Desperately Seeking Bubbles

When I was young, going to Marineland was a huge deal. And what made it better was that it was kind of ours. I mean for people in the South Bay, because it was right there, super close in Palos Verdes. I remember my parents driving us up there and finally turning that one corner and there was the Bubbles the whale statue with his two dolphin buddies. It was an awesome feeling, kinda like seeing the Matterhorn off the side of the freeway, but way closer.

After many years of success, they eventually tore it all down in the 70s after some bad business deals. I have so many crazy stories about that place, and even after it was closed down we snuck in and ran around the empty tanks and gift shops like we owned the place.
So anyways, a few months ago I read an article about this guy walking his dog up in Palos Verdes when he came across the Bubbles the whale statue lying forsaken in a sad, dirty parking lot. I, for one, particularly hate the lack of respect for our history here in this amazing city I grew up in. It’s all about the money here, and the new shitty condos, and fuck Gloria Swanson’s house over on Glendale, let it rot, ’cause who cares. The abandoned Bubbles statue rotting in the sun seemed like a pretty good representation of what this city thinks of its past.

There are talks, and petitions to restore him and find him a new home but so far nothing’s happened, and it’s been over 30 years. In the meantime we decided to do some detective work and find him. We just wanted to see the situation ourselves. Here’s what happened.

Condos where Marineland use to be.

Condos where Marineland use to be.


In a hidden parking lot we saw what looked like dolphins. It was unfortunately just playground equipment.


But in the distance we saw an unusual shape.


After some exploring…and quite possibly some illegal trespassing.


Could it be?


Found him!


I really hope they get their shit together and rescue this guy.

Previously on the LA Beat: Marineland’s 60th Anniversary


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One Response to Desperately Seeking Bubbles

  1. Ed Simon Ed Simon says:

    I grew up in Westchester; and my parents often took my brother and I to Marineland. I absolutely loved the huge aquarium tank there. Fast forward to the mid 80s, and I enjoyed taking both my kids there. It might have looked a little worse for wear, but it made more memories for my family. I seem to remember going not long before they shut it down, my son was 5 and my daughter a spritely 1 year old. Sea World never had the attraction or the vibe that Marineland did for a native Angeleno and his family. Thanks for a great article and an opportunity for me to remember some wonderful memories.

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