Facts about California for each letter of the alphabet.
The Society of California ARCHAEOLOGY provides information about research on archaeological projects. The state has many archeological sites including a Native American Village occupied 4,000 years ago. The Early Man Site in Calico is an archaeological dig where ancient stone tools have been found. The state also has marine archaeology including Native American archaeological sites (and objects), and historic-era shipwrecks, cargo spills or landing sites.
California is home to over 600 species of BIRDS. The California Quail is the State Bird. The Golden Gate Raptor Observatory tracks the annual flight of birds known as "raptors". The San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory is dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats. The Point Reyes Bird Observatory promotes the conservation of birds and their environment. The California Condor is the largest flying land bird in North America. The Coachella Valley Wildbird Center has bird walks and tours. Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge has the largest winter population of bald eagles in the continental United States. California has many Birding Hotspots.
California has thousands of BRIDGES including Suspension bridges and Covered Bridges. The Bridgeport Covered Bridge has the longest clear span of any surviving covered bridge in the world. Over 24,000 of the bridges are maintained by CalTrans. The San Mateo/Hayward Bridge is the longest bridge in the state. The Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937 and was so named for being the gateway to the Golden State. Many of the bridges are on the National Register of Historic Places in California.
California has many Scenic Byways and Roadside Attractions. The State Route 1 is an All-America Road. The state also has a variety of trails including the Central Coast and Eastern Sierra. California participates in National Trails Day. The Old Spanish Trail connected New Mexico with California.
California has all forms of COMMUNICATION including newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. The state has many telephone area codes. Most businesses and schools are connected to the internet and Internet Service Providers are located throughout the state. Webcams are located throughout California.
California has 58 COUNTIES. San Bernardino is the largest county in the state (and the country) and San Franciso the smallest. Los Angeles is the largest county in the state by population and Alpine is the smallest. Los Angeles is the largest city in the state and the second largest in the country. Sierra City is the smallest city in the state and possibly the country.. Silicon Valley in Santa Clara County has several thousand technology companies. The term "county" is used in 48 of the 50 states.
Few DINOSAURS have been found in California because it was under water at the time that they lived. However, fossils of marine animals and large vertebrates have been discovered. In 2016, a rare well-preserved fossil of a complete mammoth skull was unearthed on Santa Rosa Island and appeared to be approximately 13,000 years coinciding with the age of Arlington Man, the oldest human skeletal remains in North America, which were also found on Santa Rosa Island. The Museum of Natural History of Sierra College has a Dig Dinosaur Day Fest. The Los Angeles Natural History Museum has exhibits of dinosaurs and other fossils. The Page Museum is dedicated to researching the La Brea Tar Pits. For dinosaur coloring pages, CLICK HERE.
California provides free public EDUCATION to anyone between the ages 6 and 18. The California Department of Education oversees teaching, learning, and technology. There are many private schools and homeschooling is popular. The state has more elementary and secondary students than any other state. Before California became a territory, at least 1 school was established. Just for the Kids provides information on academic performance and best practices studies in California. Information about schools in the state is available at GreatSchools and SchoolBug.
California has a wide variety of EVENTS during the year and many types of Entertainment. There are 38 State and County Fairs. San Francisco has a wide variety of events, parades, festivals, and celebrations, and the Chinese New Year Celebration is the biggest in the country. The Los Angeles County Irish Fair is the largest in Southern California. Red Bluff has the largest 3-day rodeo in the country. The state observes Federal Holidays and other special days.
The Spanish introduced a variety of FOOD from Mexico. The colonists supplemented their food with some of the same types of game hunted by the Native Americans. Food Banks are located throughout the state. California has many Food Shows, Festivals, and Events. The state has contributed to the popularity of drive-thru restaurants. Several chains such McDonald's, Jack in the Box, In-N-Out Burger, Carl's Jr., Del Taco, Original Tommy's, Fatburger and Big Boy originated in Southern California. More Sourdough Bread is produced in Oakland than any city in the world. The Tadich Grill is the oldest continuously running restaurant in San Francisco.
