,
Chula Vista

The Chula Vista Nature Interpretive Center exhibits birds in their natural habitats, jellyfish in a big tank, tarantulas, and mice. They're doing their best to keep it pristine -- they don't even allow you to drive to the center but make you take a shuttle bus instead. The most famous feature of the Nature Interpretive Center is the petting pool outside on the edge of the wetland. It's filled with sharks and rays, all with their stingers removed. Wash your hands first, so as not to contaminate the water, then reach in. The rays are friendly and rub up against the sides of the pool, where you can reach them. Take I-5 to E Street and head west into the center's parking lot. Shuttle buses run every 20 minutes from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

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