Growing up I remember seeing a couple sand dollars some of my older cousins found. I remember thinking they were hard to find and very rare. I had never found a sand dollar until our trip to Oregon a couple of weeks ago.
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What is a Sand Dollars?
Sand Dollars are really interesting they look like sea shells when we find them on the beach, but they are a living animal. They are a flattened burrowing sea urchin. What we find on the beach is called a test, it is the exoskeleton.
Some interesting facts we learned about Sand Dollars:
Young sand dollars swallow sand to weigh themselves down in rough water.
Sand dollars usually crowed together. (We saw evidence of this as we found the sand dollar tests along the beach.)
Finding Sand Dollars in Seaside Oregon
While at dinner one night on our vacation in this video some of Jared’s Aunts were talking about how they had found some sand dollars on the beach. They told us they had found over 100 sand dollars on the beach one morning, so we decided to try and find a few.
Before we went to the beach we checked the this video to see when low tide was at the beach we were planning to visit (Seaside, OR).
We got to the beach just a few minutes after the low tide time we found online. When we pulled into the parking lot we saw a family walking to their car with buckets full of Sand Dollars.
As we headed out to the beach the Ocean was clear out. We found a few whole sand dollars and several broken ones as we walked toward the ocean. Once we were clear out to the edge of the water there were sand dollars everywhere. Without moving more than a couple of feet we found 30+ sand dollars with hundreds more scattered up and down the beach.
*We saw a few Sand Dollars that were still alive. Before you go searching for sand dollars be sure to watch this video so you know how to tell if a sand dollar is still alive. For a simple reference if they are bleached white and smooth they are dead. Living Sand dollars have a darker color and an almost fuzzy texture.
After exploring the beach we headed back to the cars. If your visiting Seaside Oregon a wonderful place to access the beach is down 12th avenue. If you follow 12th toward the ocean at the end of the street there is a free parking lot, a bathroom building with outside water to rinse off and a trail to the beach.
When we reached our hotel, we needed to get all the sand off and out of the sand dollars so we could take them home, so we rinsed them in the bathtub. For our flight home, I put them between a bunch of clothes in our suite case.
The next day when I was unpacking that suite case I discovered about 5 of the Sand dollars had broken. (I think we needed bubble wrap or something to get them all home in one piece.) I also found that the whole suite case stunk.
After doing some research I found a few articles saying to soak the sand dollars in a bleach water mixture. After soaking the sand dollars, they no longer stunk, but they are also whiter then when we found them.
Tips for finding Sand Dollars:
Be sure to check the low tide calendar.
Walk along the edge of the water looking for whole sand dollars.
Don’t get sand dollars out of the water, if they are in the water they are most likely living.
Be gentle they break easily.
Enjoy the sound of the waves and making memories on the beach.
Don’t forget to wash them with bleach when you get home so they don’t stink!
Have you found any sand dollars? Where did you find them? Any tips you would add to the list?