Visit the Sea Jellies Exhibit and more at The Aquarium of the Pacific

WSM_AOP_spottedJellies

A visit to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is a multi-sensory, educational experience. The aquarium’s mission is to instill a sense of wonder, respect and stewardship for the Pacific Ocean, its inhabitants and ecosystems. There are so many creatures to see, touch, feed, and learn about—in fact, the aquarium is home to more than 11,000 animals in more than 50 exhibits! Located in Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor, it’s the perfect day trip for your family to learn about sea life close to the ocean in a clean, well-maintained, stroller-friendly facility.

Touch the sea jellies

WSM_AOP_JellyTank2

The new sea jellies exhibit is located in various spots throughout the aquarium, some portions only on a rotating basis. The “touch the jellies” section is located near the information area and can be easily overlooked if you’re not careful. The Moon Jelly touch tank is low enough for tiny toddlers to reach in; an expert is on hand to answer any questions and to remind everyone to use a gentle two-finger touch. At times, the line can be long, but it’s worth it!

Feed the lorikeets

WSM_AOP_Lorikeets copy

The Lorikeet Forest is a 3,200-square-foot outdoor aviary containing more than 100 lively, colorful lorikeets. These colorful and friendly birds will drink nectar (for purchase) right out of the cup! Make sure you have your camera ready, because some lorikeets might land on your hand, arm, shoulder or even your head.

See the penguins

WSM_AOP_Penguin

The June Keys Penguin Habitat houses Magellanic Penguins, a species that lives naturally in temperate areas. These playful penguins are fun to watch and can be seen from different exhibit viewpoints, including a popular crawl-in space which gives a great underwater view. There is a section with life-sized models and descriptions of other penguin species, which makes it fun and educational at the same time.

Watch a scuba diver

WSM_AOP_ScubaDiver

The fish and sea creatures are already very cool, but it’s particularly exciting to see the aquarium’s scuba divers in action. Scuba divers are vital to maintaining the Aquarium of the Pacific and can be found in several of the exhibits feeding and interacting with the sea life (and sometimes cleaning things up a bit). Ask a nearby docent for information about where to find a scuba diver!

Attend an event or program

WSM_AOP_BigAquarium

The Aquarium of the Pacific hosts several themed events and educational programs for children and families throughout the year. Highlights include the Aqua Tots Program, trick or treating at the Aquarium, family sleepovers and a variety of day camps! Check their website for upcoming events.

Tips for your visit:

• Arrive early and visit the outdoor exhibits (lorikeets, penguins, sea lions) first. That way, you’ll avoid the crowds.

• The nectar for purchase at the Lorikeet Aviary is tiny and spills easily. Bring two small disposable cups to empty it into to avoid spillage.

• Members can purchase pre-paid parking vouchers in packs of five for 50 percent off the regular price of parking. That can be helpful if you know someone who is a member (or become a member yourself)!

• Learn how to use the settings on your camera (or smartphone) before your visit for optimal low light shots. Most of the exhibits are dark and do not allow flash photography.

• Visit on a weekday and purchase your ticket in advance, online to avoid waiting in long lines (for both the entrance and exhibits).

• The large aquarium in the lobby is magnificent—perfect for those Instagram shots.

Website and more information

Check the website for hours, pricing, and more: http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/


 

I wrote this after my visit to The Aquarium of the Pacific in September 2015. It was also published on Mommy Nearest.

Thank you to the Metz family for the tickets to the aquarium!