Catalina Island Visitor Information
Lifelong Learning on Catalina
Despite the popular negative image of "intellectuals" portrayed in much of the corporate media, many - if not the majority - of Americans appreciate knowledge and learning. Those who still retain their natural curiosity about the workings of the world will find no shortage of educational opportunities when they visit the Isle of Saint Catherine off the coast of sunny southern California.
Museum In The Casino
Although it is called the Avalon "Casino," you'll find no gambling there - but you will find an amazing museum that documents the social, economic and natural history of this unique island. The Catalina Island Museum is home to a wealth of documents and exhibits devoted to the entire 7,000 year history of the island starting with the original inhabitants who were the only sea-going American Indians other than the Makah of Washington State and the Tlingit of British Columbia to its modern history as both a glamorous destination resort and an ecological haven.
On the subject of Santa Catalina's diverse and delicate biome, the Catalina Island Marine Institute offers several educational camps throughout the year for K-12 students. These camps are operated by a non-profit corporation called Guided Discoveries, Inc. Sessions of the Catalina Sea Camp for teens and Junior Sea Camp for elementary school children last one to two weeks, during which students can earn academic credits.
Although the year-round population of the island is under 4000, there are enough children living on Santa Catalina to necessitate the establishment of public schools. These are maintained and administered under the auspices of the Long Beach Unified School District. Elementary school children actually attend a one-room school in Two Harbors (where the student body is never more than 15), or the school in Avalon - which shares its campus with the middle and high schools as well. The Avalon High School basketball team plays home games in the ballroom of the Avalon Casino, which easily converts to a gymnasium and basketball court. This facility has the distinction of being the most expensive and lavishly decorated basketball court in the U.S.