Old Ben, Catalina Island’s Community Pet
A Private Tour of Catalina Means an Introduction to Old Ben
For twenty-two years, Old Ben the sea lion swam ashore Catalina Island and shared his thoughts with the kind citizens of Avalon. Or, he was just begging for handouts. Either way his friendly ways endeared him to the island population between 1898 and 1920 so that when he swam off never to be seen again Stanley Rosin sculpted a cement likeness of the great creature and placed it out on the end of the pier where other sea lions would bark at it. Over time, however, the sculpture became weathered and damaged and so Stanley had a bronze cast made. The new Old Ben now holds court in the center of town. When we have our Los Angeles tour guests over to the Catalina for the day (snorkeling, swimming, ziplining, and hiking are some of the fun activities we enjoy) we always mention Old Ben’s film acting debut in Sea Nymphs (1914). Yes, he really was a famous sea lion.