New LA ferry terminal opens for those heading to Catalina Island

A passenger prepares to board the Catalina Express at its new location.
A passenger prepares to board the Catalina Express at its new location.
Shirley Jahad/KPCC

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A newly refurbished ferry-boat terminal is opening for travelers heading to a favorite weekend getaway.

The expansion of China Shipping at the port pushed the family-owned Catalina Express ferry company to move down a few hundred feet and add new amenities. It had been operating in its old building for more than 30 years.

Kids heading to summer camp, families with children and babies and couples looking forward to a romantic weekend all line up to board the Catalina Express ferry while it sits at berth 95 by the Port of Los Angeles. Sights and sounds of the port dominate the view around the ferry terminal: tall stacks of container cars, towering shipping cranes, huge cargo ships from around the world.

A group of boy scouts with backpacks line up on Thursday to board the next ferry to Santa Catalina Island. Patrick Nguyen and the rest of troop 274 are going camping for the week.

"We're going to Catalina to be in this leadership training, because we are going to move up in the ranks," says Nguyen. "So we are going to learn leadership skills and hopefully have some fun. And I'm about to get my Eagle [badge], so I'm excited for that."

Roxanne Rodriguez is one of the troop moms here to see the scouts off, and she says she likes the new boat terminal.

"It's very useful, easy to get too, easy to go through the ticket line," she say. "The waiting area has lots of space to sit and enjoy the sunshine."

A little area with park benches and freshly-planted flowers sits near a new terminal building with a bistro and bar.

Officials with the ferry company say they take a million passengers to Catalina Island each year.