California has 18 National FORESTS. More than half of the sequoia trees in the world are found in the Sequoia National Forest. This tree is the largest living thing in the world. The Hans Jenny Pygmy Forest Reserve has an elfin forest of pygmy cypress, evergreen shrubs, and the Bishop Pine the oldest living thing on earth. The El Moro Elfin Forest in San Luis Obispo County is home to several species of rare plants. California has kelp and is one of the few places in the world that has underwater kelp forests. A variety of seal life live in these kelp forests. The California Palm is the only indigenous palm in North America. The Petrified Forest near Calistoga is said to have one of the finest examples of a pliocene fossil forest in the world.
California has a great variety of FOSSILS. The George C. Page Museum is adjacent to the La Brea Tar Pits.The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has more than 33 million specimens, artifacts, and objects in its collection. The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History displays fossils found in Kern County. The Petrified Forest near Calistoga is one of the finest examples of a pliocene fossil forest in the world. The Sabertoothed cat is the State Fossil. The State Prehistoric Artifact is the Chipped Stone Bear.
California has many GHOST TOWNS. Most of Jerome is in its original condition with stores and homes. Calico Ghost Town is one of the few remaining original mining towns in the western part of the country, and it has special events throughout the year. Darwin has lots of old buildings. Bodie, a gold-mining ghost town, is a National Historic Landmark and a State Historic Park. Earp was name for Wyatt Earp who lived there for a time. Geronimo was named after the famous Indian Chief.
The GLOBAL POSTION of California is approximately 41 degrees latitude north and 124 degrees longitude west. The state is located on the west coast of the United States and has nearly every kind of landform that can be found in the country. The Topography of the state includes Death Vally National Park which is the lowest place in the state and country and Mt. Whitneywhich is the highest peak in the state and the lower 48 states. Geocaching is an adventure game using a Global Positioning System, and California has many geocaches.
The HISTORY of California dates back 12,000 years. Much of the recorded history of California began with the Spanish Missions which are the oldest structures in the state and the most visited historical monuments. The first mission was founded in San Diego by Junipero Sera and Gaspar de Potola. Much of the work on the missions was done by Native Americans. The missions had unique music. The California Historical Society has an online guide to over 300 years of California history. History Day in California is sponsored in conjunction with National History Day,
HOLLYWOOD is known as the movie capital of the world and has many attractions. The Hollywood sign is a symbol of the movie industry. The Hollywood Bowl is the largest outdoor amphitheater in the world. Universal Studios is in Hollywood and has tours, a park, and games. The Hollywood Wax Museum has life-sized was figures of film stars. Hollywood Park is well known for horse racing.
California is home to over 30,000 species of INSECTS. The state has many species of butterflies and the State Insect is the Dogfaced Butterfly. The Catalina Orange-Tip Butterfly lives only on Catalina Island. The Exploring California Insects Program identifies insects.
California has hundreds of ISLANDS both off the coast and in rivers and lakes. Some of the islands are on the U.S. Islands Directory because they have a ham radio. Treasure Island is an artificial island. Paoha and Negit Islands are in Mono Lake. Santa Cruz Island is the largest of the Channel Islands National Park. North Island is home to Naval Air Station. Angel Island is a former immigration station. Bethel Island is in the heart of the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta. Alcatraz Island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, and a federal prison. Today, the facilities are managed by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and open to tours.
J IS FOR JAZZ & JUDICIAL
The JUDICIAL System is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The California Judicial System is governed as a republic, with 3 branches of government: the executive branch consisting of the Governor of California and the other independently elected constitutional officers; the legislative branch consisting of the state assembly and state senate; and the judicial branch consisting of the Supreme Court of California and lower courts.
Many aspects of life in California focus on KIDS, and the state has a page with learning games just for kids and a Healthy Kids Program. Information is available for water safety and energy. The Department of Transportation has a Kids Page. The Department of Food & Agriculture has a Kids Page, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has a Kids Pages. The Department of Conservation has a Kids Zone. The California Geological Survey has a Kids GeoZone. The U.S. Mint has a special Kids Page
Public LIBRARIES are located throughout the state. There are also special libraries including Presidental, State, Law, Public, Academic, and Special. Most schools have a library. The State Library is in Sacramento and was established in 1850. The Richard Nixon Library and Museum is in Yorba Linda, and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is in Simi Valley. California was the first state to appoint a Poet Laureate.
