Aquarium of the Pacific
Built on the land reclaimed from the sea and opened to the public in 1998, the Aquarium of the Pacific has 1.5 million annual visitors. With around 500 species of 11,000 animals covering most types of aquatic habitats have amphibians, birds, fish, invertebrates, mammals, penguins, reptiles, sharks, and turtles. The aquarium is open to the public throughout the year except for Christmas day and the weekend of the Grand Prix of Long Beach.
What to see:
The three main galleries Southern California and Baja, Northern Pacific, and Tropical pacific exhibiting habitats of the marine environment of California, the Bering Sea and Palau, the western extreme of Micronesian islands.
Southern California and Baja gallery cover up to 800 miles from Oregon to Mexico have the 142,000 gallons, three-story Honda Blue Cavern exhibiting the ocean inhabitants, Amber forest featuring garibaldi, California Scorpionfish, giant spine sea stars. The 211,000 gallon Seal and Sealion habitat, the Gulf of California exhibit, Shorebird Sanctuary, Ray touch pool, Wetlands exhibits, and much more are there.
The Northern Pacific gallery of the Aquarium extends over 800,000 square miles with 50 bird species, 450 species of fish and invertebrates, 25 marine mammal species. It has the Otter and giant Pacific Octopus to see. The 16 unique, fantastic exhibits have Surge channel, Pacific preview, Sea jellies, Otter exhibits, Diving birds’ exhibits.
The Tropical Pacific gallery extends over 125 miles exhibits colorful coral, a diverse variety of fish, and other marine habitats like sea turtles, zebra, blacktip reef sharks, blue Napoleon, porcupine puffers in the 350,000 gallons of water. It also contains groupers, venomous creatures, clownfish, the live coral exhibit, and many more.
Beyond these galleries, The Aquarium’s outdoor exhibits contain Lorikeet forest aviary, Shark Lagoon, and watersheds: pathway to the pacific, Molina animal care center, ocean science center, June Keyes penguin habitat. There are live webcams to watch the animals and 4D show of turtles as Turtle vision 4D, videos on the whales to discover the sounds of a wide range of whales in the Aquarium.
Tours and Special Events:
Apart from 19 major habitats and 32 focus habitats, there is also Behind the Scenes tour where you can feed the fish yourself in the Tropical Reef, the largest exhibit. A fully ADA accessible tour is admissible only for children 7 and above, children under 16 should be accompanied by an adult. The tour costs $39.95 for adults, $36.95 for seniors, and $28.9f for child per package with aquarium admission. For tours without aquarium admission costs will be $19 for adults, seniors, and children. For members, it is about $15.
Aquarium also arranges special events like Junior Biologist day camp, introduction to scientific diving, sea squirt camp, fish fry camp, and ocean adventures camp on different rates. Please contact the Aquarium or visit their website for more details.
There are also boat programs, sleepovers, special birthday parties with ingredients supplied by the Aquarium on all days. The birthday party ingredients can contain the selected theme from marine mammals, sharks,s or turtles. Invite your friends and add more fun to the event. The party also has a classroom session of about 1 hour about animal touch, crafting your own take-home souvenir project, biofact discovery, and a final session of half an hour birthday celebration in the classroom. Optionally you can bring cakes, ice cream, and juices with just $5 additional cost per person. You need to reserve for the party two weeks prior to the date.
The watershed exhibits will be between 1.00 PM – 6.00 PM on weekdays and 9.00 AM – 6.00 PM on weekends. The watershed exhibit completely covered with native plants, a living roof with coastal grasses and shrubs. The whole building is an example of energy and water conservation and reuse. The watersheds: Pathway to the Pacific explains environmental changes and the relationships between the people of San Pedro bay drainage basin and the environment. The exhibit shows and makes the guests create artificial rain and what happens to it then after flowing through the mountains, streets. And it also features photos and information about how to conserve water and the options to sustain the water availability of Southern California. It is one of the exhibits in the galleries and it can be visited with general admission tickets.
Café Scuba good for seafood offers a variety of foods including burgers, soups, sandwiches is within the Aquarium. The aquarium doesn’t allow outside food. But you can still use the parks and lawns outside the aquarium to have the outside food. If you don’t want to eat seafood or you feel it is a little costlier, it is better to bring food from home and have it on the outside lawn. But you cannot take it inside the aquarium.
Tickets and Parking:
There is special combo for General admission + battle IOWA for $33 for adult/senior/youth 12+, $21 for child 6-11, $13 for toddler 3-5. The best combo will be General admission + Behind the scenes tour + AD film at $40.95 for adult, $32.95 for a child, $38.95 for senior.
For a group of ten or more, they can enjoy the general admission trip with more discounted rates at $19.95 for adults, $17.95, and $11.95 for children. If your visit is after 3 PM, the rates will be much lower as $14.00 for adults and $7.00 for children. But don’t forget to mention the code G-3PM at the counter.
For corporates and credit unions’ employees and members, discounted coupons and tickets are available through human resource departments or local unions respectively. They can also avail eTickets from the human resources, local unions, or fundraising offices.
Local public schools can apply for free student admission coupons for PTA memberships. The admission coupons are available in spring 2013. There are also many membership types like purchasing a family or grandparents’ memberships will get 2 free guest tickets all over the year.
The parking cost is $8. It will be operated 9.00 AM – 3.00 AM on all 7 days a week. If the Aquarium parking is completed with parking, all the incoming vehicles will be redirected to Pike parking. Please show the aquarium tickets to get the $8 flat rate. Otherwise, it will vary for the time you are parking. Keep your tickets safely.