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SUNDAY STORY:Our 14 wonders

Newport-Mesa is known for them -- whether famously or infamously -- and many are can't-miss sights.

April 29, 2007|By Amanda Pennington and Alicia Robinson

"There was an operator financed, ready and willing and the owner of the property would not meet with them," Cromwell said. "The owner stated publicly and in front of the City Council it had no interest from bowling operators."

But all is not lost of Kona Lanes. Part of the neon sign lives on at the American Sign Museum in Ohio. It was one of the first 20 signs the museum took in, founder and president Tod Swormstedt said Tuesday by phone.


On Corona del Mar's beaches, rare and delicate creatures dwell in the tide pools. Tentacled sea anemones, prickly purple urchins, crabs and the slug-like sea hare can be found at low tide among the rocks. But be sure to obey the rule all school children know: Look, but don't touch.


Tide pool creatures are fragile and may not survive being picked up or exposed to the hot sun, and it's illegal to take them away from their habitat. An important marine sanctuary, the tide pools are seen by thousands of school children and beachgoers every year. The best time to see them is from April to June at low tide, which comes twice a day. For tide information, go to


One is as old as the city of Newport Beach, the other is older. The first pier here — today's Newport Pier — was built in 1889 to serve McFadden wharf, an early commercial port that went by the wayside after its railway was shut down by more powerful concerns. Its partner, the Balboa Pier, was built in 1906.

Both piers had to be reconstructed in 1939, after major storms the previous year destroyed them in places. Newport Pier, which was moved slightly east of its original spot when it was rebuilt, is the longer of the two at 1,032 feet. The Balboa Pier measures 919 feet.

Even though they're now approaching 70, the piers are in good shape after nearly $3 million in renovations that replaced the concrete decking, reinforced the pilings and generally spruced them up in 2002. In summer the piers see heavy traffic, with the lifeguard headquarters at the Newport Pier's foot and restaurants at the end of each — Ruby's at the Balboa Pier, and Newport Pier Seafood just where you'd expect it.

Click here to see a slide show of the 14 Wonders of Newport-Mesa.

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