California has many LIGHTHOUSES and some are on the Register for Historic Places. The Rubicon Point Light on Lake Tahoe is the tallest lighthouse in the country. Many lighthouses were automated and the keepers home abandoned. East Brother Light Station is now a bed and breakfast, Pigeon Point Lighthouse and Point Montara have youth hostel accommodations. Point Arena Lighthouse has a museum and offers guided and self-guided tours. Alcatraz Island Light The most important aspect of a lighthouse is the light that comes from the tower.
California has many MOUNTAINS and mountain ranges, hills and Fourteeners. In the northwest corner of the state are the Klamath Mountains. The Coastal Ranges in the north reach inland 20 to 30 miles extend from the Klamath Mountains in the north south to Santa Barbara and include many smaller chains of mountain ranges including the Diablo and Santa Cruz Mountains. The Sierra Nevada mountain range in the east runs about 430 miles from north to south and forming a giant wall rising to over 14,000 feet. The Cascade Mountains extend north from the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The Basin and Range Province contain the southeastern deserts of California. Oregon, and other states. Mount Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 states.
California has many MUSEUMS. The J. Paul Getty Museum has 2 locations in Southern California. J. Paul Getty Museum. The Exploratorium in San Francisco mixes science and art. Museum of Neon Art is in Glendale. The Pez Museum is located in Burlingame. The California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacrament claims to be the largest museum of its kind in North America. The Daggett Museum in Calico displays artifacts from the discovery of silver. Take a virtual tour of the museum. The Kern County Museum celebrates the history of Kern County with a Pioneer Village, Discovery Center, and Field Trips.The state has several Halls of Fame.
California has had a variety of MUSIC. The West Coast Ragtime Society and sponsors the West Coast Ragtime Festival held in Sacramento. There are Opera Companies throughout the state. The Lawrence Welk Museum is in Escondido. The California Consolidated Drum Band is the official State Fife and Drum Corps. "I Love You California" is the state song. There are also a few unofficial State songs.
NATIVE AMERICANS were the first people to live in California. The state now has several Federally recognized tribes, reservations, and rancherias. The newest National Monument is a section of land in Southern California where a band of Cahuilla Indians live. The state has many Indian Casinos. An Indian Heritage Center is being built near Sacrament. The State Indian Museum depicts 3 major themes of California Indian life. McKinleyville claims to have the tallest totem pole in the country.
California is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and celebrates World Oceans Day. The California Current is a Pacific Ocean current that moves south along the western coast of North America, beginning off southern British Columbia, and ending off southern Baja California. Many shipwrecks have occurred off the coast of the state. Deep Sea Fishing is a popular activity. Three kinds of ocean energy are being explored - tidal power, wave power & ocean thermal energy. Find out why the Ocean is Salty. The San Francisco Bay is considered the largest landlocked harbor in the world.
Arizona is part of the Old West. The state has Cowboys and Cowgirls and celebrates National Day of the Cowboy. California has many rodeos throughout the year. There are many Horse Trails. The Bureau of Land Management manages, protects, and controls wild horses and burros. The state selects a Horse of the Year
California has over 1,000 PARKS including National Parks, State Parks , and City Parks . The state also has Theme Parks including Disneyland in Anaheim and Lego Land in Carlsbad. Yosemite is one of the oldest National Parks in the country. Golden Gate National Recreation Area is the largest National Park in a city setting in the world. Knott's Berry Farm was the first theme park in the country. Pacific Park recreates the amusements parks once doting the ocean areas along the Pacific Coast. SeaWorld Adventure Park in San Diego has a webcam of Shamu. California also has some unusual attractions.
California has a variety of REPTILES including frogs, salamanders, turtles, lizards, and snakes. Several of the snakes are poisonous and the gila monster is one of 2 species of venous lizards. The State Reptile is the desert tortoise. There are several Reptile Shows and Reptile Rescues.
