Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific
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November 2nd, 2008 – by: jenn79
My meeting with the non-profit and the venture capital guy kept getting rescheduled from Saturday to Sunday and then back again to Saturday. But it all turned out for the best as it rained for a spell yesterday right after the meeting, thundered even for a few moments, but in typical southern california fashion, Long Beach was GORGEOUS today! Thank goodness since there is quite a bit of this Aquarium that is located outdoors! We pulled into the harbor just before 10am as my mom was dead set against using the subway.
Long Beach Harbor is really beautiful. Lots of activities going on, cruise excursions and of course the ferry that will take you to Catalina. The Aquarium is right on the Harbor next to.. yup! Bubba Gumps! I eyed the place hungrily as we walked into the Aquarium as I hadn't had breakfast yet.
Gosh this place is gorgeous! It's brand new, with obviously extremely well-tended displays full of happy fish and animals. The amazing thing is that a vast majority of the fish and animals here are found in Southern California or at farthest Baja Mexico. I'm always astounded by how gorgeous and lucky we are on the west coast. This place is going to be super hard to leave. Between the gorgeous weather and the abundant ecosystems/wildlife/conservation programs - let's face it - it's ALL HERE.
So besides the beautiful assortment of colorful fish, playful sea otters, and of course sharks - they also provide a lot of touch-tanks. You can reach in and stroke stingrays of all sizes and colors, as well as little sharks, anemones, starfish, sea cucumbers and sea urchins. For even more close-encounters, there are behind-the-scenes tours that we didn't go on that are probably fantastic! Advanced reservations are required for those, though.
One of the many highlights was the tunnel where the sea lions play and seals play. These animals go right up to the concave glass and interact with people, like curious little creatures! Somehow some of the kids figured out that they are attracted to coins (I'm guessing it's the fish-like metal), so many of them were holding them up against the glass and the seals would swim around chasing the shiny objects, often swimming upside down!! All the wonderful energy from the kids really made this place fun and alive =) This is people watching at its finest =)
And one unexpected treat was the lorakeet jungle.
Man this was such a better experience than what I remember! We had just come from the shark petting area so my sleeve was a bit damp.
We left to watch the sea lion show, which is outdoors in the gorgeous weather. It was short but very cute, as sea lions and seals are very good at doing tricks. Don't be fooled though, their ability to do these tricks is often a test of whether or not they're healthy enough to put their weigh on one fin and then the other fin - it's not purely for entertainment's sake! Then went by one of the very deep wall-displays just in time to see the divers answer questions from underwater =) Our last stop was at the sea otter area and it was so cute to see them floating on their backs and eating clams =) It was also very educational, as we learned that sea otters are one of the few animals that don't give a warning before they attack.
A special treat was seeing 2 things I haven't seen before. One was a hatching baby shark that moved around quite a bit because my camera focus beam was bothering it! The other was a seadragon!! These creatures are particularly hard to breed and probably on their way to extinction but this aquarium had 3 of them!! I remember not too long ago there was an article in the news about a baby seadragon being hatched in the Atlanta Aquarium.
Expect lots of cute, little thoughtful items come with this experience. For example, if you pick up a booklet, there are embossing stations scattered throughout the aquarium where you can emboss a certain page of your guide.
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