Updated Friday, Feb. 1, at 12:45 p.m.
Tourists unable to visit a popular beach in Northern California that was taken over by a colony of nursing elephant seals during the government shutdown will be able to get an up-close view of the creatures, officials said Friday.
Point Reyes National Seashore rangers and volunteer docents will lead small groups of visitors starting Saturday to the edge of a parking lot so they can safely see the elephant seals and their newborn pups, said park spokesman John Dell'Osso.
About 60 adult seals that gave birth to 35 pups took over Drakes Beach during the 35-day government shutdown, leading park officials to close access to the beach.
It's likely that recent storms and high tides inundated the animal's normal habitat, and so they sought a wider swath of dry land around the corner, Dell'Osso said.