The California Coast

DSCN0856_m.JPG California
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California, Here I Come

California is located on the West Coast of the United States and is over 800 miles from the north to the south. It is the most populous and third-largest state behind Alaska and Texas, and ranks eight out of fifty for the nation's most populous cities. Much of California has a Mediterranean climate, with cool, rainy winters and dry summers. The cool offshore current often creates summer fog near the coast. Further inland, one encounters colder winters and hotter summers.

California’s five largest cities are Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, and Fresno. The capital of California is Sacramento. California has nineteen major professional sports league franchises, far more than any other state.

California is known for its beauty, specifically its coastline and several sandy beaches, but it is also known for its earthquakes, which are common occurrences.

There is so much more to the Golden State than people realize, and they would be surprised to learn some of the many interesting and fun facts. For instance, most people know that the California State Animal is the Grizzle Bear, but did you know California also has a State Insect, Reptile, Rock, Soil, Song and many, many more!

Here are some fun facts about California; the following has been adopted by the State as uniquely their own.

Fun Facts about California

Animal: The California grizzly bear was named the official State Animal in 1953.

Bird: The California quail, also known as the valley quail, became the official bird in 1931.

Color: A combination of blue and gold colors where chosen as the official colors, these colors were first used as school colors by the University of California, Berkeley in 1875.

Dance: The West Coast Swing of the 1930s was chosen as the official Dance.

Fife and Drum Band: The California Consolidated Drum Band was declared the official Fife and Drum Corps in 1997.

Fish: The golden trout, native only to California, was chosen the official fish by act of the State Legislature in 1947.

Flag: The California flag depicts a grizzly bear and a five pointed star over a red bar, with the words "California Republic." It was adopted as the State Flag by the Legislature in 1911.

Flower: The Poppy, a flower that grows wild throughout California, became the state flower in 1903.

Folk Dance: The Square Dance was chosen because of its history during the Gold Rush.

Fossil: The saber-toothed cat was adopted by the Legislature as the official Fossil in 1973.

Gemstone: Benitoite was made the official Gemstone in 1985.

Gold Rush Ghost Town: Bodie was named official Gold Rush ghost town in 2002.

Grass: Nassella pulchra, or Purple needlegrass, as it is most commonly known, was made the official State Grass in 2004.

State Historical Society: Established in 1871, the California Historical Society was appointed the official California State Historical society in 1979.

Insect: Named in 1972 as the State Insect, The California dogface butterfly or dog head is found only in California.

Marine Fish: The garibaldi, a golden orange fish approximately 14 inches in length is most prevalent in the shallow waters off the Southern California coast.

Marine Mammal: The California gray whale was allocated as the State Marine Mammal in 1975.

Military Museum: The California State Military Museum in Sacramento was appointed the California State Military Museum by legislation in 2004.  

Mineral: Gold is the official mineral and was so designated in 1965.  

Motto: "Eureka," translated is "I have found it." The motto has appeared on the state seal since 1849 and was made the official motto in 1963.

Nickname: "The Golden State" was made the official State Nickname in 1968

Prehistoric Artifact: Discovered at an archaeological dig site in San Diego County in 1985, the chipped stone bear was fashioned from volcanic rock by one of California's earliest inhabitants and was thought to have been made for religious use. The chipped stone bear a state symbol in 1991 making California the first state to designate an official State Prehistoric Artifact.

Quarter: The California Quarter depicting John Muir admiring Yosemite Valley's monolithic Half Dome, while a California condor soars overhead was issued January 31, 2005 by the United States Mint. The coin bears the inscriptions "California," "John Muir," "Yosemite Valley" and "1850."

Reptile: The desert tortoise which played a key role in the passage of the California Desert Protection Act in 1994; has been the official State Reptile since 1972.

Rock: The Serpentine, a shiny, green and blue rock found throughout California, was dubbed the official Rock in 1965.

State Seal: The Great Seal of the State of California was adopted in 1849. 

State Silver Rush Ghost Town: Calico, located near Barstow in San Bernardino county, was designated the official California State Silver Rush Ghost town in 2005.

Soil: The San Joaquin Soil was designated as the official soil in 1997.

Song: California's official state song is "I Love You, California", written by F.B. Silverwood. In 1951, the Legislature passed a resolution designating it as California's song. Attempts were made to change it to "California, Here I Come," however, they failed and in 1988, "I Love You, California" legally became the official Song.

Tall Ship: Built in 1984, the Californian was appointed the State Tall Ship by the legislation in 2003. She is the only ship that can claim this title.

Tartan: Enacted by legislation in 2001, the California Tartan recognizes the contributions to California by residents of Scottish ancestry. The legislation also stated that the official State Tartan may be claimed by any resident of the state.

Theater: The Pasadena Playhouse, in Pasadena California, was recognized by the Legislature as the State Theater in 1937. Many famous actors have graced the Pasadena Playhouse stage including Jean Arthur, Eve Arden, Gene Hackman, Raymond Burr, and Tyrone Power. The theater continues to run with hundreds of performances annually.

Tree: The California redwood was designated the official State Tree of California by the State Legislature in 1937. There are actually two genera of California redwood: the coast redwood and the giant sequoia. The coast redwoods are the tallest trees in the world; one reaching over 379 feet tall grows in Redwood National and State Parks.

State Facts for Fun! California
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