We often think about our coast as a line. Before the line is land, where we live with our perambulating limbs and our porous lungs, and after it is the sea. That’s where the sharks live. But scientists will tell you it isn’t so simple. At the edge of the ocean, when conditions are just right, the ocean forms into pools that they call intertidal zones, that get replenished by the sea at high tide but at other times, are safe from the strong currents and sea predators.

Kids don’t need scientists to tell them that tide pools are special. Up and down the Pacific Coast, you’ll see kids ogling, poking at and running away from the huge variety of weird and wonderful creatures who call these pools home: Wiggly anenomes, bumbling sea stars, and nervous crabs thrive here, in the in-between.

This image, captured in Northern California one autumn day, shows a little girl and her mom peering together into the tide pool, their shadows creating a relief for the camera and framing the creatures they were studying. In the girl’s profile, we see the fantastic world she and her mom are exploring together, and through it, we share her sense of wonder.