California has thousands of miles of RIVERS and creeks including many wild and scenic rivers. Two of the largest water systems are the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin River. Many rivers in the state are preserved by Federal and State law. The state fish is the golden trout. There are many steelhead rivers. Fishing is a popular activity. The state has 2 National Fish Hatcheries - Coleman and Livingston Stone. Water has been a vital but scarce natural resource in the state.
California has many SPORTS Teams and Stadiums. The state has more professional sports teams than any other state. Both summer and winter Olympic Games have been held in California. The state has over 1,000 golf courses - both public & private. Monterey claims to be the the number one golf destination in the world. There are hundreds of racetracks including horse racing and a href="http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nascar-auto-racing/article2572424.html">car raceways. In 2013 the Americas Cup Regatta was held in San Francisco.
California has all forms of TRANSPORTATION.The California Department of Transportation is responsible for planning, designing, building, operating, and maintaining highways in the state. They also oversee rail and transit. The state has an Adopt-a-Highway Program and participates in the Wildlife Protection Program to help wildlife along roads. The Federal Highway Administration provides information about traffic and road closures in the state. License plates have been issued since 1910 and a variety of personalized plates are available. Three Indian Tribes have their own license plates. To celebrate its 50th birthday in 2002 Matchbox cars issued a car for each state in the order in which it was admitted into the Union. The car for California was the 55 Chevrolet Bel Air.
The state TREE is the redwood and the tallest tree in the world is in Redwood National Park and State Parks. The largest living tree in the word is in Sequoia National Park. Inyo National Forest is home to the Bristle Cone Pine Tree, the oldest living species. The Petrified Forest has a tree that was petrified 3.4 million years ago. The California Register of Big Trees maintains records for the largest species of native and naturalized trees in the state.
Several ships have been named USS CALIFORNIA. The 1st USS California (1867) was a screw sloop originally named Minnetonka. The 2nd USS California (ACR-6) also referred to as "Armored Cruiser 6", was a Navy Pennsylvania-class armored cruiser. The 3rd USS California (SP-249), originally a yacht, served during World War I as a motor patrol boat in New York City Harbor, was purchased by the Navy in August 1917 under the name California, and served as USS California (SP-249) until February 1918, when she was renamed Hauoli. The 4th USS California (SP-647) served during World War I as a motor patrol boat in San Francisco Harbor. The 5th USS California (BB-44) received 7 battle stars for World War II service. The 6th USS California CGN-36, known as the "Golden Grizzly," was the lead ship of her class of a nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser. Delivery of the 7th USS California (SSN-781), a Virginia class submarine, is expected in 2013. California (ACR-6) was renamed San Diego to free up her name for the lead ship of a new class of battleship. At one time, BB-40 was to have been the new California, but it was commissioned and named USS New Mexico (BB-40). The USS Californian (1900) was a Navy cargo ship in commission in 1918. Several ships have been named SS California.
California has many VOLCANOES and is part of the Ring of Fire. All 4 types of volcanoes are found in Lassen Volcanic National Park. The Long Valley caldera and the Mono-Inyo Craters volcanic field have had the most recent activity. Mt. Shasta volcano is the tallest volcano in the state and the second highest in the country. Pinnacles National Monument has rock formations that are part of the remains of a volcano that lies to the southeast. The Ubehebe Craters include over a dozen maar volcanoes. Malapai Hill is an exhumed basal plug. Amboy Crater and the Cima Volcanic Range are in the Mojave Desert.
California is a haven for WILDLIFE and has nearly every kind of wildlife that can be found in the country. Some species are threatened or endangered . The state has nearly 2 dozen Wildlife Refuges. The Raparian Brush Rabbit calls Caswell Memorial State Park its home. The California Wildlife Center rescues and rehabilitates native wildlife. The Lindsay Wildlife Museum is a wildlife rehabilitation and educational center. The California Wildlife Federation promotes wise use of all natural resources. The Big Horn Institute is dedicated to the conservation of the world's wild sheep. The Grizzly Bear is the official State Animal.
California has many ZOOS, animal attractions, and aquariums. The San Diego Zoo is world famous. The Chaffee Zoological Gardens features a bird show and the Los Angeles Zoo has a red ape rainforest. The Feline Conservation Center is dedicated to the protection and conservation of endangered felines. Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco is the first underwater aquarium in the country.