Monday, June 7, 2010

Aquarium of the Pacific!

If your kids are anything like mine then I'm sure you hear them say "fishies" all the time. My kids have been begging me to take them to see some real fishies and when my 5yr old son heard that the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach has a Shark Lagoon he just about lost all of his marbles! He loves Sharks! The thought of being able to see one up close and personal was killing him. He couldn't sleep! My 2yr old daughter just wanted to see fishies. She went and pulled out anything Nemo she could find in her room. The car ride out there was filled with questions and anticipation. By the time we got to the Aquarium I thought they were going to throw up! I couldn't stop laughing at them.
The Aquarium of the Pacific has so many wonderful events going on this Summer that every visit to the aquarium will be like the first time. The best part is the extended hours. We were in there for over 2hrs! When we first walked in we couldn't help but feel so tiny compared to the life-size Blue Whale hovering over our heads. My kids were in awe at the sight of such a massive creature. It set the tone for our oceanic adventure ahead!
The aquarium has 3 galleries indoors filled with a variety of fish, sea stars, jellyfish, crabs, shrimp, octopus, turtles, puffers, sea dragons, otters & beautiful coral. The first exhibit that caught our eyes was the 142,000 gallon, 3 story high tank at the end of the Great Hall. Scuba Divers were swimming along side the fish and sharing fun facts with the kids from inside the tank.

My kids were so excited to see Nemo, Dory & Crush in "real" life! My husband and I were amazed to see black clown fish. They were such a rare treat. Then we walked up to a tank filled with some of the most colorful fish I've ever seen. There were bright pink fish that my daughter wanted to take home. Some amazing turquoise fish that my son wanted and a few orange, yellow and purple fish. They were all lovely to watch.
The outdoors exhibits of the aquarium are more hands on. To your left is the Lorikeet Forest which is a 3,200 sq. ft. aviary filled with 5 different sub-species of Lorikeets. You can purchase a cup of nectar that the Lorikeets will feed from as you walk through the forest. Next to the aviary is my son's favorite exhibit...The Shark Lagoon! The 10,000 sq. ft. lagoon allows you to come face to face with Sand Tiger, Sandbar, Nurse, White Tip and other striking sharks. There is great playground where the kids can cool off on the hot Summer Days with giant water squirting squid & a boat the kids can set sail in!
In the shallow pools the kids can experience a real hands on interaction with Bamboo, Zebra & Epaulette sharks.
Outside on the second floor is the 211,000 gallon Seal & Sea Lion habitat and the Ray Touch Pool where the kids can reach in actually touch the stingrays.

The aquarium also had 2 shows to offer, but my kids wore themselves out so we didn't make it to see any. Whales: Voices in the Sea explores the sound-based world of whales. Listen to the sounds of whales and see videos of the whales. Learn about conservation issues and see interviews with scientists. And the Turtle Vision 4D show is an animated adventure about Sammy the Sea Turtle and a look into his life on land and in the sea.
For the Shark enthusiasts the aquarium offers a lecture called Shark Smart: Restoring Order in the Ocean. Gregor Cailliet talks about life histories of the California sharks and rays.

Don't forget to stop by the aquarium's gift shop on your way out! It's filled with a variety of educational & colorful books for the kids to keep the learning going even after you leave. Not to mention tons of stuffed sea animals, toys, shirts and other wonderful souvenirs. There is nothing my kids love more than taking home a constant reminder of a wonderful family day out.

For more information about tickets, memberships, show times, hours & discounts please visit their website at http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a great blog! I've always heard about the Aquarium in Long Beach but never have gotten the chance to go! Your blog is so in-depth...I love it! Great pictures and the shows look AWESOME! I think I'll go this weekend and check it out myself...Maybe we can meet up and then have dinner? Thanks for all the great info!

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