Cool Off At Long Beach Aquarium Of The Pacific
Despite the name, Long Beach Aquarium is in California, not New York. There are many great aquariums on the East coast, most notably the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey and the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland. But natives of the West Coast don't have to travel across country to enjoy and learn from an aquarium visit. They can go to Long Beach Aquarium Of The Pacific in (surprise) Long Beach, in southern California. You can get to Long Beach easily from Los Angeles.
Pacific Rim Habitat
Long Beach Aquarium spotlights the unique creatures in the Pacific Rim, celebrating California's habitat and wildlife. This is a little different from other aquariums, which feature sea creatures from all around the world. The Southern California/Baja exhibit includes a 211,000 gallon tank for sea lions. Another 142,000 gallon exhibit recreates the Bay of Cortez, and contains fish unique to the area.
Long Beach Aquarium doesn't ignore the Northern Pacific, and devotes great exhibits to highlighting that habitat, as well. Charming sea otters are there to see, as well as 24 other species of marine mammals, 50 species of birds and 450 species of fish. But the king of the Northern Pacific exhibit is their massive Giant Pacific Octopus. Octopi have an unusually penetrating stare and seem to enjoy watching humans as much as humans enjoy watching them.
You don't just go "ooh" and "ah" over one tank after the other at Long Beach Aquarium. They are committed to teaching you about the creatures and the environment they live in and ways you can protect them. You can go through the aquarium by yourself, but you are strongly encouraged to attend little shows and discussions where a trained guide or a passionate aquarium volunteer tells you and your kids all about what you're seeing and how to keep these creatures alive for future generations. There are programs designed for kids and families, schools or birthday parties, or for adults.
When you get home, you can still learn more from Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific's extensive and colorful web site, where daily blogs about the most popular animals, birds and fish are kept. They also contribute to many conservation organizations and even started their own, the Marine Conservation Research Institute, which includes an online library of research articles and reports. There are also links to other groups working to keep the Pacific clean and alive.