My son has not previously shown interest in lighthouses, but frankly, who doesn't like lighthouses? The Point Arena lighthouse has a number of advantages, but the biggest attraction was climbing 125 stairs to the top of the 115 foot concrete cylinder. My son scrambled up the stairs like a mountain goat, reaching the top before all of the adults (many of whom huffed and puffed their way up). Note that the staircase is pretty narrow, so we had to stop a number of times to let opposite-direction traffic pass.
The old Fresnel lens is now on display in the small museum, so it's possible to get a good look at it too. Now, all of the work is done by a tiny light on the lighthouse top’s exterior. At the top, a docent provided some good color commentary; we then got to walk along the catwalk (I think he called it the "gallery") right below the lighthouse room for some excellent unobstructed views of the coastline. (The lighthouse room has the same views, but the windows were dirty). From the top, we watched a sea lion rookery just offshore and birds of prey (mostly turkey vultures) riding the wind currents over a nearby punchbowl. Overall, the tour within the lighthouse column took about 20-30 minutes, perfect for curious boys with typical attention spans of 7 year olds. We also poked around the museum a bit and the grounds as well. As a bonus, from the cliffs I easily spotted a whale within a few hundred yards of shore!
Admission was a little high for adults ($7.50 per) and a bargain for kids ($1 per). For the two of us, the $8.50 admission was an excellent value. For a larger group with multiple adults, the economics may be less favorable. Their hours aren't entirely predictable. Their website said they close at 3:30, but they were open to 4:30 on a weekday in July.
Overall, the lighthouse was a big hit. My son ranked this as one of his "highlights" of our trip.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.