Get to know the natural wonder that is the Pacific Ocean by visiting the Aquarium of the Pacific. Located near downtown Long Beach, California, this world-class public aquarium has more than 50 exhibits featuring 11,000 animals. Opened in 1998, the aquarium's mission is to create a sense of wonder in people about the Pacific Ocean and its inhabitants. Along with the animal exhibits, the aquarium also offers many educational programs, performing arts shows and cultural festivals. It is the fourth most-attended aquarium in the country!
The aquarium has three main galleries that feature the major regions of the Pacific Ocean: Southern California/Baja, Northern Pacific and Tropical Pacific. Each gallery highlights the diverse marine ecosystems found in each area. It is like entering very different, beautiful worlds each time someone steps into a gallery. A towering three-story high exhibit with colorful fish and undulating kelp or a 211,000-gallon tank with friendly seals and sea lions will enthrall visitors. Meet adorable penguins in the Penguin Habitat or enter the mysterious world of the shark in the Shark Lagoon. In the largest exhibit, the Tropical Pacific Gallery, visitors get the opportunity to see exotic and unusual underwater creatures.
Visitors can stop by the touch pool and gently make some contact with marine life to see what they feel like. There is an aviary where a cup of nectar can be purchased to feed the birds; they may land on a shoulder or arm to get some food. Watch a film on climate change and 4D movies with special lighting in the Ocean Theater. The aquarium also houses an animal care center, which has a state-of-the-art aquatic veterinary hospital. There, visitors can see animals being cared for in the holding tanks.
For a quick break outside, swing by Harbor Terrace, which overlooks Long Beach's Rainbow Harbor and Shoreline Village. Have a meal or snack in the aquarium's dining room to try some sustainable seafood and environmentally conscious dishes. If visitors bring their own food, they are welcome to use the picnic bench area and front lawn. Browse for unique items, from housewares to educational materials, in the aquarium's gift stores.
There is much more to participate in at the Aquarium of the Pacific. There are rotating exhibits, themed events and annual cultural festivals. The aquarium offers special tours and adventures such as harbor boat tours and cruises.
Beyond the exhibits and activities for visitors, the aquarium emphasizes the importance of ongoing conservation of the ocean with its initiatives. It engages in research, breeding of endangered sea animals, beach cleanups and other community events. The aquarium continuously strives to make the public aware that they are the most important part of ocean conservation.
Guests can visit the aquarium by purchasing daily admission tickets or they can choose to become annual members, who receive special benefits and exclusive invitations to aquarium events. Discover what the Aquarium of the Pacific has to offer and learn to appreciate the wondrous Pacific Ocean. Visit www.aquariumofthepacific.org for additional information.