The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA
I have lived in or near Long Beach, CA for almost my entire life. The Long Beach area is a part of the Greater Los Angeles Area, and as such, there is a WHOLE lot of things to do. My family loves spend our weekends going out into this great metropolis and experiencing all of the wonderful things the city has to offer. We especially love going to museums and other educational places. We have found that learning and fun really can go together.
One of our favorite places to go is right in our back yard. A mere five miles down the freeway from our home is the beautiful (and educational) Aquarium of the Pacific. It seems like every time we go back to the aquarium, my kids discover something new and revisit their favorite displays as well. My family loves the Aquarium of the Pacific so much, in fact, that we are now the proud owners of an aquarium membership, which allows us to visit the aquarium as much as we want for a whole year.
So now I am sharing this gem of an attraction with you. I hope you enjoy your virtual tour as much as we love going there in real life. And just maybe, I'll inspire someone to go check the place out for themselves. It really is a great place to go.
Photo by brendan-c
Aquarium of the Pacific Stats
The Aquarium of the Pacific is located in beautiful Long Beach, CA. Long Beach is located 20 miles south of Downtown Los Angeles. The city of Long Beach is bordered on the south by the Pacific Ocean.
The Aquarium is located next to the ocean at Rainbow Harbor, near the end of the Long Beach 710 Freeway. It is next to the historic Pike district and Shoreline Village, just south of Downtown Long Beach. Just across the harbor from the aquarium is the Queen Mary.
There is a lot to do in the area where the Aquarium of the Pacific is located. There are restaurants, shopping, harbor cruises, whale watching tours, night clubs and even a ferris wheel. You will definitely not be bored if you visit this part of Long Beach!
How to Get to the Aquarium of the Pacific
If you're looking for fish, The Aquarium of the Pacific is the place to go. They have fish from all parts of the Pacific Ocean. Here are some of the exhibits at the aquarium and what kinds of fish you'll find there.
Southern California/Baja Gallery This exhibit features sea life found off the coast of Southern California and Baja California. Here you will find kelp, giribaldi (California's state fish), sea stars, scorpionfish, and butterfly fish. This exhibit also features the Ray Touchtank. Yes, you can actually touch real stingrays. Of course it's perfectly safe since their stingers have been trimmed.
Northern Pacific Gallery This exhibit features marine animals that live up near the Bearing Sea. These tanks hold such creatures as jellyfish, octopus, puffins and lots of different cold water fish species.
Tropical Pacific Gallery This exhibit features fish from the warmest parts of the Pacific Ocean. It includes porcuipine puffers, sea horses and sea dragons, groupers, clownfish and sea turtles. This exhibit is also home to zebra and blacktip reef sharks. It is definitely the most colorful section of the aquarium.
The Gulf of California This is the area between Baja California and Mainland Mexico. In this exhibit you will find angelfish, surgeonfish, eels, Mexican lookdowns and balloonfish.
Photo by Kris10P
The Aquarium of the Pacific has a great sea otter habitat. It is located at the back of the Northern Pacific Gallery. This exhibit is home to several southern sea otters, which live off the California coast. Betty is the newest and youngest otter in the habitat. She was named after Betty White, who is a supporter of the aquarium. Betty the sea otter was rescued in Northern California after being separated from her mother as a pup. Since she hadn't learned survival skills and couldn't fend for herself, she was sent to the Aquarium of the Pacific and went on display there in October 2012.
The Sea Otter Habitat area also features interactive exhibits to help aquarium visitors learn more about these amazing creatures. And of course, there is a good sized viewing section in front of the habitat. This means that visitors can linger in front of the tank and watch the sea otters play, eat and groom themselves. They really are fun to watch.
Photo by Mike Baird
Touch tanks can be a great way to experience sea animals first hand. When people are allowed to touch an animal, they tend to become more curious about it and learn more than if they were only allowed to look at the animal. There is something to be said for feeling the sliminess of a sea cucumber and the roughness of a sea star.
The Aquarium of the Pacific has six touch tanks located in various exhibits throughout the aquarium. They are located in the Northern Pacific Gallery, the Ocean Science Center, the Southern California/Baja Gallery, and Shark Lagoon. In these tanks you can touch creatures such as sea stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, sharks and sting rays (Don't worry, their stingers have been trimmed off). This is one of my kids' favorite parts of the aquarium. They had great fun the day they got to help feed the sting rays.
Photo by A Child's Place
The Aquarium of the Pacific is home to several species of sharks. In the Tropical Pacific Gallery they have black tip reef sharks and zebra sharks on display. However, the best place to see sharks is outside at Shark Lagoon.
Shark Lagoon has a big tank with whitetip, nurse, sand tiger and sandbar sharks. Several times a day, aquarium staff feed the sharks while teaching guests about the sharks and answering questions.
Shark Lagoon also features two touch tanks. These tanks feature smaller, more gentle sharks. The shallow water allows visitors to reach in and pet the sharks while learning about these magnificent creatures from aquarium staff. Staff members are always available to share shark facts and answer questions.
Photo by Parker Michael Knight
You can find birds all over the Aquarium of the Pacific. In the Northern Pacific Gallery you'll find puffins and auklets floating and swimming in the water.
The aquarium has also set up the Shorebird Sanctuary. This is an area made to simulate the native wetland areas that have been disappearing as civilization encroaches. They are hoping to attract native shorebirds so they have a safe place to stay or live.
And, of coure, there are sea gulls EVERYWHERE!
The best bird exhibit at the Aquarium of the Pacific is the Lorikeet Forest.
Photo by Kris10P My son Zack feeding the lorikeets in May 2008.
Want to Build Your Own Aquarium? Read this book!
This book gives the reader a clear picture of what is necessary to create and build a salt water reef aquarium. The author tells his reader exactly what works and what doesn't so that they can make informed decisions on setting up their own aquarium. The author also helps the reader understand exactly what is involved in the upkeep of a salt water tank. He makes sure the readers know exactly what is needed to keep their aquariums and fish as healthy as possible.