Aquarium of the Pacific

    The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is a great place for a family outing. The facility is open 9 AM to 6 PM every day of the year (except Christmas) and a relatively short drive for most South Bay residents. In addition to the 100+ exhibits, there are special programs and events year-round for both adults and kids. General admission is $34.95 for adults, $24.95 for kids 3-11, and $31.95 for seniors, with options to bundle admission with nearby attractions like the Queen Mary, Battleship Iowa, and whale watching cruises. There are also special extended hours at a discount ($19.95 for 5 PM admission to 9 PM closing) for many summer Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

    TIP: School field trips leave the aquarium by 2 PM. If you want a less-crowded experience, consider coming later in the day.

    The mainstay of the aquarium is its collection of spectacular exhibits. Each tank focuses on a different ocean ecosystem or species and gives the audience an inside peek into the life of sea creatures. The fish tanks are brimming with life of every size, shape, and color.

    Some creatures need their own tanks but the aquarium gives them their own spotlight to shine.

    The curious seals and sea lions love to put on a show and even play with visitors. The light from a cellphone attracted these two to the glass where they swam in loops and blew bubbles for the crowd.

    The outdoor penguin habitat and the puffin exhibit let you meet these unique birds up close and personal.

    The Aquarium has educational programs and day camps, giving kids special access to the animals and marine biologists. It also hosts scientific lectures perfect for older students and adults. The staff and resources of the aquarium contribute to conservation and research projects, so it is a great place to get involved if one is looking to nurture a child’s interest in scientific careers or to contribute to the preservation of our oceans.

    Check out the Aquarium’s site for a complete list of activities and opportunities.

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