Science, Tech, Math › Animals & Nature 10 Tide Pooling Tips View Marine Life Safely and Ecologically Share Flipboard Email Print Animals & Nature Marine Life Marine Life Profiles Marine Habitat Profiles Sharks Key Terms Amphibians Birds Habitat Profiles Mammals Reptiles Wildlife Conservation Insects Forestry Dinosaurs Evolution View More By Jennifer Kennedy Marine Science Expert M.S., Resource Administration and Management, University of New Hampshire B.S., Natural Resources, Cornell University Jennifer Kennedy, M.S., is an environmental educator specializing in marine life. She serves as the executive director of the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation. our editorial process Jennifer Kennedy Updated February 06, 2019 Going on vacation along a rocky shore? Visiting a tide pool is a great way to see and learn about a wide variety of marine life. It may not seem like there's much in a tide pool from a distance, but take a moment to look closely at a tide pool and you're sure to meet lots of interesting creatures. Exploring the intertidal zone is a great activity, but you should tide pool with the safety of you, your family, and the marine environment in mind. These tips will help you have a fun, safe and educational tide pooling experience. 01 of 10 Check the Tides Chris Aschenbrener/Moment Open/Getty Images Step number one is to check the tides. The best time for tide pooling is low tide, or as close to it as possible. You can check the tides usually in the local paper, or online using a tide predictor. 02 of 10 Bring a Book Johner Images / Getty Images In many areas where there are tide pools, you'll find pocket-sized marine life field guides at the local bookstore or souvenir shops. Bringing one of these along will help you identify any critters you find and learn about them. If you buy a field guide online, make sure you get one specific to the region you'll be visiting (e.g., Northeastern Atlantic vs. North Pacific). A great activity for kids is match up the animals and plants they find to identification pictures in a field guide! You can also talk about what challenges the animal may face and how it adapts to those challenges. 03 of 10 Wear Sturdy Shoes or Boots Connie Spinardi / Getty Images Going barefoot isn't usually the best choice for a tide pool. Many tide pools have piles of slippery seaweed and scratchy critters like barnacles, snail and mussel shells. Wear sturdy shoes that you don't mind getting wet, such as sports sandals, old sneakers, or rubber rain boots. 04 of 10 Beware of Slippery Seaweed Simon Marlow/EyeEm/Getty Images As mentioned above, tide pool rocks are often covered with slippery seaweed. Walk safely by placing your feet on bare rocks or sand (if there is any). Encourage kids to "walk like a crab" by using both hands and feet and staying low to the ground. 05 of 10 Return Animals Exactly Where You Found Them Danita Delimont / Gallo Images / Getty Images Some animals live in a very small area their entire lives. The limpet, for example, uses its radula to scrape a small hole in a rock, and this is where it lives. Some limpets return to that exact spot each day. So if you move an organism far from its home, it may never find its way back. So if you do touch an animal, do it gently, with wet hands, and then put it back right where you found it. 06 of 10 Don't Remove Attached Animals Minette Layne / Flickr Follow the "body language" of the animals you see. Do not pull an attached animal like a limpet, barnacle, or sea anemone off a rock. Often you can learn more by watching an animal in its place, but if you do try to touch an animal, don't pick it up if it appears stuck and resists you. 07 of 10 Explore From the Sidelines When Possible Teresa Short / Getty Images Instead of tramping through every tide pool you see, explore from the edge if possible and resist the temptation to pick up every organism you find. This will minimize your impact on the habitat and the animals that live there. Popular tide pool spots are visited by thousands of people each year, which can severely impact the marine life that lives there. 08 of 10 Leave No Rock Overturned Lucidio Studio, Inc. / Getty Images Tide pool animals often hide under rocks, so one way to find them (other than just observing a tide pool and watching them move around) is to gently lift a rock up and see what's underneath. Always put the rock back where you found it. If you flip it over entirely, you could kill marine life living on its upper or lower side. 09 of 10 Marine Animals Don't Belong in Your Bathtub Steve Sparrow / Getty Images Don't bring any plants or animals home. Many of them are very sensitive to the salinity and other particulars of their habitat. It also may be illegal — many areas require a permit for collecting marine life. 10 of 10 Bring a Bag Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images Bring a grocery bag with you to bring your trash home. Even better, pick up some trash that others have left behind. Litter can hurt marine life if they become entangled or accidentally swallow it.