I went to Avalon on the island of Catalina yesterday for my birthday. The ferry to the island is running a promotion this year where you get to go for free on your birthday if you sign up in advance, so I did, and it was awesome.
Most people I think stick to the little village by the bay, the beaches, the restaurants, the shopping.
Here's the colorful fountain front and center of the bay.
Almost as soon as I got off the boat, I walked the almost two miles to the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens.
The gardens are really only interesting if you're super into cacti, but the Memorial is very lovely and kind of reminded me of Coit Tower, which I visited last month when I was in SF.
Coit, however, doesn't have this beautiful tiled fountain set into its what do you call it? Mezzanine?
I kept getting distracted by birthday phone calls (a good distraction, though my uncle and I somehow got onto a conversation about how one should defend oneself against the LA County wildlife--coyotes, mountain lions, the occasional bear--and I had to explain to him that fire and shotguns were super bad ideas). Anyway, I didn't get a really great picture of the tower from the base because of the light, but also I didn't get a great entrance shot because I shot that picture, got a phone call, and then forgot to take more, better ones. iPhones are great, but they're not miracle workers. However, I'm guessing it's only a matter of time before there's an app for that.
Here's the view from the top.
On the way back, I tripped on some gravel and scraped up my hands. The people at the Conservancy, which is about 1/4 mile from the Gardens provided me with Neosporin and a Band-Aid. They also have free bathrooms and a water fountain.
When I got back to "downtown Avalaon", I had a late lunch at El Galleon, which is decorated in proper pirate ship-style (re: super cheesy). I had fish and chips, because the fish was halibut, but it was not great.
The bathroom, however? Pretty cool.
After lunch, I decided to head down to the Casino.
Not surprisingly this is how you get to the Casino.
Next to the arch was the sign for the street.
Along the via were little mosaics. Here are a couple.
You can only go into the casino for the evening movie (there's a single screen theater that shows something at night, last night it was The Help), for an event, a pricey walking tour, or if you go into the museum, which featured an exhibit on Marilyn Monroe. I was feeling cheap, so I did a circuit around the gift shop and went back to the village.
After that, I did a little shopping, bought an ice cream cone (all the shops serve Dreyer's, but whatever), and waited for the ferry back.
At the end of a choppy ride back to San Pedro, the fountain light show was playing. I would have taken a photo but I had killed my battery in Avalon. The Port of LA might not be able to help its grossness, but the Bellagio-like fountain was pretty awesome and was a nice ending for my birthday.